Monthly Archives: July 2011

Child-Free Restaurants

Edit: I had to go though and fix spelling errors and explain some things a bit. I’m not the best writer in the world, but apparently my grasp on the English language goes out the window when I’m in rant mode. 

I was going to stop posting here about being childfree for bit so that I could focus on other things. I was going to write more about hiking on this blog, as well as write a few posts for my pro-choice blog, The Golden Coat Hanger. That’s what I was going to do. But now I just have to rant about something.

Last night, after purchasing some nice furniture thrift shop for the town-home we move in to next week, my BF and I decided to celebrate by going to dinner. Well, first we went to the dollar store to pick up some pencils. I never saw the damned thing little darling snowflake, but there was some toddler in the store that would just not stop screaming. It was this ear-raping shriek, the kind that instantly replaced any other thoughts you might have been having at the time with the word “FUCK!” This went on the entire time we were in the store. It just kept screaming and there was no escape from it.

I’m not one of those people that just can not stand kids in general (although I certainly understand where such people are coming from) and I don’t mind having well behaved kids in my general vicinity, or even interacting with them. Anyone whose been following this blog knows that I’ve volunteered at special events for kids before, and have even quite enjoyed it. One of my favorite people is a mother, and her child is a delight and I try to bring something for him whenever I visit. But no matter what age someone is, I have very little patience for unacceptable behavior. Screaming, running, and climbing on things when not at a playground, but in a store or restaurant is not acceptable for anyone and kids are not an exception. Yes, kids will be kids. It’s not the kids who do this that I direct my anger at, it’s the parents who allow it and don’t do anything about it like remove the child if it’s too young to be controlled or otherwise can not be reasoned with. Normally, I see such displays of ineffectual parenting very rarely, but that day… well, let’s just say that if there was any chance of me regretting my recent tubal ligation and ever considering reversal, IVF, or adoption,  it was throughout dead by the end of the evening. Things went from irritating at the store, to downright unbearable when we actually went to eat.

By the time we made it to the restaurant, we were already sick of screaming kids. Sadly, it got worse. We didn’t know this at the time, else we would have never picked the place, but it was “kids eat free day” (read: “hell”)  so the place was PACKED! We had to wait 20 minutes just to be seated. The waiting area was full and filthy. At this restaurant, there were free peanuts, and since not everyone is civilized, the floor was covered in peanut shells. It looked like animals lived there. It was a mess! I saw some toddler jumping around stopping on the shells with an irritating crack each time, crushing the shells into powder. I watched her dad, waiting to see if he’d do anything about it. She looked up at him, he looked down at her, and then he threw a handful of peanut shells on the ground for her to stomp. Nice, asshole. That bit of parenting fail was only a small taste of what was in store for us.

Finally, we got called to be seated, but to get there we had to get past a huge crowd. For some reason, there was a man making balloon animals, something I’ve never seen since I started going to that place. It wouldn’t have been so bad if people understood the words “excuse me.” Well, maybe they just couldn’t hear me. It was loud. I do not exaggerate, my boyfriend and I had to shout across the table just to hear each other. Most of the tables contained children, and they were all screaming. Constantly. The entire time. Why? I have no idea! I felt like I was at fucking Chuck-E-Cheese, not a nice (although admittedly less than 5-star) steakhouse.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it just had to be everyone’s birthday. What a coincidence. So now the only thing breaking up the sound of constant screaming was even more irritating clapping and singing. The wait staff was running around trying to serve everyone, because every table was full and the place was mad busy, but of course the entire staff or the restaurant has time to go around singing to everyone. I wonder how many people actually had birthdays and how many were just lying so they could get free desert and attention on top of free meals.

By the time we got our food, we just wanted to leave. If there was ever a doubt in my mind about living childfree, today cured it. It was a horrible experience at what is normally a decent place. I felt like I was at fucking Chuck-E-Cheese. There was no sense asking for a table to be quiet, or ask the management to keep order, since the entire place was a total zoo. Being kids eat free day, that’s to be expected, I suppose. Although the parents clearly couldn’t be bothered to actually, you know, parent, one might say that it was even partially my own fault for being in a place that pandered to kids. Truthfully though, since there are so few places that don’t, that much is hard for me to avoid. I would have loved to have been able to leave and go somewhere that I knew would not have any young children at all, but alas, no such place exists near me that isn’t a dive bar.

I brought this up, because it’s relevant to a twitter conversation I had last week. To keep myself occupied during a 24-hour CQ shift, I spent most of the day and night using my Blackberry to post on twitter. Everything was fine, until a single-mother started trolling the childfree hashtag, calling childfree people child-haters. When I asked her to explain her accusation, she brought up child-free restaurants.

I can’t think of anyone with working eardrums who has never wished for an eatery with an age requirement while at a Denny’s full of loud, out-of control children running around while their parents did nothing about it, apparently mistaking the restaurant for a day-care. It’s distracting, dangerous, degrades the quality of the establishment, and hurts business.

