"So, do you always have your branch meetings outside of the branch?"
Our mouths were all full of the homemade cookies he'd offered when he asked, so the only responses he received were muffled giggles. The branch manager, sitting to my right, put the back of her hand up to her lips to avoid spitting out her crumbs when she laughed.
Actually, we had never ventured out of the stuffy conference room of our branch for our monthly meetings. But this month, a member of our bank's Board of Directors had invited us to tour his farm and to hold our meeting in his home. Dying to get a look at the wealthy man's digs, we eagerly accepted.
We had finally come in from a long and humid tour of the property. We spent much of the time swatting away the flies that lingered around the animals he kept, and trying to avoid getting our heels stuck in the muddy grass. But his land was beautiful, blocked off from civilization by a thick white gate and what seemed like miles of wooden fencing. Hundreds of acres of well-manicured grass rolled away from his large alabaster house, leading to dense trees surrounding small ponds. Standing on his front porch, you could see all of Milford, the houses and business reduced to small rectangles of color. It was truly breathtaking.
When we took our seats in his antique farm house's living room, his assistant offered us tea. We balanced saucers on our knees and practically held our breath to avoid spilling our drinks on what was surely a hundred-year-old rug.
I swallowed my cookie and said, "No, this is our first field trip," to respond to his question. But it seemed that no body heard me.
But, apparently somebody had. The manager had obviously finished chewing her cookie, too. "No, this is our first field trip," she said to him, loud and proud.
He laughed, and she laughed, they all laughed.
Except for me.
She stole my line. And she took credit for it when it got a chuckle.
Satisfied with "her" comment, and the thunder she effectively stole from me, she took another bite of her cookie. I sat beside her and seethed.
There are a number of things that I would consider pet peeves of mine. I hate to be told what I already know. I hate when someone speaks over me. I hate to be interrupted. I hate it when I'm telling a story and someone else, who knows the conclusion, feels the need to blurt it out before I get to it. I hate when I'm telling a joke and someone reveals the punchline before I do. But I hate, I mean really, truly loathe, when someone pawns my words off as their own. Even if they're not good.
I know it's silly, but I can't help it.