Well, well. well! It’s been a while my dear Momzilla folk, but not nearly long enough. There I was in Infertility Rehab doing my best to mind my own bid’ness and then you come back to taunt me, and not just once but TWICE in one weekend … a weekend dedicated to celebrating my anniversary with my guy in the California wine country.
Just when I thought you were becoming nothing but a distant nightmare, more of a gnat that I’d have to swat away from time to time, you decide it’s time to introduce me to Gramzilla.
Imagine this scene: It’s 6:45 pm. You enter a fine dining wine country restaurant. A large fire roars to your right. To your left is a dining area where among other tables there’s a party of eight people seated — three of whom are under the age of five. You make a mental note to seat yourself as far away as possible as you always do when kids are prominent in a restaurant other than the likes of a McDonalds, Bakers Square or Chuck E. Cheese.
Just to be sure that you have some uninterrupted romantic time you find a cozy table in the bar to enjoy a light meal with your squeeze. (Let me repeat, you are seated in the area of the restaurant where alcoholic beverages are served to people 21 years of age and older). At a small table nearby sits another couple sharing a light meal in the bar. Did I mention we were in a bar?
The romantic ambiance of the place is torpedoed within minutes by the table with the kidlets starting with shrieking and fussing from the youngest, a toddler in a high chair. It’s further aggravated by the todder’s table mates, two little girls in party dresses who start using their outside voices. You are irritated but you say to yourself, “hey, I’m going to do my best to ignore them. They’re over there, I’m over here.”
The waiter brings two glasses of a lovely, local red varietal wine. We peruse the menu and order a risotto dish. The adults in the party of eight are about to finish their meal and the little ones grow more restless. I wonder how much longer the adults are going to torture the kids by keeping them cooped up at the table when clearly at 7:00 pm the toddler and little girls would prefer to be home watching the Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon before bath time. The toddler lets out a world class sneeze and starts coughing his brains out. I’m thankful that we are outside the germ zone.
Our food arrives just as the adults at the table of eight kick back to let their food digest. Eager to nurture their food-induced stupor they release the two girls who — delighted to be free — scamper around the bar in what amounts to tap shoes — unsupervised. CLACK, CLACK, CLACK on the hardwood floor they go running by our table in one direction. CLACK, CLACK, CLACK. They return to to the big table to report on what they’ve found. CLACK, CLACK, CLACK they’re off again this time playing hide and go seek amid the bar sofas. I feel my blood pressure rise. To my left the toddler appears walking with as much coordination as a drunk, holding his bottle of milk. I’m immediately left wondering when he’s going to cough and sneeze again.
A mother or aunt figure realizes after five minutes that he’s disappeared out of sight and goes off in search of the lost boy. The little girls continue frolicking around our table as though they’re on a playground. I see the couple at the other table stiffen. They’re clearly bothered, too.
Then I had my own Norma Rae or Howard Beale moment. I was not going to just gnash my teeth and submit. I was mad as hell and I was not going to take it any more. I calmly pushed back my chair, walked over to one of the errant adults who was coming back by our table with the toddler in tow and said in an even-keel, but firm tone, “Excuse me, but this is NOT Romper Room. This is a bar. It is not appropriate for children to be playing here.”
I slipped back into my seat while the somewhat mystified woman rounded up the three children in the bar and took them back to their table. Not less than five minutes later, a positively indignant Gramzilla marched over to me and got in my face while I cut a piece of asparagus. She was defiantly holding her tired and fussy grandson whose nose desperately needed to be wiped. She was seething and in a voice loud enough for everyone seated at the bar and immediate area to hear hissed at me, “When I called this restaurant I asked if it was okay to bring children. They told me I could. You have … well, you need to think about where YOU are!”
The first thought in my head: I AM IN A BAR. Why is this crazy lady holding a baby (in a bar!) confronting me. Why is she implying that I am out of line?”
I was almost speechless. Almost. Then, her chastising complete, she turned on her heel holding her grandson triumphantly. And that’s when it happened.
Every meal I’ve ever had interrupted by someone’s over-tired, loudly whining child, every romantic evening trashed because parents put their own convenience ahead of the consideration of others, visions of every Momzilla, Dadzilla, Gramzilla who gave their children permission to have the run of non-kid places came bubbling up inside me.
“F@#$ YOU!” I said in the same tone she used on me. And then I raised my hand and flipped off the entire table of inconsiderate adults. Their inability to consider how their children might be affecting others was their way of saying F@#$ you to those of us in the bar. It just seemed the right thing to do.
The adults managed to contain the children in their dining area while we finished our meal.
P.S. I promise I didn’t swear the rest of the weekend and I won’t ever do anything that crass again, but dang it felt good.