For this reason, a few restaurant owners have implemented policies such as making customers with screaming kids leave, to outright banning kids under certain ages (usually between six and ten.)

I pointed out that it was business owners, not the childfree people that she was scapegoating, who did this. Not all places are age appropriate for young kids. When asked who got to decide that, I said the restaurant owners, of course. Restaurants are PRIVATE property, and being such, the owners get to make any reasonable restrictions that they like.

The fact that restaurant owners feel a need to ban young kids does not reflect well on parents. If it weren’t for inept parents unable to distinguish which establishments were and weren’t appropriate for kids, and were unable or unwilling to control their kids’ behavior, no restaurant owner would feel the need to resort to this.

From what I’ve seen, restaurants which impose such measures see an increase in business. It’s not just childfree people who appreciate the more peaceful eateries. Even parents like to be away from the disturbances of children for a while. Even the restaurant owners are usually parents themselves. In fact, such places may be called child-free (even if they do allow older kids,) but besides that label, they don’t actually have anything much to do with the decision to be a childfree person (one who does not and never plans to have kids.) Too bad such establishments are so rare that when one makes such rules, it’s considered news-worthy and controversial.

Sadly, if you don’t affirm that children have a special place in society, you’re not validating the privileged position that some parents think they ought to have for having bred. For my failure to adequately revere children and the people who make them as special classes of people, above the rules of social behavior, and for my support of the rights of private business owners, and for wanting one place where I wouldn’t have to deal with a family circus, I was branded a child-hater. I wasn’t aware that liking kids and liking to eat in peace had to be mutually exclusive. Never-mind the fact that I don’t hate kids and that was just a baseless accusation intended to silence me. Before long, an all out twitter-war engulfed the childfree tag. Well, at least it kept me awake through my shift.

At one point, a mother demanded to know how certain restaurants banning young kids benefited kids. She was so child-obsessed that she couldn’t even comprehend that the matter wasn’t about benefiting kids. I could well have argued that kids are benefited by not being dragged to restaurants they’re just too young for by parents who can’t seem to cut the umbilical chord. Kids will be kids and it’s selfish of the parent and unfair to the child put them in a position they don’t have enough control to behave appropriately in. I could have argued that, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that it was unfair to other paying customers.

At one point, one angry sanctimonious mother after jumping into one of my conversations and berating me for my desire to get what I pay for, rage-quit telling me “Julie, instead of acting the angry victim- go elsewhere. Plenty of childfree places to eat.” No, there aren’t. That’s the point. Apparently, she was so sure that she was right that she couldn’t be bothered to remember what she was arguing about. I guess she forgot that her outrage towards me was in response to my statement that I think child-free restaurants should be allowed to exist and not that I was trying to ban kids from Denny’s (because I’m not trying to get kids banned from anywhere.) I would love to have nice place to eat in peace every once in a while, where I don’t have to cringe as infants scream next to me, where I don’t have to wonder what would go down if I dared to “shush” anyone. But sadly, when ever a restaurant makes such rules, despite having no shortage of kid-catering places to go to, the child-worshipers flip the fuck out like the evil childfree minions just blew up a McDonald’s playplace.

Goals

  • I’ve made it my goal to see the Avenger’s movie. I hope it lives up to all the hype. By the way, is anyone excited about the Spider-Man reboot? Yeah, neither am I.
  • I’ve made it my goal to climb each of the Colorado fourteeners. I haven’t set a deadline on this goal. Right now, I have higher priorities than hiking. As long as I do it before I leave Colorado, I’ll be happy.
  • I’ve made it my goal to learn how to train dogs. Whether I go to a special school for it or not, or train dogs professionally is not important. I just want to learn the skill.
  • I’ve made it my goal to someday have a German Shepard. I can’t have one right now, as I’m not in a situation in life right now where I could reasonably take on such a responsibility. But someday, when I have enough money, enough time, and enough yard, I’d love to adopt such a beautiful and intelligent dog.
  • I’ve made it my goal to mind my other blog more than I have been lately. I guess writing on this one is just easier, as it’s mostly a diary and place to express random thoughts that I have. My pro-choice blog requires more work, doing research, verifying facts, fending off trolls, trying not to rage-out.
  • I’ve made it my goal to ride the biggest, baddest, fastest roller coasters in the US. I’ve already ridden a few record holders.
  • I’ve made it my goal to be more organized. When I say that, I mean organizing my time better, and organizing my things better. Organization has never been my strong-suit.
  • I’ve made it my goal to grow something edible. Maybe a seasoning or a small fruit. I just want to grow something, I don’t care what, as long as it’s something useful.
  • I’ve made it my goal to go out to eat and order delivery less, and cook meals at home more. I want to save money and eat healthier. This means I have also made it my goal to learn how to cook. On a related note, I’ve made it my goal to buy a fire extinguisher.
  • I have made it my goal to find a job I can live with. I’m not really set on a career path. I want to be something different all the time. Then again, I’ve always seen employment as a means to fund the life that I want to live, rather than the focus of my life.
  • I’ve made it my goal to try to be nicer to people, even if I think they’re douchebags. I can’t let annoyances ruin my mood.
  • I’ve made it my goal to learn to drive a manual. So far, I’ve stalled the Pathfinder every single time I’ve tried to drive it.
  • I’ve made it my goal to get into outdoor sports. I’ve been snowboarding a few times and mountain biking once and I’ve loved it. I’d like to get my own gear and get good at it. Also, I’d like to try kayaking, but if I did I think I’d feel better if I learned how to swim first.
  • I’ve made it my goal to be more social, and to seek out people with similar interests. I need to spend less time at my computer and more time with people.
  • I’ve made it my goal to be as good to my boyfriend as he is to me. I’ve made it my goal to pay attention to what he wants and what he needs and to support him in his own goals.
  • I’ve made it my goal to never stop learning. Ever. There is always more.
  • I’ve made it my goal to be less wasteful and more environmentally-friendly.
  • I’ve made it my goal to travel. I would love to visit Tokyo some day. It would probably help to learn some Japanese.
  • I’ve made it my goal to attend a freethinkers meetup.
  • Have a nice guest room for company.

