July 22, 2008

The Essence of Irritation

This morning I'm in the shower and I hear my son yelling my name. I open the shower door and he's standing there telling me, "There's a fly downstairs. It's irritating sissy." Apparently our 3 1/2 year old errand boy had been (once again) sent by his sister upstairs to deliver the message to me that she was being repeatedly bothered by an insect. I had no response to this other than to tell Nathan to go back down and watch cartoons.

A few minutes later my daughter arrives in the bathroom. She lets me know at high volume that she needs my assistance, immediately. 
"Dad, this fly is irritating me. I need you to come get rid of it." 
I felt like a mob thug, being summoned to knock somebody off. 
"Honey, if the fly was trying to suck your brain out of your head through your ear, I would consider this urgent. I'm in the shower. Just tell the fly your Dad said to leave you alone."
"But Dad...it's irritating me!"
"Don't let it irritate you. Just shoo it away."
"It won't stop irritating me!"

This is where I closed the shower door, and just stood there. Realizing that this is one of those conversations that's not actually a conversation - it's 2 people saying what they're saying, not really listening to the other person. 

I also wondered, "Since when did we start saying 'irritating' so much?" Why not bothering, or frustrating, or bugging...yeah, bugging is totally appropriate here. Irritating? Irritating is someone yelling at you repeatedly while you're trying to enjoy the 5 minutes of your cool shower. Irritating is being sent like a pizza delivery boy up and down the stairs with messages that you're too lazy to deliver. That's irritating!

So right now Morgan has taken the kids to the grocery store. Item #13 on the list? Flyswatter!

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