The 8 Types of People on Every Guided Tour

Last week, for my brand new professional writer’s job, I was sent to Charlottesville for a work press trip. I’m doing a story on things to do in the city, restaurants to check out, and places to stay.

An employee from the Charlottesville Visitors Bureau set up the daily itinerary for the duration of my stay. She did a great job of creating a balanced mix of activities. Theater, wineries, apple picking, outdoorsy stuff, etc. But…it’s Charlottesville. Where three of the founding fathers resided at one point in their lives. So it’s hard to go there without attending a few historical tours.

Which, was fine, I like history as much as the next guy. I got tours of James Monroe’s plantation, James Madison’s retirement home, and of course Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

I learned a lot about their family lives, their presidencies, their achievements…blah, blah, blah. But in between learning about the University of Virginia and the Declaration of Independence, I learned another valuable lesson.

There are a lot of different types of tour-goers.

The Question-Asker

The Question-Asker generally asks questions that really aren’t at all important. Sometimes the questions aren’t even relevant to the topic at hand. Often the Question-Askers just like to talk as much as possible to hear the sound of their own voice. They usually have a lot of deep-rooted unfulfilled attention-related needs, which are easily met on guided tours.

Pro: Sometimes they ask something that you’re too afraid to ask in fear of sounding stupid.

Con: They extend the tour by a minimum of 30 minutes.

The Know-It-All

The Know-It-All knows more about history than the average person, and sees no reason to keep this fact to themselves. This person is most commonly a retiree who spends much of their extensive free time reading nonfiction books and watching the History Channel. During a tour, the Know-It-All will frequently interject with an interesting fact about the current topic. Sometimes they’ll even finish the tour guide’s sentences.

Pro: You might actually learn something that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

Con: Your tour guide will probably be in a bad mood when they finish the tour.

The Wannabe-Know-It-All

The Wannabe-Know-It-All wishes they knew more about history than the average person, and sees no reason to keep this desire to themselves. In reality, they know a little bit more than most, but want to sound knowledgeable by stating facts or adding to the tour guide’s spiel.

Pro: You’re definitely not the most annoying one on the tour.

Con: This person is almost always wrong and your tour guide definitely be in a bad mood when they finish the tour.

The Side-Commenter

The Side-Commenter has a lot of opinions, but doesn’t actually want to interrupt the tour. So they just keep their comments to themselves. Loudly. Tour Guide: “Dolly Madison had a son named Payne from a previous marriage. And he was a real, well, pain.” Side-Commenter: Hey-o! That’s a convenient coincidence! “Payne gambled away all of James Madison’s money” You gotta be kidding me! “Sold his library of books” Holy crap almighty, really!? “And then moved to Scotchtown, Virginia.” Scotch! Ha! Yum.

Pro: The tour guide usually is either far enough away to not hear the Side-Commenter, or is really good at ignoring them.


The Bad Listener

The Bad Listener is…well, a bad listener. Often distracted by their own thoughts or something shiny, the Bad Listener tunes out a lot of the tour. However, they hear just enough of it to want to learn more. They reveal their bad listening skills by constantly asking the tour guide about something that was already covered. Example: “So, where did that huge buffalo skin covering the wall come from?” Entire rest of the tour: “Lewis and Clark.”

Pro: You might learn something you yourself tuned out or somehow missed.

Con: If the group also contains a Question-Asker, the tour will take at minimum an extra hour to finish.

The Really Bad Listener

The Really Bad Listener…Does. Not. Want. To. Be. On. This. Tour. You can identify the Really Bad Listener by the person with a consistently glazed-over look on their face. Or, more commonly, the person who hasn’t stopped using their phone since the tour started.

Pro: Unlike the Bad Listener, the Really Bad Listener usually doesn’t care enough to ask any questions during the tour.

Con: You’re probably going to be distracted by their selfies.

The Thorough Tourist

The Thorough Tourist wants to see every bit of the tour. Like the Know-It-All, the Thorough Tourist is usually a retiree with a whole bunch of empty time on their hands. This person generally doesn’t have anywhere else to be, and wants to make sure they see every piece of every bit of every room during the tour. That means furniture corners, picture frames, rug fringes, and wallpaper. Oh, the Thorough Tourist loves wallpaper.