What are your goals?

Bingoed: Yes, I DO Know

I hate it when people tell me that I don’t know that I don’t want kids. It’s so stupid, but it happens all the time. Yes, I do know.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I finally got a tubal ligation last week. As a result, I got a week of convalescent leave to recover. Outside the barracks yesterday, I ran into someone from my company and we had a bit of small talk. She asked me how I was enjoying being on leave, and I told her I’ve mostly been in my room as I’m not up to much. She thought I was on normal leave, vacation, when really I was recovering from surgery. She asked me what I had done. I said I had a tubal ligation. Then I had to explain what that was. Then I had to explain what the word “sterile” meant. (Really, US Army?)

“It means I can never have babies.” I finally said.

“Why would you do that?”

“Because I never want kids.”

“You don’t know that!”

“Yes, I certainly do.”


My BF and I recently found a lovely townhome to move into. Yesterday, we met with an agent to sign the lease. The agent was going through the terms of our lease, and brought up children. It’s part of the rules, so that was fair enough. We mostly just sort of tuned it out.

He started to say something like “You guys don’t have kids yet but when you do…” I don’t remember what he said next, because I was looking at the face my BF was making (ever see a smile that’s not actually a smile? That’s the face. BF looked like he was going to bite.) The agent noticed too and quickly said, “or not.” Kids came up a few more times, but got an irritated, disinterested facial reactions from us. The agent started feeling awkward, I guess, since we didn’t appear to be interested in anything to do with kids. “You two are together, right?” He eventually asked, obviously confused.

Kids came up again as he was recapping the basic rules of the lease. My BF finally spoke up and said. “We’re not having kids.” The agent was trying to be professional, but didn’t really know how to respond.

“Ok, so you don’t plan to, but you never know. Accidents do happen. I know one guy who-”

“My medical insurance company paid a lot of money to make sure there will be no accidents.” I interrupted, referring to my recent tubal ligation. He must have felt very awkward as the matter was immediately dropped.

Going Green Fail

I love green bags. You know, those reusable cloth bags that help cut down on the  use of plastic bags? Yeah, those. Love them. I have a few, and I always mean to bring them to the store with me, although I often forget or don’t bring enough. I’m thinking that maybe I should just keep them in my car.

Not everyone understands the purpose of reusable shopping bags. For one thing, they aren’t without drawbacks. Reusable shopping bags may actually require more energy to produce than plastic bags, which means more carbon emissions. It’s my hope that in the future, methods of production will improve to remedy this. Currently, the advantage of using reusable bags to plastic bags is waste and pollution reduction. It’s worth the trade off. Plus, some stores offer discounts for people who use reusable bags, and I love to save money.

It may be because I haven’t been able to do much this week, as I’ve been recovering from surgery, that I’ve remembered this story. Some time back, while on our way up into the mountains, my BF and I stopped at a gas station to fuel up and collect snacks. As I neared the counter, I noticed green bags for sale at the counter. Having forgotten mine, I purchased one and made it the first thing I handed over to the gentleman at the counter.

I paid for my goods and was out the door. I took five steps towards the Pathfinder, looked down, and laughed. I had a plastic bag in my hand. The cashier put all of my items, including my (unpackaged!) green bag in the plastic bag. Clearly he hadn’t understood what I was trying to do here.

Lessons Learned: Lol, I guess that will show me to use clear communications rather than just assuming that other people will automatically know what I mean to do.

Looking Forward (MOVED!)

Woops! This blog post has moved. You can find it at its new home HERE.

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