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Bloviating Zeppelin: Rudeness vs Tolerance

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rudeness vs Tolerance

So there I was.

I had decided this past Sunday to take my wife to a restaurant which advertised extraordinary ribs. It was 35 miles away and not known for its rock-bottom prices. In fact, the tab for two appetizers, one adult beverage, one iced tea, two entrees and one dessert was $94.78.

All during dinner there was a small child in the next room which would shriek at regular intervals at the top of her lungs. Not just yell; oh no. I mean shriek: the kind of ear-piercing shriek that would be typified by old Memorex ads where the speakers blow ties, lamps and martinis back. The kind of shriek that cracks glass. The kind of shriek that cannot be reproduced by human beings at any other age. She wasn't being hurt; she wasn't being repressed. She just wasn't getting her way.

The kind of shriek that, at my age, literally lances my eardrums and causes me to cover my ears and become nauseous. The kind of shriek that ruins my dinner and that of all of those around me.

After an amazingly-tolerant half hour of this, I dropped my fork, stood up, and ventured into the adjacent room. There I witnessed one young well dressed white male, one well dressed white female, and one small 1.5-year-old female child in a high chair.

Most of the tables in this room were unoccupied. Three were occupied.

I strode up to their table and announced in my best "outside voice":

"I'm sure you're wonderful parents. But I am not paying a massive tab to hear your kid scream and disturb me and everyone else in this restaurant. I think it's time to take your kid outside."

I did what every other male in that restaurant wanted to do, lorded over by their females. I was the only one with sufficient balls to state the obvious. As I turned and left I could feel daggers piercing my back. I didn't give the parents time to respond. The guy made some noise.

A short time later the male took the kid outside, then came back a few minutes after that. They left the restaurant within ten minutes. I applauded slowly and loudly. I received a number of glares and, on the other hand, a number of sly half-smiles from other tables. Mostly from men.

Oddly enough, the tables closest to the damned noise were the quietest.

But let me make this explanation if I might for those of you parents who might possibly be applicable:

My job is not to "socialize" your kid. My job is not to tolerate your kid. My job is not to look the other way or forgive.

Instead, my job is to take my wife to a nice dining experience and to expect an environment where we can enjoy the dollars we contribute to this choking economy.

To the applicable parents: if you want to socialize your kid do it on your own time and at lesser venues. Do it at McDonald's. Do it at Denny's. More importantly: do it at HOME.

Because, at my age, I don't care what people think of me. Rude is rude and ignorant is ignorant. I know it when I see it.

Am I sufficiently blunt? Because I want to be clear.



Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Bravo! Some parents still get it. My daughter in law and son, for one.

Mon Aug 09, 08:11:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

While I understand your angst towards the smaller members of our society, sometimes kids are well behaved and then suddenly decide to begin screaming for no reason. Yes, the parent should have taken her outside for a time out, but that said, they also have a right to eat at a nice place and enjoy good food. Just because they chose to be a parent, does that mean they are sentenced to bad food for 18 years? As a parent, we take our 2 year old to nice restaurants and bring things to keep her occupied. I certainly don't expect other kid-less individuals to help me socialize or give me parenting advice for my child. You could not possibly understand since you have never been a parent. You chose to remain childless and I respect that, but face it, most people have children and toddlers are by nature are noisy, and messy. I have been in a line at the grocery store when my mild mannered child decided to have a full blown tantrum. Screaming at many, many decibles. To accomodate you, I should have left my cart with frozen food and all and taken her outside. It simply isn't possible to control the behavior of a toddler at all times. Thanks for considering a parent's side of the story.

Mon Aug 09, 08:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

Dayum! heheheheheheheheheheh You did what all of us, including parents, have wanted to do at some point.

Mon Aug 09, 10:45:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Beth said...

Where was the management of this establishment that didn't care enough about ALL its patrons to say something to the offenders?