Pro: Um, maybe we all need to slow down and enjoy the details in life once in awhile?

Con: No, actually we just need to get through this tour in a reasonable amount of time.

The Family

The Family…well, is pretty self-explanatory. Yes, yes, we all want to raise smart children exposed to culture and history and knowledge. The problem is, there’s a period in every child’s life when they’re too young to appreciate historical tours but too old to leave in the car. So the rest of the tour-goers have to deal with the bored, uninterested, is-this-over-yet children.

Pro: At least they’re not your kids.

Con: Yeah, but you can’t discipline them.

Solution: Just leave them in the car anyway.

But hey, friends! Don’t let that deter you! Charlottesville is great. It’s got mountains and restaurants and hiking and shopping and breweries and camping and orchards and theater and wine and bagels and music and history…




Don’t Even Think About Breaking Into Our Pool

It’s pool season, which means my apartment complex message board is about to explode with daily complaints.

Rewind: say what?

In case you missed this post, about the wintertime dog poop problem around the area, and this post, about the elephants that live in my building: the apartment complex in which I reside has a community message board for residents to post items for sale, questions about the property, and best of all: complaints.

Which makes for some very rich reading material. Because like I said before, when people feel that they have a voice in the community…they’re going to share it with anyone who listens.

So once the community pool opened on Memorial Day, I was bracing myself for some juicy pool-related grievances. There aren’t enough lounge chairs, the pool is green, some overly-tanned bros are invading the sand volleyball court again, etc.

That’s what I thought, anyway.

But a mere day after the pool opened for the summer, we got, not only a severe complaint, but a solution.

And, for those of you who don’t have the privilege of living in the River Lofts complex, here’s a quick preface: you have to have a fob to get into the pool, and you have to have an amenity pass to stay there.

Back to our post.

5/30/17 9:35 a.m. Ravid Doss*:

I went into the pool area in Cameron Breezeway on Memorial Day and decided to sit by the volleyball court, as the pool was occupied by 5 screaming kids overseen by one person. I watched 3 times as keys/fobs were passed openly to others arriving in the parking area!


Along with other tenants, we all pay for the privalige (sic) of using the pool and it’s being easily abused by others.

Well did you ask to see amenity passes???

I wanted to ask to see amenity passes but that’s not my job.

But Ravid, if you weren’t a resident and you could abuse this pool access, wouldn’t you?

If I wasn’t a resident and I could abuse this pool access, I would. But I usually skip visiting the pools during the holidays to avoid the frustration.

If only we had someone volunteer to sit at the gate on a holiday to check people’s amenity passes and patrol the pool area…

If needed, I’d gladly sit at the gate on a holiday to check amenity passes and patrol the pool area to dissuade this kind of behavior,

Oh, gosh. Above and beyond! But what kind of compensation do you expect?


Am I dreaming?

You have my number. I’d be glad to give up my Saturdays to make sure this abuse ends.


So, to you non-residents out there: consider this your one and only warning if you’re thinking about using the River Lofts pool this summer without an amenity pass.

Ravid Doss is watching.


*Name has been scrambled to protect identity from my three followers.



Farewell, Crossroads

Well, friends and readers, the day has come. I’ve found a full time job. Which means a whole lot of things, but one of them is that I’ll have to quit my part time job at Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream.

In all my experience in the service industry, this has easily been the most consistently laidback position I’ve ever worked. I’m going to miss the coworkers, the laughs, and above all, the free coffee. But what I’ll miss more than anything are the regulars.

A 14-year-old coffee shop located in the middle of a neighborhood on a high-traffic road is bound to bring in a lot of regular customers. I would like to take this time to commemorate each of them, but, to protect their privacy from my high profile blog, I’m just going to refer to all of the regulars by their orders instead of their names.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with One Egg Patty and a Side of Grape Jelly

I don’t really understand your breakfast preferences but you are the smiliest person I’ve ever met and are the only white person in my current life who calls me “Miss Rachel.”

Large Iced Coffee in a 24-oz Tervis Tumbler with Refill

This time two years ago, if someone had asked me if it was possible for someone to drink that much coffee in the span of 15 minutes, I would have said no. Thank you for showing me that anything is possible.

Large Coffee and a Cinnamon Chip Scone

It’s pronounced “scone.” NOT “SCON.”

