The Ringer

I have a semi-serious question that no one has been able to adequately answer for me. How am I supposed to react when I deliver to a customer's house and there's a handicapped child screaming at me? Am I supposed to ignore the hollering halfwit and focus on the adult that's taking care of the transaction, or am I supposed to engage and say hello? It's never clear because the parents never acknowledge their special little spawns wailing. I mean, I'm sure mommy is used to their touched little tykes tantrums, but I'm not. I'm not saying that these affected little adolescents should be crate trained, but would hermetically sealing them in the hallway closet for the time it takes me to drop off your food really be all that much of an inconvenience? I mean, I'm sure there's an unfenced pool area that they could be rollerskating around that would satisfy everyone involved. That, or the parents could always just try and sooth the soul of their troubled child by simply acknowledging their heir's elevated level of alertness. A pleasant pat on the back from memaw would be the preferred option, since the potential calming effect would assist in making  me feel like I'm not responsible for inciting a riot turned stroke. A simple, "You're okay" or, "Tell the pizza man thank you" would go a long way in making me a magnitude more comfortable. Seriously, just go the Seaworld route and toss the kid some treats when he or she performs well. You know, like when the trainers reward their dolphins with a fist full of anchovies for doing a front flip in front of a crowd of people. It's like that. Just keep a couple of peanut butter cups chambered and ready to go and when your little half melted snowflake says, "Thank You" you can hit your little pocket clicker and toss a Gobstopper their way. Win-win, right?

If you think I'm being insensitive then let me tell you about a delivery of mine. I delivered to a nice middle-class home and had a very attractive mother in her mid-forties answer the door. Right when she cracked the door open and said hello I heard a very special brand of bellowing coming from a troubled teenager that was about ten paces behind the mom. The kid wasn't throwing a fit or anything. She was merely hollering a hello my way and telling me I should come on in. Not an inherently awful action, the problem was she repeated herself a cool hundred times at a tinnitus inducing tone. I'm a moderately antisocial/uncomfortable conversationalist with mentally healthy individuals, so you can imagine the confounding feeling I was faced with when it came to deciding whether or not to initiate a conversation with the confused child or let the screaming slide. Instead of making the first move I waited to see what the mother would do and I figured I'd sort of piggyback on her reaction. To my dismay the mom simply said, "Hi. Don't worry. She's friendly. How much do I owe you?" How am I supposed to react to that? Instead of simply breaking the ice by introducing me to her daughter or by telling me to ignore her, she basically stated that I don't have to worry about her semi-feral child escaping and going all 28 Days Later on my inner thigh. I'm pretty emotionless and even I think that referring to your seed like she's a snarling schnauzer is a bit of a callous move.

I'm not saying that the mom should embrace the screaming or that she should encourage non-productive communication with strangers. God knows I rather make change at a distance and save my eardrums from the rending that the girl's retarded roars were giving me. I simply want to know if ignoring the child is the way to go, or if it's better to acknowledge the child even when the parents don't seem to?