Husband and I got a sitter on Saturday night and decided to go out for a pre-Mother’s Day dinner. So, after going through the regular exchange:
Me: Where should we go?
He: I don’t know. You pick.
How about x?
Nah. Too dark.
How about y?
Tables are too close together.
How about z?
How about you pick?
There’s a storied spot here in Marblehead. It’s both a bar and restaurant but it’s always been known for “wicked stiff drinks”. I hadn’t darkened the door of the place since my bachelorette party (Don’t remind me…is that tequila I taste?) when the food part of the building was really just considered a nice tack-on in case you actually wanted to have something in your stomach and, therefore, a better chance of actually leaving the bar standing upright. But, we’d been hearing a lot of reports lately that they had a new chef and the food was good. So, we decided to check it out and off we went.
We enjoyed some grown-up bar drinks (in pint glasses) at the bar downstairs, chatted with a great bartender, then headed up to the restaurant. Sat at a high-top table, liked the looks of the menu, liked our server, liked the atmosphere. Right up our alley, really.
And then…he arrived.
Jimmy. Or Mickey. Or Sully, perhaps. Something like that, undoubtedly.
Whoever he was, he was the quintessential loudmouth. Sitting with two other guys at the bar but his Boston-accent-laden side of the conversation was the only one anyone heard. And it sounded something like this:
Did you see that f*ckin’ pitch? (pause so someone else could speak…briefly) Oh, yeah, he got f*ckin’ crushed. (pause) No f*ckin’ way that was a f*ckin’ out! That guy needs f*ckin’ glasses. Blah, blah, blah, f*ckin’, blah, blah, blah, f*ckin’, blah.
Grrrr. It certainly didn’t ruin our meal but it was annoying and rude and I wish his knucklehead friends had just told him to pipe down. But, they didn’t. And on he went.
Husband often tells me I have “rabbit ears”. That I basically choose to listen to annoying things that others could simply tune out. For example, I can’t stop myself from listening intently to someone enjoying his gum a little too enthusiastically. Or someone tapping a pen on a desk. Or lightly snoring. Or eating something while on the phone with me (“hey, you want to just call me back when you’re finished?”).
Or dropping the F-bomb loudly and repeatedly at a restaurant. I mean, come on.
Yesterday, I was reading the blog of a woman whose posts I follow regularly. She had gone to dinner with her sister and her sister’s new baby and, after the baby had spent some time fussing, a man seated nearby felt compelled to make a comment to them. And, he wasn’t exactly delicate with his opinions of a crying baby in a restaurant. It escalated. I believe they finished their meal but the night was ruined for them. She was more than a little irritated with the man’s gumption.
But, I had to admit that I sort of sided with the grumpy man in the restaurant. I feel strongly that, when in a public place where a semblance of decorum is expected (like restaurants, retail stores, etc), it’s a parent’s responsibility to be aware and considerate of the people around them. And to not allow your child to disrupt someone else’s evening. Granted, some whining, some crying, some volume — all expected. Kids are kids. Kids are allowed at restaurants and allowed at retail stores. Certainly. Give ’em a chance. But, if it gets to the point where the child is overtaking the atmosphere of the restaurant…it’s time to go. Call it a night. Get ’em out of there. Run, Forrest, Run. Your server and your fellow patrons will thank you for it. I know I would.
I’m sure many will disagree. Like I said, just my opinion.
Anyway, this leads me back to that trash-mouth man in the restaurant Saturday night. Sure, it wasn’t like we were dining at Le Cirque. Of course, he had every right to be there enjoying himself with his buddies. And, frankly, he probably spends a lot more money and certainly a lot more time at that establishment that I do. It’s probably a heck of a lot more “his place” than mine. But you know what I wish?
I wish his mother was there. I wish she was there to hear his language. That she was there to shush him politely a few times. Then, to speak a little more sternly, maybe even firmly grabbing his forearm. Then, that she was there to look him square in the eyes and say “Stop it now. I mean it.”
And then, when he went on and on and on…?
I wish she’d been there to receive my high-five as she dragged him out by his ear.