Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This One is Going to be Long & Ramble-y

So, The Boyfriend and I decided to take a drive on Sunday, as a treat after spending over 2 hours dusting our apartment. I hate dusting with every fiber of my being, and being allergic to dust doesn't help any.

Off we go on our 2 hour drive down the Pacific Coast in which we end at Chili's (Yes, I like their food. A lot.) and this is now also a celebration that I have lost 13 pounds and 5 inches off my waist. The drive is pleasant enough. We have a good time goofing around and lamenting the fact that modern Christmas music is just shit.

We arrive at our destination. There is a wait for a table, no big deal, we continue enjoying each other's company.

We are seated. A small 2 person booth. I like those. Well, USUALLY I like those because we are seated at them quite frequently and we are usually on an outside wall (this is important later) so we have some privacy in our conversation.

As soon as we sit down I realize something is wrong. We are not on an outside wall, we are in the middle of the restaurant separated from the table next to us by a small wall. So, I put my drink menu up to block the other people out of my site. Now, I do this a lot because I really find it quite stupid that restaurants nowadays seem to think I want to watch the people around me eat. I don't. So I put up the drink menu, which other people have done around the restaurant as well.

Then it begins.

2 small girls, very towheaded, both under the age of 4. Any other time I would have found them quite cute. Not this night. Not at all.

The parents were sitting on the outside of the booth, not paying ANY ATTENTION AT ALL to their 2 small girls that were now climbing the wall to try and look at The Boyfriend and I. Then they began giggling, knocking menu's over on to us, staring, giggling, and generally just being really annoying. All this time, the parents didn't look over once at them. Not once. Never to check on them, even though they were standing on the seat and trying their darndest to touch us and stare at us, they parents couldn’t be bothered to check on their little darlings just once.

This continues on. I start shaking with anger. The Boyfriend and I can't have any kind of conversation, because we keep getting interrupted. I am shaking because I am gearing up to go and politely ask the parents to keep their children away from us, but I just know this will end in an argument, so I frantically try to find our waiter to ask him if we can be moved right away.

Now here's the kicker. As these parents are not giving a crap what their daughters are doing to the people around them, another table, which consists of a couple and their infant, flag our waiter down and politely ask if their order can be switched for take-out because their infant is getting fussy. I was so overwhelmed with two small germ-factories trying to touch me I hadn't even noticed the infant (who, by the way was the quietest cranky infant I have ever seen). It was just too much for me. Here are one set of parents trying to be so polite to the people around them, and of course we get sat next to the parents that think it's their god-given right to inflict their precious children on the people who were unfortunate enough to be seated around them.

I wanted so badly to go and ask these people to pay attention to their daughters, but really, all I wanted was to have dinner with my boyfriend that wasn't interrupted. I don't think that's too much to ask. Especially in a restaurant.

This type of thing just kills me. I adore kids. I think they are fun and I like watching people interact with their children. But I just can't handle this attitude that is prevailing of people thinking I should have to deal with their children misbehaving just because I made the mistake of eating in the same restaurant they did.

Children are not something that happens to you, in most cases. In any case, they are something YOU have to deal with. I COMPLETELY understand the restaurants that have adult-seating only or child-free hours. I don't care if parents find this offensive. I should have the right to a dinner that doesn't include trying to ignore the children hanging over the wall staring at me.

I'm not asking that people be punished that choose to have kids. I am asking that parents stop acting like I should be honored I was given the gift of being in the presence of their holy terrors for even a second. I am asking that people be aware that if their children are not behaving, it affects the people around them. I am way more accepting of a parent who is completely aware that their misbehaving child is annoying to the people around them and tries to do something about it. I do not have any patience for parents who pay no attention to their children whatsoever and can't understand how this may be annoying to a couple who are just trying to enjoy a dinner out.

Especially people who haven't eaten out in a month and are celebrating by eating carbs. And yes, I see the stupidity in celebrating my weight loss with fattening food, but man, it tasted good.

On a final note - Why do we treat smokers that choose to smoke like pariahs for making this choice and not parents who choose to have children that they can't be bothered to actually raise? Or teach manners?

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