I smiled at that, and when the customer in front of me left, she continued, "that's why I never use the ATM. They're just trying to do whatever they can to replace workers everywhere."
I didn't have anything nice to say to that, so I just attempted another smile, finished what I had come to do, and left. If I had chosen to speak, it would probably have been something like "I really hate going to the teller at a bank. If it wasn't for ATMs, I'd never have any access to my money!"
I've never made a secret of being an introvert. I've never really seen anything wrong (much less sinful) with being an introvert. It simply means that I enjoy doing things on my own, and have to work a bit at doing things that involve other people. It's not that I don't enjoy doing things with other people, but more that, when I do so, I then need to go off to be by myself for a while to "recharge," as often as not. But I've had a couple of incidents over the past month or so where someone has said something that made me think that they thought that introverts were somehow defective. One of them, ironically, involved a person who himself is an introvert, but who talked about ways in which he "overcame" his introversion to do some important things.
On one hand, I want to grant that the service worker and the person who "overcame" his introversion have an important point to make. The service worker is right to decry the loss of jobs for the sake of a quick buck, while the "overcomer" has done some wonderful work on behalf of the urban poor, which likely would not have been accomplished if he had just stayed at home. I agree with both of these people to the extent that the world needs people who look out for the well-being of other people. I just disagree with some of the particulars. I don't see refusing to use ATMs as particularly helpful, and think that there is a sense in which we need to use technology to make things easier to do. If jobs are lost as a result of technology (as they often are), that just means we need to work toward creating new jobs that take advantage of technological advances, rather than fighting against them. To do otherwise makes Luddites, in my opinion. I certainly disagree with the assertion that being introverted is something that must be "overcome." It is who I am. A core part of my personality.
I'm reminded about an article I read a few years ago called "Caring for Your Introvert" that talked about how introverts are often misunderstood:
"It is very difficult for an extrovert to understand an introvert," write the education experts Jill D. Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig.... Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping.That piece apparently got quite a large response when it was first published, and it's easy for me to see why. My experiences aren't especially unusual. We often feel that the rest of the world is not only geared more for extroverts, but is actively hostile to introverts. If it's not fair or just to eliminate jobs just so one can go to an ATM, how much more unfair is it that people should treat introversion as some malady that needs curing?