Author: Kevin Six
Neighborhood: Kearny Mesa/Mission Valley
Okay, people, say what you want about other people’s children. Sometimes they’re noisy, often they’re misbehaved, and sometimes it’s even the parent’s fault. But unless the child is being abused, you have no right to speak harshly to them or their parents.
This happened to me on Friday. Twice. One was an adult who yelled at children in Borders and another was a woman yelling at a mother at Stu Segal’s Studio Diner. Both adults were in the wrong. One of them got a serious dressing-down by me, and the other deserved one but my girlfriend practically sat on me in the restaurant to keep me in my seat.
First, the A-hole in Borders:
There were two moms with children eating and having drinks in the café next to the magazine section in the Mission Valley Borders. These kids were actually really cute. They were rambunctious, a little loud, and wandering away from their mothers, but in no way were they disturbing anyone — including me, who had to dodge one of them on the way back from getting cream.
Out of the blue, this man stands up and says to the children, loudly and with frustration: “Okay, that’s enough, you need to settle down, now!” Then he got up and went to the counter.
I asked the women if this man was related to them or the children, and when they said “No,” I was on my way to confront this A-hole who had shut down two little girls for laughing and talking about a birthday they were going to attend.
Understand, I wanted to speak calmly, forcefully, and respectfully to this guy, but it came out wrong. So much so that I may have said a few words loudly enough for the children to hear. Words such as, “You A-hole” and “bust you in the chops.”
If I had it to do over again, I’d have told the guy that children have the right to have fun, even in a café, and people who don’t like children should not go to cafés at 10:30 a.m. Most importantly, no one has the right to take away a child’s happiness.
That was breakfast. At dinner, there was a child screaming in Studio Diner. The exchange lasted about two minutes. In this case, the mother was the A-hole, but it was one of the other diners I wanted to throttle. The mother said, “Alright, that’s enough, we’re going,” and didn’t respond after the child tearfully and heart-breakingly apologized seven times, each apology louder than the first.
Then a purple-faced, irate woman tromped over to the table where the woman, her mother, and two children were getting ready to leave and yelled, “Your children are ridiculous! This is ridiculous! I teach preschool for 23 children, and none of them act this bad.” She said a few more things, but I was too busy trying not to bolt out of my seat to hear it.
Then the mother followed the purple-faced, irate woman back to her table, where the irate woman sat with the parents — who, ostensibly, taught Irate that it is okay to behave like this in public — and the mother said, “My children are not ridiculous. They are two and three, and we’re having a bad day. You know nothing about my life and what I’m going through.”
Then all hell broke loose. The purple-faced irate woman and her parents all shouted at the same time. A couple of elderly, sour-faced women also took up the cause of children being loud in restaurants.
I was dying to stand in the center of this, and with my trained voice rising above all the idiots in the room, shout, “Attention, intolerant people! If you don’t like children making noise in restaurants, do not go to a diner at 7 p.m.” But just as I was having this thought, Jennie decided to come sit by me.
A woman who teaches preschool talks like that to the mother of two toddlers? In front of those kids and their grandmother? I was dying to find out the name of the preschool and the teacher who, if she spoke with one percent of the animosity to any of the parents there, would be fired from that school.
And the parents of the purple-faced, loud, irate woman yelling in support of their horrible daughter…?
People! Children are loud. The kid screamed and apologized. It took all of two minutes! Get over it!
Mother of that child: accept your child’s apology, and speak soothingly to him.
Irate woman with purple face: you are lucky that I did not type a letter to your supervisor and every parent of the preschool that made the mistake of hiring you.
Irate woman’s parents: really? You deserve the daughter you have and all the hell that follows.
Cranky old ladies: if I were the manager, I would have picked up the check, comped your meal, and asked you to leave and never return. Same with the irate woman and her parents.
Guy in the coffee shop: had you physically hurt those children — instead of emotionally, as you did — it would have been my distinct pleasure to punch you. Four or five times. You are lucky that I was whisked out of Borders.
Everyone else in the world: children make noise. Children are allowed to have fun and be loud about it. People who yell at their children are bad, but people who yell at other people’s children are worse. And people who yell at parents in front of children are the worst of all. Let’s all just let the children be loud for the time it takes the parents to get them out of the way.
Oh, and if you are someone doing horrible things to children in front of me (and Jennie’s not around), please note that I am left-handed, and that’s most likely where the slap that you so richly deserve will come from.