I was in a PowerPoint frenzy at Starbucks. Outside, the storm was raging, and not unexpectedly, the store began to fill. Now, if you stay any place long enough, you see many people come and go. I think of that stop-action photography in the movies. For hours there was a quiet lull, then when I had finally gotten into the work, a young child, a girl around 5 years old, asked the man working beside me in the long half-booth if she could have his chair. He said sure, and she dragged it across the floor. Then she came to me and asked me if she could have my chair. I said sure, and off she went. It was then I began looking to see who was going to sit in all these chairs. Two families were gathering to have a mini-Christmas get-together at Starbucks. Three kids were decked out in Christmas outfits–two girls with iridescent dresses and gold shoes and a boy with a christmas vest. The adults were also dressed more for a party than a rainy evening at a coffee shop. I thought it was odd. 


As soon as all the adults had their specially brewed beverage, they broke out coloring books for the kids. They were the kind of parents who make a show of making their kids be polite and say “please” to them a lot in the process. They were the kind of parents whose kids don’t bother me nearly as much as they do. The kids spent half an hour tearing all of the paper off all of the crayons and leaving it in a big pile on the floor under the table. Adults still talking, the kids got up and began running back and forth from the table to the pastry case–which amounted to the entire length of the store. Finally, one of the employees yelled–very politely, I thought–PLEASE DON”T RUN! Then, the “can-you-say-thank-you-Sally dad jumped up declaring it was time to go. 


I can tell you not one scrap of paper was picked up and not one chair was put back in its place. On the way out, I overheard one of the mom’s say, “Maybe I”ll see you tomorrow if I get tired of being cooped up in the house with kids.” I read today in the Huffington Post about a family getting kicked off an airplane from NC to Chicago for having too many young children. I bet those people on the plane were glad. I know I was, but I was really aggravated at the crayon paper.


Knowing full well how cantankerous (old) I sound here, I wish there were more kid-restricted places. Restaurants. Coffee shops. Why would you bring your kids and have a get together in a coffee shop where, if you look around you will see people reading, studying, writing (one hopes), or chatting quietly. There are no tvs on the wall. No tapes of Dora the Explorer playing in a loop. No toy boxes. No legos. 


Perhaps the AARP could take this on as a new project. 


More on this later. I had to write it down before I forgot it.
RUW

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