Tue Aug 10, 04:28:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Justin, I don't think you get it. It's not my place to teach your child. Yes. But it is my place to react to my environment. THAT child should have been taught long ago. That is obviously not the first time it's happened. And here's the dealio - at a restaurant where you're not waiting in line with groceries knowing you'll be leaving soon after getting your receipt, this is what would have happened with another generation not quite so focused upon themselves and their kids, considerate of their surroundings -- and this is what would have happened and DID happen to ME: I got my butt yanked out of there, period. And we didn't return. It's called courtesy. And respect for others.


Tue Aug 10, 05:08:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Chris said...

I bet they're the same people who take their 1 1/2yr old kid in a grown ups movie. One of those screaming kids during the good parts kind of people. Bravo BZ!!!!!! Many of my friends (the same people you talk about) are like that. Its embarrassing to be around them. I have a 3 year old girl, and we know better than to take her to a nice place. In our world, we need a louder place to eat like Chili's, TGI Fridays...etc. we are smart about it. Great post buddy. I feel your pain. I giggled when I read the post.

Tue Aug 10, 05:10:00 AM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

BZ --- Kudos, I, and my wife, have done the very same thing, my wife will do it quicker than I will...

I have children, albeit GROWN now, but as youngsters they were VERY well behaved and KNEW the consequences of a tantrum in public OR at home...

Now, I have 4 very well behaved grandsons...

My kids don't play that PC BS either, and as you know, they are cops, married to cops or both...

They have THEIR limits to civility as well, and a peaceful dinner is, and can be, a reality, even with small children, but only if the parents are truly parents and NOT the kids best friend and playmate!

Justin --- A TIME OUT? How about a trip to the car for a spanking? If your kid throws tantrums, it's because YOU allow it...

Tue Aug 10, 06:48:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Toaster 802 said...

As a parent of a 19 mo old boy, on the edge of the terrible twos, I have to say I agree with you. The worst thing that can happen to me and my wife is for mini man to start going off in a restaurant. It is a fact of life with a child of this age, and part of the things in life that go on hold for having one. If the mini starts up, the missus or I remove the little guy outside or to the car, the other person finishes up. Same thing in a store if there is an issue. It does not stop us from doing things, we just TRY TO HAVE SOME OF THE RESPECT FOR OTHERS. Not that we are surrounded by "people" who practice "gimme gimme, mine, and me first in everything they do. But part of being an ADULT is to practice NOT sinking to the lowest common denominator.

Even though I despise the average human, My wife and I try to practice respect, and give it until we are disrespected. Why? Because it is not all about us...

I agree that you cannot control your toddler all the time. But have a plan when they act out, to avoid harassing others and keeping your self respect at the same time.

Tue Aug 10, 07:07:00 AM PDT  
Blogger CJ said...

Justin, if I may, perhaps a young child does not belong at the type of restaurant BZ is talking about? Until a child can be counted on to not dissolve into a screaming fit, there are lesser restaurants that are still nice.

Oh, and BZ, why do you think only the men want to tell a screaming child to shut up?


Tue Aug 10, 08:31:00 AM PDT  
Blogger cwhiatt said...

BZ you have got to add the "Share This" buttons. I soooo would cross post this (with your blessing of course) on FB!!!

Good for you. I'd have done the same rather than sit there and take it.

Tue Aug 10, 09:14:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Greybeard said...

Justin, have you seen the new R. Lee Ermey "Geico" commercial?
It's a hoot!

Tue Aug 10, 03:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bushwack said...

Kudo's brudda BZ...Well done and bravo and hell yeah too!

What's the saddest part of the story? The fact that YOU HAD TO DO IT! It says something about our society. I don't have near as many rings around my trunk as you do or Fred for that matter, but I can remember acting up in my youth and my dad "Addressing" the situation with out anyone having to ask...

This scenario is not common sense, it's common courtesy. I can understand the lack of sense because of our education system. Courtesy is supposed to be taught at home and it's been non-existent for a long time. Never fear though BZ at least MY TWO Kids were taught that lesson.