Small Coffee with a Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

You’re shy and sweet and smile a lot, and you always insist on buying something you could just make at home. I will miss our brief interactions, many of which consist of me commenting on your scrubs.

Large Nonfat Decaf Latte

What’s the point?

Egg Sandwich on a Croissant with Pesto

Thank you for the weird cartoon you drew me last year, acknowledging how much you enjoyed the sandwich I made.

Pork Rinds

Hey, lady, I saw you sneaking pork rinds into Crossroads every day. And not buying anything. And getting mad at me whenever I ask you not to bring in outside food because it’s a health code violation. I sure am going to miss you. And your crazy eyes. And your bigoted conversations about gay marriage.

Everything Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese and Avocado

It took me forever to realize…

Egg and Cheese Sandwich on Wheat Bread

…that you two were married.

Large Mocha Smoothie with Whip

I’m sincerely sorry that you dislike your job as a teacher so much. I’m sorry that you have a classroom ratio of 30:1. I agree that the education system is really screwed up. I agree that teachers are treated poorly and severely underpaid. But please stop complaining to your baristas. And for gosh sake’s, tip them once in awhile.

Small Iced Mocha

I look forward to the day when I too can retire and spend my afternoons on the patio of a local coffee shop, wearing Hawaiian shirts and drinking cold beverages.

Large Vanilla Chai Smoothie with Whip

I thought you were kind of strange and then I read a local article about you and how you used to fly Black Op helicopters for the army, so now I’m too intimidated to talk to you.

Egg Patty on Gluten Free Bread with a Dry Almond Milk Cappuccino

You are a person that knows what you like, and I have to admire that about you. But please get yourself acquainted with some seasonings. Or some condiments or something.

Southpark Tie Guy

I couldn’t categorize you by your order because you’re wildly inconsistent, but let me just say that your ability to turn any karaoke song into a show tune is something in my life I never thought I would see.



Farewell, Crossroads. And an extra special farewell to its regulars. You guys drove me crazy and kept me sane all at the same time.

Or was that the constant over-consumption of caffeine?

My Latest Car Inspection Report

Inspection Summary for: MARSH, RACHEL D.

05/09/2017 1:52 PM

1999 Honda CR-V EX RED

Odometer In: 240966

License: XYY-8047

Sub Estimate #1

Lube, oil and filter

Labor: $35

Parts: $117.52

Total Taxes: $17.83

Sub Estimate Total: $170.35

Sub Estimate #2

R&R front disc rotor and alignment

Labor: $57

Parts: $478.98

Total Taxes: $90.05

Sub Estimate Total: $626.03

Sub Estimate #3

Radiator air shutter

Labor: $125

Parts: $732.60

Total Taxes: $208.75

Sub Estimate Total: $1,066.35

Sub Estimate #4

Something something something something car terms blah blah blah

Labor: $679

Parts: $2,450.38

Total Taxes: $980.57

Sub Estimate Total: $4,109.95

Sub Estimate #5

Automatic power steering transmission fluid I’m blue da ba dee da ba daa system flush exchange disc rotors hips don’t lie catalytic converter mmbop oil filter engine replacement.

Labor: $1,975

Parts: $3,050.45

Total Taxes: $778.94

Sub Estimate Total: $5,804.39

Sub Estimate #6

A voltage regulator, whatever the heck that is

Labor: $480

Parts: $3,728.55

Total Taxes: $752.90

Sub Estimate Total: Call your parents

Sub Estimate #7

Family vacation to Cancun

Labor: $4,085

Parts: $5,728.55

Total Taxes: $1,752.90

Sub Estimate Total: Your firstborn child

Sub Estimate #8

Transmission harmonic torque converter module

Labor: A LOT

Parts: We don’t even know if there’s a number for this

Total Taxes: Your rent for a year

Sub Estimate Total: Bankruptcy

Grand Total All Sub Estimates: the equivalent to your entire college tuition, times three, plus six years of indentured slavery, with an additional $65 service fee.









This week, my mother is out of town for some important media trip, and has asked me to dogsit for her.

Which is a task I dread every time I have to do it. And I want to be a good daughter, because she raised me and still supports me and has been there for me when I’ve needed her and blah blah blah. But every time she asks, I cross my fingers for an excuse not to do it because frankly, dogsitting for her is a fate I wouldn’t bestow upon anyone.


