The Introvert and the Most Hated Man in America

It happened again this past weekend. My wonderful wife informed me that yet another person thinks I am a horrible a-hole. That brings the number up to 42 (btw one of my favorite numbers and you nerds know why). That’s right I’m currently hated by 42 people and it has nothing to do with politics. That number is much higher.

I used to care a lot that people didn’t like me. That ended after countless numbers of private meetings by well intentioned third parties. As the middle child, I was the reconciler and the mediator. Now I’m just the tired.

In the grand scheme, 42 is a pretty low number. It’s less than .05% of people I know. Most people who know me will tell you that I’m usually a nice person or that I’m a very quiet person. Which brings me to the subject of being an introvert.

As an intorvert, I have a incredibly small number of close friends…my wife being the closest. It’s a challenge for introverts to make friends and worse, nurture close friendships. That’s me in a nutshell. I was recently at a party with our local improv community. To me, being at that party was a huge victory, because I never go to parties and when I do I rarely talk to people. I was at the party for about 90 minutes (personal record) and talked to 5 people–two of whom I barely knew. 

What was a huge victory for me, can also come across as a huge failure. Why? I was there only 90 minutes and only talked to 5 people. Again, after 5 hours of poundering what should have been a personal victory, I stopped caring and claimed my victory.

So, why do 42 people hate me? Believe it or not, they all have a lot of things in common.

People Who Hate Me Have Something to Prove

I have a neighbor who believes she is the moral authority of the neighborhood. Word got out that I used to be a pastor and things turned ugly when I wouldn’t go along with her abrasive-style of legalism. Every so often one of my neighbors will tell me what this person is saying about me. As an introvert, I’ll just sit there and take it.

I’ve worked for two managers in a Christian workplace, who hated me with a passion. For one manager I began to impress on of our Executive Vice Presidents and this become a point of jealousy. The other hated me because during planning meetings, I would express my opinions which often did not fall in line with hers. I may sound a little petty at this point, but there was a day with the first manager came to me after 8 years and made amends with me. A lot of truth and crying came out of that encounter.

Both managers felt that I was given responsibilities that I did not deserve and let it be known to everyone in the office. As the introvert, I just sat there and took it.

People Who Hate Me Are Disappointed When I’m Not There For Them

I’m a very empathetic person. If you talked to me, I’ll listen to your story and I’ll feel the emotions that you’re feeling. Empathy. The problem is I’m not a trained therapist or licensed counselor. On top of that, I have my own sh!t to deal with.

I’ve had a few roomates in my life that were going through a lot of personal stuff. As a good roommate, I would listen and listen and listen. For those of you who are empathic people, you know where this is going. When a depressed person talks to you, you become depressed. It takes a while to snap out of it. There’s also this overwhelming sense of hopelessness, because you have no idea how to cure a chronically depressed person. And nice I live with this person, I felt like their 24/7 counselor. Emotionally, I’m drained. As an introvert, my only course of action is avoidance, which leads to perceived betrayal, which then leads to suffering (nerds, you like that?).

Let’s go back to my neighbor. I move in with my beautiful wife and my new infant daughter. Happy and ready to start a family. After about six months, word gets to me that my neighbor hates me because I won’t mentor her two teenage sons. Selfishly, I chose to devote my time and energy on raising my wonderful daughter–the joy of my life.

On Being Passive Agressive

If I was ever to be accused of fanning the flames of those who hate me, that would be my Passive-Agressive tendancies. Yes. Guilty. I’m passive agressive because I avoid conflict like the plague. It’s the only fun I have and the only way I can get back at people. Yes, I’m a bad person.

One day at work, I just about had it with this particular manager. I asked for and was granted an emergency vacation and I took my wife and dog to Lake Tahoe to compete in the World Series of Poker. When I got back, I found out that said manager was on administrative leave and about to be fired. That was one was of the happiest days of my life. Not only was a lot of stress and unnecessary fighting behind me but I found out I wasn’t the only person being tortured.

Yes, I’m a bad person. Soon after this manager’s departutre, I realized my experience with these two managers had taken its toll on me personally. My spirit was broken and my desire to give 100% to a job I loved was gone. 

Years later, I was finally put out of my misery when the company had to layoff staff and I was let go “without cake.” As an intorvert, I wish I had stood up for myself more.

Coming to Grips that I’m Not Mr. Popular

As an introvert, new peope I meet often have one of two reactions to me:

“I’m a really nice person.” When we meet, I’m cordial. We have a little small talk. We have something in common and we friend each other on Facebook.

“I’m not a really nice person.” When we meet, I’m cold. We don’t say much. They block me on Facebook.

