Here’s a question for you. Next month I’m traveling to France with my daughter for her eighth-grade class trip. She’s been in a French immersion program for 8 years and the trip is the culmination of a lot of hard work. The problem is that I’m going to be stuck on a giant tour bus with about 40 13-year olds and 10 of their parents for 10 days. I’ve known most of the adults for a while and many are very nice. But I’m concerned about the ones who don’t understand that they actually need to use Euros, not dollars, and say “excusez-moi, parlez vous anglais?” before blathering on in English. How do I keep myself from punching them in the face?
Going to Go NutsFirst of all, Nuts, (I can call you Nuts, right?) thank you so much for using an alias. I appreciate your attempt to make me feel like a real advice columnist!
Even though I totally know who you are.
(Full disclosure: Nuts is a long-time friend of mine.)
(Even fuller disclosure: I have actually traveled with Nuts in the past. So it’s understandable that she’s worried about traveling with other people. I mean, I did set the bar pretty high.)Second of all, Nuts, let me assure you, you have come to the right place.
You see, while I don’t have lots of experience traveling in a group as I usually travel on my own these days, I do have lots of experience with annoying people.
I attribute this to the fact that I spent a great deal of my life working in customer service.
And because I’m naturally a very cranky person especially if it’s before noon and I haven’t had five gallons of coffee yet and OMIGOD ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO CHEW THAT LOUDLY? BECAUSE, SERIOUSLY.
Luckily, I’ve come up with a whole step-by-step system to help me get through any experiences I might have with annoying people.
And you’ll be happy to know that hardly any of those steps involve punching people in the face!
Because punching people in the face is bad, you guys.
And because it would require some kind of hand-eye coordination.
(More full disclosure: I don’t have any of that.)
Sally’s Step-by-Step System for Dealing with Annoying People
Step 1: Avoid eye contact
As soon as you make eye contact with them, they will attack you. But instead of attacking you with their fangs or claws, they will totally attack you with their annoyingness.
Which, honestly, is a lot worse.
I mean, fangs and claws are bad.
But listening to someone whine on and on about how-nobody-in-this-country-speaks-English-and-if-everyone-spoke-English-already-than-the-barista-would-have-known-to-use-skim-milk-in-my-latte-and-do-they-even-have-skim-milk-in-this-godforsaken-country?
Step 2: Act busy
EVEN THOUGH I EXPRESSLY TOLD YOU NOT TO MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THEM AND WHY AM I EVEN GIVING YOU ADVICE IF YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME?
And now the annoying person won’t stop talking to you.
Now would be a really good time to get an important email from home. You’d better read it and respond to it immediately or something might explode.
Or what about that work-thing? Didn’t you say you had some kind of work-thing you were supposed to work on RIGHT NOW? I totally remember you telling me you had some kind of work-thing.
Or, omigod, did you forget to take your vitamins? I think you forgot to take your vitamins. They’re in the bottom of your bag. Way, way, way down in the bottom. It’s probably going to take you at least twenty minutes to find them. You should go do that now. You wouldn’t want to get yourself a bad case of the scurvy while you’re on vacation.
Step 3: Run away
You know, so they don’t see you while you’re running away.
Because they will attack you.
Step 4: Think of the stories!
You speak the language fluently.
You blend in with the locals.
You can convert the exchange rate in your head.
And you have never once ended up accidentally ordering something you didn’t mean to order.
You’re still going to want some annoying people around you, if only so you’ll have some good stories to tell when you get home.
Because nobody wants to hear your stories – you know, the ones about how you’re so awesome and how your trip was so awesome and how awesomely awesome all the awesome was.
People don’t like stories about awesome.
People like stories about other people making total asses out of themselves And then accidentally eating pig intestines for lunch.
I should know.
I’ve been making a total ass out of myself in foreign countries since 1995!
And, not to brag or anything, but people LOVE my stories! Especially the ones that involve my accidentally eating big piles of pig intestines.
Step 5: Join ‘em.
Well, you can’t beat the annoying people.
Because, again, that would be bad. And would require hand-eye coordination.
So you might as well join them.
Because sometimes you need to be annoying.
Sometimes you just need to complain about your latte because you know it’s just a latte but you’re tired and you’re under-caffeinated and it’s nine o’clock in the morning and you just wanted skim milk and you’re stuck on a bus with fifty people and WHY IS EVERYONE CHEWING SO LOUDLY?
It’s good to know that during those sometimes when you’re being the annoying person, that you’re not alone – that there are other people on that bus that know exactly how you feel.
Even if they’re totally not making eye contact with you at the moment.Have you traveled with annoying people? How did you cope? Got any tips you’d like to share?
P.S. Would you like some advice you really shouldn’t follow? Leave a comment, email me at unbravegirl at gmail.com or leave a question in the contact form. P.P.S. Speaking of being annoying, did you vote for me for a Bloggie for Best Travel Weblog yet? Did you? Huh? Guys? GUYS?? Where are you going? WHY IS EVERYONE RUNNING AWAY?