Speaking as the father of a soon-to-be 1-year-old baby, I am well aware that the sight of my family and me trudging into a restaurant can scare the bejusus out of other patrons. I can sympathize. Long before my seed took root, I, too, trembled when I heard shrieking babies in restaurants, movie theaters or trash receptacles. Post-baby, however, I have become a bit more understanding of frazzled parents and the little challenges they endure trying to enjoy once-simple pleasures such as a dinner out.
A few weeks ago (I'm apparently still
traumatized by the incident), Mrs. Chase and I took lil' Apple Rosebud to one of those ridiculous themed restaurants -- Joe's Crab Shack
, in this case -- for a late lunch. We went around 3 p.m., intent on missing the lunch crowd that would surely not care for a baby currently experimenting with the concept of dumping things on the floor.
Everything was going according to plan. The place was nearly empty.
We ordered and -- as we suspected would happen -- the kid started to get a little cranky and restless once she realized that the Rice Crispies we'd spread on the tabletop had limited entertainment value.
Then a party of five came in, and inexplicably, in a large and largely desolate restaurant, the waitress seated them at the table closest
to us. As Apple Rosebud had no intention of letting their presence keep her from exercising her relatively new vocal chords, the onus fell on the wife and me to ask for another table.
And this has happened before. Is it sheer stupidity? The desire of wait staff to tweak their customers a bit? Do waiters and waitresses know that babies make noises?