Under what circumstances will you meet “nice Alan” versus “not nice Alan”? I wish I could tell you answer. I want to believe it’s the position of the moon. Shoot, I want blame it on you. I’m an introvert and that’s my reality.

My Interview with David Arquette

Posh Beverly Hills EstateI’m getting a little bit better at the interviewing celebrities thing. Here’s the way I would like to spin the experience:

I’m at a posh Beverly Hills home waiting to interview David Arquette in the estate’s pool house. He walks into the room, I introduce myself and he says, “Hi, I’m David.” I sat at a table directly across from David Arquette. I ask a question about his the film, “The Key” and he answers it in a thoughtful and beautiful manner.

I like this story, but I also need to be accountable to the truth:

I’m at a posh Beverly Hills home waiting to interview actor David Arquette and director Jefery Levy about Jefery’s passion project, The Real Experimental Film Festival. The interview comes in the form of a roundtable with 5 other reporters, including myself. I got about two questions in and my first question was the first question Mr. Arquette answered.

I’ll have my full report of the afternoon ready this Sunday for the Secret City Geek Lab show on KTSTfmAnaheim.com.

The Introvert and the Funeral

Today, we buried my aunt. She passed away a week ago after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I have nothing but good things to say about my aunt. My mom is significantly older that her brothers and sisters. I entered my teen years when she met and married my uncle-in-law. As soon as they were married, they moved across the country when my uncle entered the dental program with the U.S. Military.

I was in high school when they had their first of two daughters. They moved back to the West Coast and took residence in Barstow, CA. Needless to say, I would only connect with my aunt at family events and holidays. As the introvert would say, we had a casual respectful relationship.

The clock counts down on my life, revealing the names and images of the people in my life, I should know better. The nagging guilt that you missed out on knowing a wonderful person and explicit guilt that I could have taken the initiative. Thanks universe.

The sphere of those who pass is growing closer and closer to me. My aunt is the first person to pass that I had known, spoken, shared life stories and knew would be around at the next family function. I always thought, I’d see her at the next holiday, which would have been Christmas. My family is supposed to live forever. My grandparents (on my mother’s side) both lived into their 90’s. We are work horses. As I approach my 50’s, I know I need to take better care of myself.

As I sit here at Forest Lawn, I think about my aunt. I also think about my family. At this very moment in time, I’ve given into my introverted tendencies. I talk very little to anyone. Be available and show no affection to anyone. I’m a ghost that everyone sees. My invisibility powers aren’t working right now. Now my apprehension levels rise and self-consciousness kicks into overdrive. I don’t want to be here, but at the same time, I want to be here for my aunt.

Next week is the memorial at my old church. My aunt will be rightfully honored. For me, I will have to manage the guilt, I feel learning about the aunt I wish I knew better.

‘Flirting in Cars’ or ‘Stoking the Ego a Little’

I may have mentioned it before but I currently work for various ride-sharing companies to make money, while this writing thing takes hold. I like driving and meeting new people and it’s helping me with introvertiness.

Never in my life have I ever had women flirting with me. I’m the one that always has to initiate encounters with women, usually to disastrous results. Now that I have a wife and kid, I no longer need to be involved in these mating games.

Never in my life? Twice this week, I’m having a really good conversation with very attractive women and things get pretty flirty…on her end. I’m very loyal to my wife, kid and marriage, so my first instinct is not to go down this road. I’ve got to stop the flirtation.

So let’s get into this. Instinctually, I casually drop the fact that I’m married and have an amazing 7-year-old kid. You would think this is enough. No, I guess things are so desperate in society that the fact of married-with-kids is not a deterrent.

What worked? “I’m going to turn 50 in a few years.” I now have to the air conditioner off, because it got really cold fast. What was that? I just heard a pin drop. I think I just killed my 5-star rating for this ride. “Ah yeah…my grampa’s 50…”

It’s hard for me to accept that at the age of 50, I’m the coolest I’ve ever been. Thank God I’m married. I just can’t see myself taking Lyfts and Ubers to bars every weekend or even attempting to hit on girls once again. Enough with the ego stroking. It’s time to go back to fat, old me.

GameStop Expo 2014: Meeting Seth Rollins

I’ve already established that I’m an severe introvert. It makes doing press stuff a little difficult. When it comes to meeting celebrities, I’m not the type to go up and introduce myself. So I went the safe route and just got in line to meet WWE’s Seth Rollins. Yes, Mr. Money-In-the-Bank himself. It was easy. Stand in line. Ask for photo and take autograph. He was there to promote WWE 2K15. 

My First Red Carpet – Part 2

Hope you had a chance to read the first part of my first red carpet experience. As an introvert, I found that this was a great stride forward for me personally and professionally.