Tue Aug 10, 03:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I thank you all for the continuing comments, Justin as well, because it all gives insight on our society.

I know parenting is difficult, but my eyes were opened the greatest ever when a new young mother was talking to me at work during lunch. We were talking about potential layoffs coming and she started talking about raising her child, who is almost 2 years old.

She said she couldn't understand parents who let their kids run wild in public, yell in restaurants and theaters and, moreover, why they were even in many of those public places in the first place. She wondered what happened to restraint, courtesy for others and, mostly, discipline for the child.

Until she became a parent.

Then she said she understood completely. She said she and her husband are challenged by her child not just every week or every day, but every hour and sometimes every minute. She said she understood, now, why so many parents allowed their kids to do most anything they wanted. She said, "because it's just so hard."

She said "it's much easier to just say yes and let it happen. You get tired of fighting. Everything becomes a fight. Every time you say 'no' there's a challenge and a fight."

She said she understood, then, why parents just stepped back and, essentially, tuned their kids out.

It's easier.

Which is why, she said, she comes to work every day with red eyes from lack of sleep. She made a pact with her husband that their child would not be one of the children they keep seeing in public. Their child would behave and there would be consequences for actions. She said she and her husband either enforced those rules from birth or they would lose the ability to parent and steer their child appropriately.

She opened my eyes that day.

Kids do NOT have to be as ill behaved as they are. At very young ages, it's NOT the fault of the child; it's the fault of the parents.

cj: I wondered about that as well. Actually my wife wanted to go too but I thought that was a bad idea. However, the men around me seemed to approve with the exception of that male parent. Is it the Venus vs Mars thing? I simply do not know. Your thoughts?


Tue Aug 10, 04:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

Bravo! Good for you!
I did the EXACT same thing at the premier of Al Pacino's "Scarface" in Ft. Myers, FL.

The parents KEPT their bawling fussing kid in the theater and people were starting to mumble. So I went to the manager and he said he's do something, he didn't.

My hot little Cuban date asked me not to say anything, but she couldn't enjoy the movie either.
So after three or four more minutes of these as-hole parents letting this kid make one hell of a racket I went right to the guy and said, "if you don't take that kid outside I'm going to, Get it pal?" In as menacing a tone as I could muster. He didn't want any part of me, so he and the bitc, excuse me "misses", took the tricycle motor and left. Two or three people shouted ya!

I enjoyed the movie after that, but my date went rather cold...If you ever saw her you'd know how much I missed out on. No doubt she's made some poor sob commit suicide in the ensuing years. LOL!

Tue Aug 10, 04:47:00 PM PDT  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

Hey Justin, when i was a little kid and my public behavior embarrassed or infuriated my mother, she'd undo the leather belt that she wore around the midsection of her skirt or dress---AND WEAR MY ASS OUT IN FRONT OF GOD AND COUNTRY!!!

It was the right thing to do. I've spanked my little girl in the Winn Dixie, the Publix, and the pool where we used to live. She's grown into an amazing 17 year old young lady.

My ex and I have left restaurants and movie theaters and other public venues when our kids were growing up. Usually they were just overtired, but we ACTUALLY thought of other people.

Tue Aug 10, 04:54:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Old NFO said...

It is sad that you had to do that BZ, obiously the parents were clueless... When my two were growing up, if they acted out, out they went. Period. In fact, neither one went to a 'nice' restaurant until they were three years old or so...

Tue Aug 10, 05:24:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

NFO: you bring up an excellent point -- "good" restaurants were not exposed to me until I was at least 8 years old.


Tue Aug 10, 05:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Primarily because my parents couldn't afford them, until my father took me to the Officer's Club at Wright-Patterson AFB.


