Monday, August 16, 2010

Culinarus Interruptus

I'm considering taking an air horn to restaurants.  Not that I would ever use it -- that would be rude.  Yet, for some reason, other kinds of nonsensical, high-volume utterances are perfectly OK.  Why is it alright for others to ruin my meal with babbling noisemakers, but if I ruin theirs in return, I will be thrown out?  It doesn't seem fair.  Life's not fair.  Fuck you, I like restaurants.

What I'm thinking is this:  I'll just put the air horn on the table, on display, hoping the mere threat will urge people to take their screaming rugrats outside.  Maybe enough people will think I'm crazy enough to use the thing . . .

But why, you may wonder, am I so irate on this point?   I'm not just paying for food, but also paying for the space in which I enjoy it.  I don't go to "family restaurants," precisely because of the daycare center vibe, but somehow most every eatery has become "family friendly." 

But why, you ask, the air horn?  Most restaurant staff don't pay attention unless a child is screaming bloody murder, chronically -- all the intermittent gurgling and babbling stupidity at full blast is just fine.  It's a numbers game:  the family of four has a bigger tab than I, and, I'm assuming, there are just too many patrons with kids. So, censure is left to us, the bothered, who are paying the same price as to inconsiderate.  I've glared and coughed, even muttered in the general direction of annoying tots and their parents.  Sometimes it helps.  If not, you can only escalate to direct confrontation, but even that doesn't always work, and by that point your meal is pretty much shot anyway.

Thus, air horn.

You might wonder, don't you have any real problems?  Why, yes I do, which is one reason I would like some quiet time to enjoy a nice meal.  And I mean enjoy it, not simply let the food glide past my mouth en route to my gullet.  And besides, why should I be expected to put up with other people's children in areas which really aren't meant for them?  Why do so many seem to think themselves so important that everyone must partake of their offspring's full-volume inanity?  I realize some people are just numb or clueless, but their actions ruin the restaurant experience no less than the willfully self-centered.  And adult children who bully their kids into submission are even less appetizing.

If I were a lone curmudgeon, I would yield to a culture that seems to prefer senseless noise over taking the time (and effort) to appreciate.  But I don't think I'm in a minority -- I note the annoyance of other diners, in restaurants and online.  However, I do seem to be among the very few bothered enough say something.  And that makes me an asshole. 

But I think an asshole is someone who won't remove a distracting child from a public dining area devoted to a certain aesthetic.  I pick restaurants with food worth savoring, and one cannot savor in a monkey cage.  Plus, it's no good for you.

I considered approaching restaurant staff with an offer to pay for my food, but not to listen to the loudly babbling.  Of course I would be laughed at, at best, and as there are so few good restaurants in my area, I don't want to get myself banned.  The air horn seems the only rational option left . . .


  1. One word, my friend: vuvuzela.

  2. I've always said that if I open a restaurant, it'll have a non-smoking section, a non-baby section, and a non-seafood section.

  3. James: LOL. Excellent thinking.

    Jill: Great idea, though I don't think the non-baby section is fair to the parents with kids who don't act up, and in any case there would need to be serious separation to keep the caterwauling out of earshot.

    Is smoking still allowed in restaurants in your neck of the woods? I would think for a non-smoking section to work, the smoking section would have to be in a separate, sealed room, and/or have a system that sucks all the smoke out.

    Thanks for mentioning seafood creep. I forgot about that particular meal killer.