Now we’re at the point of the night, where the stars of the movie, Obvious Child, began to arrive. I actually prepared questions all day for Jake Lacy, Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate. Also arriving was Gaby Hoffman, who was not scheduled to be there that night. Needless to say, I didn’t have anything for her.

Step 1 – Confidence (or at least pretending to have confidence)

Yes, smile. Shake hands. Be prepared. They are people just like you and they want you to promote their movie. Yes, I’m from a small radio station in Anaheim, but I’m ready to hold my own with these other video programs that I’ve never heard of.

Step 2 – Go over questions and remember backup questions.

This is a step that I didn’t prepare well for. You’ve got to anticipate various ways that they may answer the question and then have a question for that.

Now the moment of truth.

First to approach was Jake Lacy (The Office), who plays understanding boyfriend Max. Jake was the best way to start. He was incredibly friendly to me and gave great answers. Just as our interview was about to start, he was immediately pulled away to take a cast photo on the red carpet. He immediately came back, apologized and the interview began.

It was such a great interview, I hated to cut up this response to the question, “You play a nice guy in the movie, was that a difficult acting challenge.” Although the censored version made air, I included the bad words in the video.

Up next is Jenny Slate. Jenny was a tough interview. She appears to be a great person to know, just hard to interview. I felt like she was nervous to be there and a little out of her comfort zone. My worst question was if she did stand-up. She said yes, and I had no backup question. I cringe every time I hear it. It was all bad and I take responsibility for that.

Finally, interviewed Gillian Robespierre, the writer/director of Obvious Child. This turned out better. “Great way to pick it up, Alan.” “Thanks,” I replied wondering who was talking to me. I like to talk to the actual filmmakers more than the cast. They are the ones who put in all the hard work from writing and refining the script and finding producers to make the dream a reality. Then there’s trying to translate the vision in your head to the final product on screen.

As much as I might have mixed feeling about the interview that day, I’m proud of the outcome…Mostly (that’s the introvert talking).

Here’s the final product. Please comment and be gentle.

My First Press Line

I consider these moments as growing moments. There’s a time when I have to rise above my shyness, interact with people and muster up some confidence.

As a pop culture reporter at KTST 89.5 fm, I covered the Newport Beach Film Festival. I learned to write reviews, correspond with filmmakers and get my writing out in front of the public.

Last Thursday, I got to attend my first real press line on behalf of the radio station. While it didn’t go perfect, I was able to get the job done. Good going, me.

The press line was for the Los Angeles premiere of the Obvious Child, written/directed by Gillian Robespierre and stars Jenny Slate (SNL) and Jake Lacy (The Office). When I was confirmed to be a part of the press line, I went over the list of people who would be attending the screening and started writing questions.

On the way to the event, I slowly started to psych myself out.

When I arrived, I got worried as I approved a packed press line and I didn’t want to be rude and squeeze in someplace. I’ll admit I started to panic. I hung back with the photographers. I was about to give up on getting any interviews, which would have been the worst result.

We waited about 30 minutes before anyone came, so I say outside the circle of photographer and heard them talking about Obamacare. I started to simmer at little, but one photography was kind enough to get me into the discussion. Then I was able to talk a little about the tough life of a photographer. “Hey, I’m one of the guys.”

Not knowing where to go, the photographers soon realized I only had an iPad for pictures. They did not take kindly to this, but I quickly explained that I was with “radio.” They immediately turned nice and told me where to go. Thank God for the kindness of strangers.

I was quickly directed to my spot on the red carpet…reserved for me, and away we go.  The publicist placed me between two television reporters.

My first interview opportunity was Nick Kroll. I did not know he was going to be there, and I had nothing prepared for him. Apparently, he was only talking to the high profile press, so bullet dodged.

Next up was Brett Gellman, another person I don’t know. I thought to myself, “This is my chance and if I’m going any interviews at all, do it now. Seize the moment, dammit!” I decided just to make it a quick one. I’ll post the interview soon.

So I got the interview and now I need to decompress. By decompress, I mean letting the next celebrity go by, which was Anna Camp from Pitch Perfect. Still, no idea who she was and immediately felt back, I let another opportunity slip away.

I think I was afraid of asking a really stupid question and embarrassing myself.

To be continued.

Panic At The Gala – Newport Beach Film Festival

As an introvert, I do not do parties well. Last month, I got to report at the Newport Beach Film Festival for KTST fm 89.5 in Anaheim. Part of the fun included the galas. I went for the entertainment and the food, but I have no idea how to start up a conversation with total strangers. As a result, I walk around the room not making eye contact with anyone.