We went out the other night for a bite to eat. We were seated in a booth by the window. We ordered our drinks. We were looking at the menus when we heard it. . . a mom, dad, and two little boys about four and five years of age.
They were seated several booths away. Mom and dad had their noses buried in their phones, texting. The kids were jumping up and down in the booth. One or the other parent would holler at the boys to quit, never taking their eyes off of their phones. This went on for the whole time that we were there. The boys never quit and the parents never noticed.
These "parents," when their food arrived, never sat their phones down. The kids were still jumping around and being loud and messing in the food. Every now and then, the mom or dad would shovel some food into their mouths, and holler at the kids again, never setting the phones down. I saw at least one couple seated near them get up and ask to be seated some place else.
The two little boys threw food at each other and onto the floor. They boys had somehow managed to eat some of their meals, though with the biggest part of it on their faces and in their hair. The "parents" were still texting on their phones. The dad got up and went into the men's room, still texting. He stayed for more than 20 minutes. The mom keep on with her phone also, and kept hollering at the kids to set down and eat.
When the dad came out of the bathroom, he went right on by his wife and kids, and out the door to the parking lot, with the phone stuck to his ear and talking a mile a minute. I noticed that when he left he had a chunk of lettuce on the back of his shirt and a little hand print of ketchup above the lettuce. His wife and two kids sat there, mom still texting, for at least another 20 minutes or so.
You could tell that others around us were a bit miffed about the whole thing. I'm sure that a lot of them did not really enjoy their meals. The waitress was not given a tip when the family left. The booth that they sat at looked like a bomb had gone off. There was food everywhere -- on the floor, under the booth, on the booth, on the table, on the edges of the table -- everywhere.
We finished up our meal, left a tip, paid our bill, and left. I feel sorry for the waitress and the busser who have to clean up after these people. We wondered what that family's home looks like.
I know that I was not the best behaved kid around. But we were never allowed to act like that when we went out. Our parents laid down the law. They paid attention to us, there were no distractions back then, like phones now.
It would be nice to be able to go out for a meal and not have to put up with stuff like this. Maybe a place that has a soundproof room for families with kids who can't or won't behave. Or rules about not texting while eating! (Hint, hint for one of my friends.) Maybe earplugs should be handed out with each meal. Or restaurants can change their hours of operation. Like, adults only from 7pm till 11pm. Families with kids could go from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Or, just close down all of the restaurants and make it mandatory that everyone eats at home. Obummer could use his phone and pen and make it law in his favorite way -- executive action. And the Mrs. could tell us what nutritious foods we should eat. Just think how much money we could all save if we didn't go out to eat. And I bet our hearing would be better also.
I know my waistline could use a little less in the meantime.