I am a non-confrontational sort of gal. At times, I think being this way saves me from a lot of arguments. But if John Quinones has taught me anything, it's that sitting idly by when you see something wrong is not always the best thing to do.
I know I shouldn't feel bad about voicing my opinions...especially here on MY blog, But I do believe the hot button issue I'm about to discuss may have some of my friends sitting on different sides of the fence and I want to remind those readers sitting on the other side of the fence from me: I still love you...even when you're wrong! :)
So with the disclaimer out of the way:
Let me tell you about the A-hole that almost ruined our ninth anniversary dinner...
It all starts at The Evolution Grille.
The waitress was friendly. The menu was exciting. The service was prompt. The food tasted great. The Evolution Grille is worth a second, third, twentieth taste. We were very pleased with that part of our dining experience. We chose items that we wouldn't normally prepare for ourselves: Jim had the veal and I had the duck. We had an appetizer and dessert. We have spent more money on less tasty meals. Go there!
But if you prefer to eat your dinner in a place where you can loudly speak about your Winter home in Florida, discuss the people you know who study micro-biology, lament the end of your stay in Pennsylvania, reminisce about every single meal you have eaten in the place, tell your waitress about how great the OTHER waitress you had when you ate here was, and rudely, and again LOUDLY, complain about other patrons who are simply trying to have a lovely meal as well, then please be advised to stay home and annoy your pets, neighbors, and any other living thing with whom you come in contact.
The restaurant is small and I was back to back with the guests behind us. Jim was facing the front of the restaurant and had a good view of everything going on behind me. Honestly, hearing the conversations of guests around me is not a big deal, and at times can be fun! When I go out to eat, I'm not expecting privacy. If I wanted privacy and peace and quiet than I would order food and eat it in the privacy of my home. I expect courtesy and act courteously when I am in a restaurant. I am in the process of teaching my young children how to behave this way in a restaurant as well. That means that I do, on occasion take my young children with me to restaurants.
There was a family that came in the restaurant toward the end of our meal (A grandmother, mom, dad, young son, and a high chair bound daughter) for what seemed like a special occasion (everyone had on their Sunday best). Shortly after being seated the young daughter let out a long shriek. Why? Perhaps she was tired, hungry, not capable of communicating her wishes with words. Whatever the reason, her mom seemed to get things in hand quickly. The episode was over in less than thirty seconds, but apparently not quickly enough for Mr. Winter Home who proceeded to do a 180 in his seat to glare at the family. As he turned back to his partner he loudly commented that HE thought the child needed to get some air (implying that she should be removed from the restaurant) and as his partner gently patted his hand and muttered something quietly (probably about making a scene or something) he loudly insisted that he would be letting his waitress know how irritated he was. He also made the comment that he was SO thrilled that he did not have children of his own. Seriously, dude. Thank you for granting the rest of us that favor!
Maybe it's because I have young kids but my heart went out to the now-quietly-awaiting-their-food-family. The kids were not running around the restaurant, standing on their chairs, stealing food from other patrons plates or misbehaving in any other way. The little girl had a mini meltdown for less than 30 seconds and that was just enough to set this jerk off and give him the right to ostracize this family and make a fuss that was now ruining the good time of other guests (namely Myself and Jim). I could see Jim's blood starting to boil and he was very close to saying something. He didn't, although I think he would have if the man pushed one more time. We paid our check and left, and I made sure to give the family a smile as we walked out. The little girl returned my smile. She was perfectly behaved at the time.
Jim and I talked about the incident all the way to our next destination (an unromantic, but fun for us, trip to Linens and Things. Hahahaha)
I am kind of sick of hearing that young children should be banned from restaurants. During a recent rather one sided discussion I was part of, one person made a comment that restaurants should, if not ban children, then at least create a SECTION for children and relegate families to that section as they used to do for smokers and non-smokers. She could see no difference between this issue and the smoking issue, as cigarette smoke, while annoying, did not personally bother her. HUH? After the fact, I thought of a comeback: Last time I checked second hand smoke is a little more than annoying, it is hazardous to my health, whereas, my children are not going to kill you by merely enjoying a meal next you.
Well, I'm paying good money not to have to put up with misbehaving kids. I get it people. I'm paying for my meal as well as four overpriced helpings of mac and cheese, thank you. And when I am able to go out without my children I'm paying for my meal and childcare for my kids--I am not paying good money to sit next to a self absorbed loud mouth! The problem is really NOT the children, it's the parents who aren't doing everything in their power to teach their kids how to behave in public and it's the idiots who have all the answers and become obnoxious that ruin the restaurant experience for people. I should not be banished to eat every meal at home until my children reach their teens.
Here's a novel concept: JERKS should be banned from restaurants.
In the meantime, kudos to mom, dad, and grandma for teaching your little ones how to behave last night at The Evolution and to Mr. Winter Home, I hope you choked on your Almond Cream Cake. Believe me, the irony of YOUR poor behavior in a restaurant was not lost on me!
Thankfully, the situation didn't escalate but if it had, I hope that we would have made John Quinones proud.