Friday, January 9, 2015

Type B for Bailey

While spending time with my brother and his wife during this Christmas holiday, we were having a wonderful time until my brother just had to go and say something that ruined everything.

And the worst part is, he said it all casual, just glossed over it as if he was commenting that we should eat Christmas cookies.

But I could not let it slide, and when he said what he said I had to stand up in protest.

In theory. We were in a hot tub at the hotel where we were staying. I enjoyed the hot bubbly goodness around me from a seated position, but protested vocally.

Here’s what he said:

“And I mean, our whole family is Type A…”


I could not stand for this.

So I remained sitting. In the hot bubbly goodness of the hot tub.

My name is Bailey.

B for Bailey.

B for Type B personality.






He wanted to continue with what he was saying, but I challenged him instantly, asking him to explain himself, never accepting his answer until it would include a statement admitting that I was in no way whatsoever Type A. Admitting that his first set of words was not meant to include me, that when he said the whole family, he really meant all but me.

(You’re probably thinking I hate the Type A’s in the world, given my abhorrent response to his comment. I’m actually mostly jealous of you, but I’ll expand on this further down).

We eventually relocated to the hotel bar (small town Wisconsin, bar inside the hotel, total cost of a Blue Moon, rum and Coke, and a Coke -- $6.25. This caused me to shout, “I love Wisconsin!”), where I continued to bring up the topic.

Type B for Bailey, why was no one getting the obviousness of this???

We shot pool.

They said, “You have certain type A qualities…”

As if this was to make me feel better.

As if only having type A qualities was better than being a full blown Type A personality.

Qualities. Pssh.

Like WHAT.

The next day Caitlin (my sis-in-law) whipped out her phone and began rattling off Type A qualities.

When she said, “impatient,” I yelled:


Without intended irony or an attempt to work the crowd.

The whole room laughed.

I don’t understand why. I was merely explaining to her that she was wrong if she thought I am in any way impatient in life, ever.

I mean, impatient with what? Finding a mate? Traffic? Waiting for lunchtime? I never ache for these things to hurry the you-know-what up already.

During this same obsessive period of vacation, I would be on the phone with someone, suddenly rattling off the differences of phenylephrine versus pseudoephedrine and why you get ID’d at the store for such medications. Person on phone stopped me to mention how type A my prattling was. Um, more like attention to detail and 25+ years of allergy suffering showing its way to the surface. This has nothing to do with a personality type.

And now I will pause and tell you why I don’t want to be considered type A.

First, as we have already established, my name starts with B. In fact, both of my names start with B. And no, the middle initial is not A, though that would make my initials, almost, spell “BABE.”

Which would be cool.

Next – and here I’m going to bring the discussion down a notch, to a sort of sad place – I’ve been hurt by type A people. Directly and indirectly, but mostly indirectly, and mostly through my own self-criticism and comparison to type A people.

For those who don’t know, the generic descriptions of type A and B personalities, as I interpret them, tend to look like as follows:

Type A: viewed as impatient, short fuse, literally according to some research more likely to suffer from poor heart health, need to get what they want when they want it every time they want it. Organized, reliable in accomplishing tasks expected of them when they are expected, perhaps ahead of time and with great flair, most likely to take charge in a situation (such as care of an elderly parent) when others are not stepping forward.

Type B: viewed as go with the flow, loosey goosey, artistic, maybe irresponsible, calm and cool. Able to keep a cool head, but maybe not the most reliable. In a word, can keep those around them calm and in a good mood, but may very likely drive their type A siblings, coworkers, and friends in life crazy.

The above descriptions are my interpretations.

So, you see, both types have good and bad.

So let’s start with my jealousy. This would be the indirect way I’ve been hurt by type A people. I am jealous of y’all. I feel like once upon a time I was more like you all. My life in middle school, for example, was organized. My room was a mess – it always has been – but I never missed an assignment in school, my folders for each class were kept intact, I actually wrote things on the lines of my planner.

As I got to college, the folder system started to have a lot of backlogging (I would spend good portions of my “study” time in the library pulling scraps of paper out of my backpack and placing them in the appropriately labeled folders, then finally get down to reading the textbook). At some indiscernible time, I started to write diagonally in my planner, not adhering to the nicely printed lines.

I have a planner, currently, in which every 15 minutes is broken down. But when I know I have something scheduled for 11:30 a.m., I don’t write it on the 11:30 line. I write it wherever the heck I want.

I write “Friday!” in bubble letters, diagonally, with “Yeeeeehaw!” underneath.

I doodle. There is already a party hat drawn in the day slot of my upcoming 30th birthday.

So all that to say that when I see an impeccable day planner, good handwriting, an organized (and fashionable to boot) administrative assistant character in a romantic comedy, I get a pang of both jealousy and sweet, sweet admiration.

It tears me up inside, every time.

Rory Gilmore with all her reading, her darling dresses, her extracurriculars. How does she do it?????

She doesn’t do it. She’s fictional. That’s how she can “accomplish” so much. That’s why endless coffee actually makes her cuter and doesn’t eventually make her stomach churn and make her break down in tears (except in that episode when she cries to Dean).

And directly, I’ve been hurt by type A people. As a helplessly type B person (according to my own diagnosis AND actual tests I’ve taken), I realize that I am not always the most responsible. While one moment people love my lightheartedness, my jovial quips, my creative writing, in other moments they wonder why I am late, and why I don’t volunteer for more leadership positions, which would, oftentimes, take a load off their type A busy-busy-busy lives and help them breathe easier.

I won’t post specific examples here, but there have been times in my life when people I know who take on more than their fair share want some help and get exasperated when I don’t come to their aid. Sometimes I don’t help because I’m lazy, sometimes I don’t have interest, and in time, I’ve developed more self-awareness and learned to both focus on projects that are more in tune with my gifts and to know my shortcomings that I may not be the most responsible person to be on a project that someone is asking me to be on.

And I will say that where my attention is deficited, I have probably hurt some type A people in the world. In fact I know I have.

So I guess I don’t want to be associated with people who have hurt me. I would rather own my own issues – my occasional flightiness, my unwillingness to commit, my fear of big time responsibility – and creatively flaunt it around in my self-deprecating writing.

But I don’t want to be told by someone else (type A or otherwise) that I am doing something wrong. I must beat them to that punch. Which is both unhealthy and sad, and maybe what most of us do most of the time.


All this to say that I don’t think I am type A, and that I have only very few, if any, type A qualities.

But feel free to argue me. And I will shoot you down. In a totally nonchalant, type B manner.

Unless you say I am impatient, in which case I will yell at you that you are wrong.

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