Tue Aug 10, 05:45:00 PM PDT  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Excellent work, BZ! I totally agree that the only sad thing is YOU had to take up the responsibility the parents' abdicated. You put up with it about twice as long as I would have & 4 times longer than my wife would have!
One of my earliest memories is when I was about 5, & we had company over for supper I think. I had the brilliant thought that it would be funny to throw my entire plate full of food on the floor, which I quickly did, without warning! In about half the time it takes to get a good breath, my Dad, quietly & firmly, also without warning, scooped me up, took me into another room, & POW! Lightning struck my tender derriere! No, it wasn't fun, but it was just what I needed. I've never forgotten it, & I have loved & respected my Dad for it, & many other things, all these years since. Kids really WANT discipline & boundaries, though they would rarely admit it, because they want us to care enough about them. Oh my, I've gone on too long! Good job, BZ!

Tue Aug 10, 09:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Well done, BZ!

Parents with children that young shouldn't be taking the children out to posh restaurants, anyway. I recall that my parents wouldn't take me out to a restaurant until I was over four years of age. "No fun with a finicky child," my father used to say.

Out-of-control children on an airliner is an even worse situation for me. We're all trapped in that flying cylinder, and there's no escape from misbehaving children!

Wed Aug 11, 05:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Dave Barry's take on this from some years ago goes something like this: the logic of bringing an infant or toddler to a 5-star restaurant is the same one that thinks it is a good idea to bring a Moose to the Opera.

I've had similar happen at a couple of establishments, and the best handled was a restaurant in Napa Valley where they asked the parents if they would love a meal on the house in the unused lounge that had a lovely fireplace... most other times parents do understand and remove themselves with child in tow for a period of time and then come back with better behaved child. At lesser places I don't mind, but at formal dining establishments where one wishes to concentrate on the food and my bar tab is hitting three digits, I would prefer that other patrons recognize my cost for an enjoyable evening as well as theirs... for they certainly aren't enjoying it, either.

Fri Aug 13, 09:15:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Good for you - catching up on posts here - Too many don't even TRY to be the parent. They will sit there & let little Johnie or Susie run rampant, or scream their heads off, without even trying to hush them up. Our first, we'd go to restaurants when she was sleeping in the carrier.. when she woke up, she'd scream, and we were out of there. Same with the 2nd. When they were older, they'd misbehave.. Oh yeah? Lets step out to the vehicle or head to the bathroom, or into the changing rooms for some adjustment, and then there would be good behavior. Found out there are some good switches sold at Walmart in the craft department - dowels. And less than a dollar :) I've gotten to the point you came to...where are these people's minds? If you're going out to a nice restaurant, gee.. hire a sitter! Or else, wait until they are old enough to know better.

As far as time out, I'd go "let's take a time out from where we are located now, time to walk outside & get a good dose of old-fashioned discipline, and time to walk back inside". Sometimes it needs to be repeated a few times in a row to get the idea through, but it does get into that little dense noggin. And think.. your kid isn't impressed with the wine list, the menu choices, the ambiance, the final bill, they'd be happier at McD's with some chicken nuggets, or at Chuck E. Cheese's (where they can scream all they want).

Kids aren't little adults, you basically can't dress them up & take them somewhere nice until they get to be almost 10. And if you have been letting them run riot, not even then. Heh.. I got told by someone at church that the reason another's child (a 5 year old) doesn't like it when I do children's church, is that "I am mean". Yep. I make him sit there, pay attention and keep on them to behave, sit up, pay attention, stop playing with your chair, your hair, putting fingers up your nose, you get the drift.

Actually you getting up & saying that, is something more should do. Maybe next time instead of throwing mental daggers and grumbling to hub, will do what you did. After all, what can they do? get mad? Not any madder than i can get :P

Sun Aug 15, 09:10:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Diane: yes, absolutely. Parents need to be parents and not friends. The word NO needs to be in their immediate lexicon and used frequently. Boundaries, borders, limitations and discipline are set.

A parent's job is not just to produce a "good kid," but a GOOD CITIZEN as well -- wherein the entire planet does not revolve solely around THEM and they are prepared to discover that not everyone loves them, will cater to them and they cannot have what they wish when they wish. Life WILL have its share of defeats and challenges.


Mon Aug 16, 10:47:00 AM PDT  

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