I’m not sure how common this phenomenon is throughout the rest of society but I seem to have more than my fair share of a particular kind of irritating person and I want it to stop. Now.
I am talking about the Cross-Examiner.
Allow me to explain…
You’re telling something to someone or trying to explain something… and the person you’re talking to interrupts time and again with questions, usually irrelevant, to the point where you want to say, “What are you, a cop?”
At first, you will probably mistake the Cross-Examiner’s questioning for curiosity or maybe the fact that the person to whom you are speaking is more than a bit dim and needs constant clarification on minute points in your story or explanation.
Then you begin to realize that the person asking the question does not let you get even half-way through your reply when he or she poses another question… then another… then another, each one more ‘pointed.’
It soon dawns on you that the Cross-Examiner isn’t interested in your answers… he or she simply enjoys the act of asking questions.
This is the adult version of the maddening habit most young children have of asking “Why?” after every reply you give. They don’t really care why. They just want to know how many times they can ask “Why?” before you give up, scream or swat them. Which is not unlike the reaction one has to the Cross-Examiner.
Me: Once upon a time…
Me: A long time ago…
C-E: When exactly? How long ago?
Me: It doesn’t matter.
C-E: Months? Years?
Me: It’s not relevant to the story.
C-E: Was it more than 10 years ago or less than 10 years ago?
Me: Stop it!
C-E: I can’t get some context to the story?
Me: You don’t need any. Anyway. Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
C-E: What galaxy? How far?
Me: Oh for heaven sake…
C-E: Are you counting dwarf galaxies and Magellanic clouds? Or are we talking actual real galaxies here?
Me: I’m going to smack you in a minute!
(What the Cross-Examiner thinks he is)
Maybe it makes them feel smart.
Maybe they believe they are being perceptive and analytical.
Maybe they think they are ‘getting to the root’ of something.
Who cares? I want it to stop!