I thought it was time to try shaking things up a bit, and there's really no better way to describe the chaos that is family dinner than from the perspective of a fly on the wall, so please enjoy the following story, as told by our most recent dinner guest:
I still remember the day I visited their house for supper--it was the first and last time I would ever make that mistake. I'm just a humble fly, you see, and I was merely looking for a bite to eat. I entered through the left-open front door--that should have been my first clue that I was headed for trouble. But I was very young--not more than a few hours old--and I didn't know any better.
The evening started out well. I snacked on someone's old lunch that was still sitting on the table while smells of dinner wafted out from the kitchen. I made myself at home, exploring the house while I waited for the main course.
Soon the stale lunch was cleared away and dishes began appearing on the table. Then the food came and the big human who brought it let it sit there for ages while repeating the phrase, "Dinner's ready" over and over again at the top of her lungs. But nobody came to eat and I was simply starving, so I decided to help myself before someone arrived. It was my second mistake.
Just as I neared the food, I heard a loud crash behind me. A plate was spinning to a stop on the floor and there was a tiny human climbing on the table with a grin on his face. I had to move fast to avoid being hit by the second plate as it flew by me and clattered to the floor. A spoon and two forks followed and by the time I was perched safely in a high corner I was breathing hard. The tiny human was having a wonderful time, but when the big one returned to the table and saw him, she wasn't very happy.
She lifted him off the table and strapped him into a seat, where he commenced screaming at the top of his lungs while she picked up the fallen dishes, dumped them in the sink, and set out new ones. Well, that just seemed unnecessary to me--those other dishes were perfectly fine--but I wasn't about to interfere after almost losing my life.
Tiny Human was still screaming the loudest, most aggravating sound I had ever heard when his cries were joined by an alarming stampede of feet. I lost count of them as they charged up the stairs and swarmed the dinner table. I didn't care for the racket they were making but I do have to say I enjoyed the sweaty smell that the boys carried with them--it made me feel right at home. I was anxious for the family to get on with their dinner so I could pick at their plates when they weren't paying attention and then escape to the peaceful outdoors.
From the moment they all sat down, it was chaos and cacophony as some clamored for food and others for attention. Those kids talked over each other, ran away only to be called back by the big one, leaned back on their chairs, stood up on their chairs in an effort to command the attention of the group, and spilled things. I've never seen such terrible table manners in all my life, and that's saying something. I noticed one of the small ones eating her mashed potatoes and gravy with her hands, dipping her fingers into her glass of milk in between each bite to wash them off before going back in for more. I can't say I didn't approve as it looked quite fun to me, but the big one wasn't happy when she saw it.
One of the children kept trying to say something, only to be interrupted by another one. Each time this happened, the victim sighed loudly and then tried again. I watched his face as the rage rose within him until suddenly it boiled over and he yelled "Will you shut up?!" to the offender. The big one reprimanded him for his language and then did her best to pay attention to him despite the din. The Tiny Human was still screaming at a level that would make any decent velociraptor jealous, but I noticed he was also throwing bits of food to the floor. I decided to take a chance and fly in for his cast-offs.
It was a success and after I ate, I fled. My ears were throbbing from the decibel level and I didn't care to stay there any longer than necessary. The door I had entered through was now shut, but luckily, another one opened just as I was about to go insane from the noise. An even bigger human came through the door and smiled ruefully as he beheld the chaos he was coming home to. I don't know why he didn't just turn around and leave, as I would have done.
As for me, I raced away as fast as I could. Since then, I've taken great care to never again enter a house through a wide-open front door. It's a sure sign that little humans live there and, as far as I'm concerned, little humans are just trouble.