There is a woman that I work with who drives me out of my mind. She's very nice, and she means well, but she's not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer. There is no single thing that she does that is that bad, but when you add all of them up, it can be a bit grating on the nerves.
One of her "things" is that she's always sharing her food. If she pops popcorn or has a bag of grapes, she always pops up and asks the people in the surrounding cubes if they would like some. Every time someone says "no thank you" she then has to confirm with a "are you sure". No one ever wants any of her snacks, but she still asks several times a day and we go through the same process again and again.
This morning she picked up a plate of fruit that was left over from a meeting she had attended. Not wanting any of it go to waste, she started lobbying my whole aisle with an aggressive campaign of "are you sures".
I have a very low tolerance for repetition, but I do my best to be polite in situations like this. Like I said, she means well. She really does seem to be very emotionally invested in the fate of the fruit. However, after asking me if I was sure I didn't want any fruit for the fourth time in five minutes, I was finding it difficult to hold back the snark.
Oh how I wanted to go off on her. First of all, YES, I'm pretty sure I'm capable of determining that I don't want any slimy fruit that people have had their hands all over. It's pretty safe to assume that I'm not so indecisive that I can't make basic decisions and stick with those decisions for a full five minutes. Second of all, it's fruit! Yes, it's a shame that it's going to waste, but I really don't think we are going to hurt it's feelings by not eating it. It's not going to sit in the garbage sobbing over being rejected. It is not alive! Fruit has no feelings! ARGH!!!!!
Don't worry, instead of freaking out, I calmly replied for a fifth time that I would not like any fruit and excused myself. Best not to tempt being asked again.
As I walked away, the first thought that came to mind was that I could lend her Michael for a while, and that would teach her not to ask the same thing over and over again. Mr. Contrary would not tolerate such a thing, and I'm pretty sure she'd change her habits if it would reduce the tantrums. (Hey, it worked on me.)
I've known all along that Michael gets his contrariness from me. That's why I'm more tolerant of it than other people. I get it. What I have failed to recognize is that my contrariness comes with a huge dose of sarcasm and snark. At 38, I still have to bite my tongue to avoid being a smart ass, so you can imagine how bad I was as a teenager. And that's when it hit me. My contrary child is going to grow up to be a wise ass teenager.
And I am going to be his target.