So you want to swim upstream and spawn. Good for you. What business is that of mine? None, I’ll admit, unless the government decides to subsidize your reproduction of yourself with credits and tax rates and/or you ever try to bring them around me.
It turns out there’s something more trendy than microbrew, fedoras, bicycling, beards, tattoos and North Face jackets. What could it possibly be?
Oh, yeah. It’s bringing your wee young ones to restaurants or, inconceivably allowed, bars and pubs. What could possibly go wrong?
The other night my wife and I were at a BBQ trendspot in PDX. As always, any place that is half-way edible means that there will be a 45-minute wait. That’s life in the big city. But that also means we had time to be treated to the floor show.
Two women were standing around holding their drinks while three small children accompanying them ran hog wild. (It was a BBQ place, after all.) They ordered another round. Every once in a while they’d yap something at the kids which was promptly ignored, had no effect, and they returned to nursing their drinks.
Meanwhile, I wondered what it would take for a restaurant to actually ask them to leave. Maybe if they set off a small nuclear device? Maybe, I figured, but probably not.
We were seated and, of course, we were only two tables away. We watched them order two more rounds of daiquiris. Apparently they and the restaurant were teaming up for Set A Good Example night. I couldn’t help but wonder how they were all going to get home.
Earlier we went to a place on the Columbia River for happy hour but the lounge was full. We opted to sit on the deck. No doubt it was a beautiful view. On the other hand, we had to order from the dinner menu, there were no happy hour prices, and, through the lounge windows, we saw lots of wee small children. Some were sticking their tongues out at us.
What the fuck.
I’m pretty sure that studies have shown that children learn from what they see. If mom and dad smoke, the odds go up that they will smoke, too. Children are likely to adopt their parent’s religious beliefs. Humans, in many ways, are very much monkey see, monkey do.
Then you got the sort that take their kids into bars. “Norm! What’s happening?”
“See, honey? This is single malt. Can you say single malt? It’s different than bourbon. Then, of course, you got your Kentucky whiskey. I put some in your baby bottle. Give it a try. Isn’t this more fun than Facebook and Twitter? Even so, I’ll show you those later.”
I guess a lot of parents need bars really bad and don’t mind if the little ones are getting trained in the process. This is known as education. I can understand the parental urge to imbibe. But isn’t that what liquor stores are for? Bottles of booze are like little doggie bags of bars for the home.There seems to be a growing trend that sees more and more parents bringing their kids into bars. A controversy is brewing. It’s breeders vs. non-breeders. Don’t they already have Chuck E. Cheese? Didn’t untamed brats absolutely ruin my trip to the zoo? Grocery stores? R-rated movies? What more do they want? Why do they have to come after our bars, too? Just how many jets can you water ski behind?Last year I remember a big brouhaha when a child was distributing his meal to the floor and the parents did nothing. The proprietor asked the family to leave and the highly offended parents went on Facebook and had a tizzy. Then the whole thing went viral. How dare they not like it when our child turns the visit into a negative cashflow proposition? Foolish restaurant for actually trying to make money.The laws governing the serving of alcohol are perplexing and insane. I’ve been in bars and people are there with the children, apparently because the place also serves food. Whatever happened to “no minors” signs? Those seemed pretty damn logical to me. Did the whole system go lax because the people who serve alcohol were seeing dollar signs?Search the phrase “no kids allowed” and you’ll find a hint of the controversy out there. A restaurant enacts a policy like this and people go ape shit. I thought we all had rights and things like the free market was supposed to decide. If there’s a clientele that wants a kid-free experience then the place will get customers. If not, they’ll have to rethink their policy or go out of business.If they offered a “Kid-Free” checkbox on Yelp I would gladly embrace it. I very much think kids-free restaurants and bars can and should become a thing.I thought about this and more last night as a gigantor family jammed in behind our little table for two at the pub. Their food arrived and they admonished the little girl to “don’t do that or you’ll spill the drinks.” Of course, the child did do that (impatiently grabbed her food) and the drink were spilled. Mayhem ensued. Then we got to hear angry parents before our ears were treated to screaming tears. Such a good time.Dinner. It’s not what’s for dinner any more. I need a drink.