Dinner With Schmucks.

Last night the three of us headed to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in town. We were seated next to two gentleman who I'm guessing were in their sixties. As we sat down I caught a glimpse of one of the gentleman's faces - he looked less than pleased. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that we had a baby... in a restaurant.

Our Stella is a good eater. She likes to eat (she ate 3 helpings of meatloaf and watermelon at school yesterday! I think she must be stealing other kids' lunches) and will eat just about anything. And as long as she has food in front of her you won't hear a peep out of her. She finds it rude when you eat in front of her and will tell you so. Manners, people! So we come prepared. I brought food, she ate some of our food and nary a peep left her mouth. You would never even have known she was there. I'd say she was pretty close to the perfect dining companion. (However, as Mike said, the floor may have disagreed. Messes, she can make them!)

So the men finish their meal and get up to leave and the one who glared at us stops at our table and says, "You've got a lovely little girl there." I say, "Thank you!" He says, "She's very well behaved." ...

Now, I cynically translate this comment as, "Dude, when you guys sat down I was pissed. I didn't want to hear your kid scream while I ate my dinner. You really shouldn't bring kids to this type of restaurant because you ruin dinners and you ruin lives. I've been sitting over there this whole time waiting for her to start yelling and then I was going to complain to the manager and have you removed. But imagine my surprise when she hardly made a sound. And now that I've finished my steak in peace, I need to apologize to you and your kid because I was a judgmental asshat. I really should stop being a crotchedy older guy and get over myself because I have kids too (he told me so) and I'm sure I wanted to take them to a nice restaurant without fear of jerkfaces like myself. And now I've become one. Shame on me. So, uh, your kid is lovely. Have a nice evening."

I'm sure I'm not too off here. Or am I? Was he just being nice? Am I projecting because I'm afraid of having a screaming baby in public? Or is this a thing? Do people hate to eat next to children? I'm definitely a big eye roller and sigher if I'm sitting near a kid on a long flight, but I don't think I've ever been angry to sit by a kid while I ate? And believe me, I'm pretty sensitive to annoying sounds. It's a cursed gift.

So is this just my spidey oversensitivity? You can tell me.


Traci said...

You're not "off" with your assessment at all.

We took our girls to Zia's a few years ago when Olivia was 3 and Emma was just a wee baby (about 7 months old) and we actually had a woman glare at us when we came in (perhaps she is the wife of the grumpy old man in your story).

The girls were quiet and well behaved and this woman said as she was leaving "I was very upset when you sat down behind us with those two kids because this isn't a place for kids! But I have to say they were so quiet I didn't even notice them."

Just confirms my belief that people are stupid.

Sassytimes said...

First of all, I love your use of asshat. Awesome.

I don't think you were being oversensitive at all. People ALWAYS give the 'eye roll' when they see a kid coming. Especially at restaurants. Imagine bring TWO 'babies' in. Oh boy, the looks we get. But, if your kids are well behaved, it's good for EVERYONE to take them out. Good for the parents to get a night out, good for the kids to experience the real world and social situations and good for the asshats to get a slap in the face. ;)

Sarah said...

Somehow I missed this post...

But, I'm sure your feelings were right. People do get all nervous and anxious when they see babies in nicer restaurants and planes.

joss has flown twice, and I was scared to death to take her, for many reasons, but one was a fear of upsetting others.

After we got back from our most recent trip to Phoenix, after Joss had MADE PAPA JACK'S WEEK, and we said goodbye forever, I realized that she had just as much right as anyone to make that trip. She had just as much right to be on a plane so that she could visit her great-grandpa for the last time ever.

People who can't see it that way are losers. And I'll not feel bad about her being anywhere with me again!