So, here I am, in Franklin, Indiana. A small town, where as a young person I was taught the variances of 'right and wrong' behavior.
Today, I witnessed, and humbly admit to participating in, poor behavior. The type of behavior that would have had my backside spanked to a light cherry red color and other forms of punishment.
Here is the story of today's events:
About 11:30 AM I decided I would step out for lunch. A working lunch, I decided. So I went to the local dining hall of a national chain of pizza's, one that has a lunch buffet. I'm thinking it is quiet, here. A week day, not many young people will be here from the high school, because it is closed for a false holiday. And the usual lunch crowd will be smaller, because so many people will be at home with their progeny, because, again I state, the schools were closed in observance of a false holiday.
I'm at a booth, having quietly enjoyed a salad and a soda. I've been entertained by the actions of a small girl, 3 or 4 years old, quiet, but active. When she spoke with her parents, she used a soft voice, barely above a whisper. She was polite, at one point apologizing for bumping into me, at the salad bar. When asking for more 'Sprite' she said 'please' and 'thank you' upon delivery. Shortly, this family left. Having my laptop out, and staring intently at the screen, the 'father' interrupted me and wished to apologize, if his daughter had interrupted my work. A nice, and completely unexpected gesture, especially in this day and age. I let the young man know that she had not interrupted me and I was quite appreciative of how well behaved she was, using 'please' and 'thank you'. I told him we needed more young people like her to set the example for other children. He smiled, beaming, and went to the register to pay his bill. As they were leaving the building the girl stopped, smiled and waved at me. This brightened my day. I started thinking, even though this is Monday, it is going to be a wonderful day.
And there I sat, nibbling on pizza slices, and typing away on a Linux article for a magazine. I was happy and content with my day.
Then hell spawn heathen children arrived. Two young boys, two young girls and two women, apparently the mothers of these children. At first the kids wanted to sit in the booth behind me and were bouncing up and down on the seats, until the mothers took a firmer voice, explaining that not all 6 could sit in the booth. One even stated that the bouncing was disturbing the "nice man trying to work on his computer".
With this, they then moved three smaller tables together, the young boys, in their effort to be 'big boys' and help do the heavy lifting, dumped of the tables over, salt and pepper shakers and well as parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes flying under my table, bouncing around, breaking and just in general making a large mess. The store employee was at my table, in a hurry to clean up the broken glass and other mess. One of the mother's told her boy to settle down, after a 'see what you have done' accusation.
With the mess cleaned up, the tables moved around and the kids seated, the mothers decided it was time to hit the buffet, so they both left the table to get food for the miscreants. And once their back was turned, the kids started getting loud, finger shooting each other and getting into arguments over whose finger was stronger than the others 'force shields'. This went on, and continued to grow in volume, until the mothers returned with plates for the four children. They then went to get their own food, which let the kids replace finger guns with tomato and cucumber pieces. One of the mothers turned in time to see me wiping ranch dressing out of my ear. As she was trying to get the kids under control, the other mother came over to me, I assume to apologize, until she saw the mess on my laptop. I made eye contact with her, very briefly and went back to cleaning myself and my equipment. She moved on, without a word.
I shut equipment down, and packed to leave.
As I was passing their table, I stopped, and very strongly suggested that in the future, they should consider taking their kids to a place such as McDonalds or Burger King. "A place that provides a separate play pen for the kids. The kind of place few people will go to for a sit down meal and a working lunch. An even better place for those children would be to KEEP THEM HOME. Until you can teach them how to behave in public, you have no reason to BE in public. Responsible children are the by-product of responsible adults. Please get yourself sterilized, TODAY, so the world will not have to suffer through your indifference."
Other patrons applauded. The store manager comped my buffet and gave me a gift card to return again. I advised him that he require the 'mothers from hell' to be held accountable for the loss of business and positive customer support and return. When he asked how to do that, I simply gave him the bill from my table, and suggested he require them to pay it.
He grinned, widely. "I like that idea. I like that idea, A LOT!"
And these kids are the future? Imagine who those little monsters will be, when they get old enough to understand that THEIR parents saddled them with the legacy of 'Universal Health Care'. Maybe it IS a form of justice. I need to give that avenue some additional thought.