  • First of all, the best part about housesitting or dogsitting for anyone is raiding their snacks. But everything she has is so gosh darn healthy, I don’t even know what to do with it.






  • In fact, I can barely find any space to put my REAL food.



  • Okay, but no big deal. As long as she has coffee, I’ll be fine.


But…a jigsaw coffeemaker!?!?

But who invented this
Maybe if just shut it really hard
Maybe it just figures it out itself
Maybe I’m thinking about it too much


  • Oh and another thing. My mom has one of those iSmartAlarm alarm systems, so she’s alerted whenever a door or window has been opened. Therefore she knows whenever I get home at night, whenever I get up in the morning, and if I’ve stayed out all night partying without coming back to feed the dogs.



It’s like dogsitting for Big Brother.


  • And I can’t even try to get anything done with this face looking at me the entire time.

Should I Reinstall My Bangs?

I was bald for the first year of my life.

I went that entire year having to rely on my large eyes, easy smile, and rolls of fat to get people’s attention. I didn’t have the advantage of thick, shiny hair, like many of my associates had, to fall back on.

Every day was a struggle.


Eventually my hair grew in (blonde, in case anyone was wondering). I went through the “Baby’s First Haircut” photoshoot, and I’m sure somewhere there’s a lock of my hair stuffed into one of those baby scrapbooks that literally no parent has ever completed.


So as my hair grew and became like a normal child’s, my hairstyle matched those of any young white girl’s in the 90’s: long hair that was usually tangled in hundreds of places, topped with thick bangs sitting straight across my eyebrow line. And if I was lucky, my mom would toilet paper them on special occasions.




To put it bluntly, I was…well, I was adorable.

Then came third grade. When every girl whose parents had bestowed bangs upon them decided to grow them out. And since I was definitely cool, that’s what I wanted to do too. I asked my parents to buy me clips to help shove them aside during the growing process, and they did.


By fourth grade, my forehead was the clear, bangs-free forehead I had dreamed of.

I lived the low-ponytail, center-part life every day until middle school.


Like I said, I was definitely cool.

Then in seventh grade, the bangs fad returned. And since I was definitely cool, my bangs also returned. They were the feathery kind, not as thick as before…and I think they lasted about a month until I realized that they did not look good I was too cool for them.

My hair has gone through a lot of alterations since then, including some highlights, blowouts, bad haircuts, good haircuts, its own recent decision to become curly, and more split ends than I care to even imagine.

And now I’m starting to wonder if the bangs life is for me again.

And that’s where I need your advice.

If you’re thinking, “Well Rachel, how can we give you advice if we don’t know what your hair would look like with bangs?” I have a solution. A solution called the internet.

I’ve replaced my face with some celebrities’ faces, to see what exactly I would look like with bangs. I sat on my couch last night experimenting with all sorts of potential hairstyles, and I’ve set aside the best options for you to look at.

Take your time, sleep on it, don’t feel like you need to answer right away. But here are some accurate depictions of what I could look like with a new ‘do, for your careful consideration.



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unnamed (5)


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unnamed (4)


unnamed (1)

Technology these days is amazing.

Anyway, thank you for your contemplation, and I look forward to your feedback.

Official Retraction

I would just quickly like to issue an official retraction from my last blog post. For those of you who forgot, or for gosh sake’s didn’t read it, the post was about my poor cooking skills, and what it looks like now that I live on my own and have to cook for myself.

In one part, I wrote “Bad cooking is a curse that was bestowed upon my family, and unfortunately passed along to me.”

Since the post was published, I’ve gotten a heavy amount of backlash from a reader who wished to remain anonymous. This reader reminded me that I come from two separate families, one of which is actually very culinarily talented.

This reader then reminded me of all of the delicious nightly dinners she cooked for me over the years, the daily school lunches she diligently packed, and the highly anticipated Saturday morning pancake breakfasts I enjoyed as a child.

This reader also reminded me that I wouldn’t be here were it not for the nine months that she spent caring for me in her womb. Which seemed unrelated somehow, but I guess she thought it was important.

So, reader, I apologize for not making that part more clear, and in the future I’ll be sure to be more careful to specify when placing blame about my lack of cooking abilities.