A scant hour ago, I began a post about my trip to Mexico. It was shaping up to be funny and informative and even - gasp! - was going to include pictures.
As I was weaving my way through my fourth paragraph, I saw a car pull into my place of work's parking lot. I rolled my eyes, as is my standard practice when confronted with actual work when I could be writing, minimized my screen, and readied my unflappable smile.
"Hello," I said to the five of them as they poured themselves through our front door. Apparently, there was much excitement brewing between Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother and Grandma, because they all wanted to squeeze through the one door at the same time. The fervor with which they entered our building caused them to miss my salutation. No one said anything back.
"How are you guys today?" I said, louder this time, projecting my voice toward them. The dad saw me and said hello back. The wife looked at me, but looked away.
"We're just looking," she said, turning to face the left side of our building. Apparently too busy and important to even look in my direction when addressing me, she took off on her quest to just look, and began explaining to her family members everything she saw.
There's something that happens to people when they feel they know a good deal about a particular product or object. They become and expert and begin to explain said product to anyone willing to listen. This also causes them to act like the authority and makes them prematurely disregard anything you (the employee) have to say about said product. They look at you with disdain, as if to say, "You think you know more about this than I do? I watch the Discovery Channel, thank you."
When I heard her incorrectly advising her husband, I offered my standard "I know you're here, but you probably don't want 'help' with anything, so let me phrase it so that it doesn't put you in a position of weakness" phrase:
"Did you have any questions about anything?" I said it in my sweetest voice, through my patented, plastered-on smile, as I walked toward them. It gives people an opportunity to ask you a question without making them feel inferior to you.
"No." She said curtly. "We're just looking."
"Okay," I replied, backing away. "I'll just be here, if you do decide you need anything."
I maximized my blogger screen, prepared to get back to work on my newest, awesome post.
Which is the exact same moment that they unleashed the kid.
He was quiet up until this point. But when his older sister, a tall and awkward thirteen year old, wouldn't give up the seat she found so that he could sit in it, like he wanted, he went nuts.
But not in the crying and screaming kind of way. Oh no. In a much, much worse way. His craziness emerged in the "I have nothing better to do, since I can't sit in that chair, so I just have to find a way to entertain myself." And his way of entertaining himself? Narrating every single solitary move he made.
"I'm walking, I'm walking, I'm walking," his grating six year old little voice said from another room. "I'm turning a corner! Oh, I'm stretching my shirt! I'm walking, I'm walking!"
His mother, who stood just a few feet from me, continued to peruse our selection, completely oblivious to her son's one-sided dialogue. Since he was screaming, though, she had to raise her voice, too. To speak over her child's screeching voice and tell her husband all she knew.
When it was clear the son was getting a little out of control, granny stepped in. She shuffled over to him, and engaged him in conversation. Clearly enthused with her attention, the boy intimated that he'd like to show her around my place of business. So he skipped and jumped and narrated his way through the office, while she trailed behind him, too bent and stiff to walk at his speed.
When the son found the fishtank in the office, his excitement grew to epic proportions. "Granny! Look! FISHES! Look! LOOK! Fish! There's so many! Look at them, Granny! LOOK! Fish! Look at their tails!"
The cursor in front of me blinked, untouched. I wanted to write, but all I could think of was: "Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up."
The mother and father passed my desk, and with each pass, I offered my assistance. "Nope," she maintained. "No questions."
"Well, if you need me," I replied, "I'm here." And, I thought, could you possibly get your kid to shut the fuck up?
"FISHES!" the kid squealed from behind me.
The grandma soon grew tired of hearing about the life the child was creating for each and every fish in the tank. "Maybe he's tired. Look how he's not swimming fast. He's probably tired. Maybe he was swimming really fast earlier in the day. And now he's tired. Right granma? Right?"
She said something agreeable and scuttled off to see the mom. "Strange how that girl's just sitting there," she said. "You'd think she'd want to help you."
The mom agreed.
I looked up from my computer screen. Me! She was talking about me! The same me who had been offering my help with each lap they made of my office, the same me who was told, in no uncertain terms, that my help was neither wanted nor needed. That me.
"HEY!" The kid screamed, still transfixed by the fishtank. "DO YOU THINK THIS FISH IS TIRED?" I cringed.
I decided to force my help upon them, to hurry them up, hence reclaiming the peace and quiet I'd been enjoying until their visit. Anyway, I didn't want to be accused of ignoring them. Clearly, they wanted my help, they just didn't know how to ask for it.
"HEY! GUYS! LOOK AT THE FISH!"
The daughter sat slumped in one of our chairs, clearly uninterested in hanging out with her family, being here, and the fish. She rolled her eyes in the general direction of the fishtank. I had had enough.
I sauntered up to them, going ahead and answering any questions I thought they may have before they could even ask. I explained everything I saw their eyes land on. I left no doubt in their minds as to what they were seeing. The mom still refused to talk to me, instead going ahead with her own perusing. The dad, though, was happy to follow me around and collect samples and brochures. He showered me with thank yous.
The wife was not impressed.
The look she shot me when I offered her my best smile told me that she'd only be happy if I were to either gain four hundred pounds on the spot, or just explode. But as I was, smiling and slim and helpful and undaunted by her evil eye, she was miserable. This was her final straw. "Okay guys," she bellowed through my office. "Time. To. Go."
Forty minutes after their arrival, they waddled out the door.
And I couldn't go back to writing my post because, well, they had driven me crazy and my motivation for the awesome post was gone.
And now it's time to go home. Thank God.