There’s a tiny little cafe in our town where the prices are decades behind the times and the portions are huge and the food is yummy. The service is old school and top notch. It’s a tiny little place around the corner from the music store where they still peddle ancient things like CDs. The cafe doesn’t offer wifi and they don’t take plastic. It’s cash only. There are only eight booths. It also happens to be the kitchen side of a local bar. Going there is like traveling back in time.
Except for one thing. The iDevices. This evil spawn has infected even our little cafe. Dammit.
Recently we saw an elderly couple come in and sit on the same side of a booth and wait. Soon they were joined by their daughter and granddaughter, both of whom had their noses buried in their iDevices. I’m not even sure they said hi. Finally all together it was time to order.
What happened next was the damnedest thing.
The meal progressed with the parents sitting there quietly. There was no interaction, not even with each other. Mother and daughter never looked up. The meal was consumed in silence. Then, once complete, the parents took care of the bill and everyone split.
What the fuck was the point of that, I wondered. I’d like to say it made me intensely sad and broke my heart. I’d say that but we all know I’m incapable of such things.
This episode went down a few weeks ago. It’s the kind of thing that sticks with you.
And then there was today.
Remember when Luke Skywalker said, “It could be worse.” Well, just like Han Solo, I’m here to tell you, “It’s worse.”
Fuck sadness. For reals. This time I’m fucking pissed off!
It went a little something like this. And, for the record, there will be absolutely no hyperbole or exaggeration per SOP. This is just the facts. I reserve the right to enliven them with my own special charm, however.
My wife and I were having breakfast this morning. Suddenly someone burst into song. “I’m the king of the swingers, oh, the jungle VIP.” We looked just in time see this snake slither in and take a seat with her two beautiful little girls.
The woman’s face was breathtaking, but not in a good way. She looked like a 25-year-old version of the woman in the American Gothic painting, but not near as attractive. She was tweaker-skinny and rockin’ a baby bump the likes of which would send Inside Edition into a frenzy. The third kidlet was clearly on the way. There was no man in sight.
The family silently settled in their seats. And we noticed right away she had the tunnel vision for her electronic device. I quickly checked the kids, assuming they’d be sporting them, too, but they were sans electronics. It was the one shocker of the day.
We didn’t pay much attention at first. But then we gradually became aware of a few things. We had no choice. The cafe is small and we were about four feet away. We had a bird’s eye view of this mother hen and her chicks.
Observation #1: Mother never took her eyes off her device. Evar. E-V-A-R. If her eyes were lasers and she visited the super collider no doubt she’d be able to split neutrinos by sheer force of will.
Observation #2: Mom did open her mouth-breathing face hole every once in a while. It was to hiss at the girls to shut up. Sit still. Quit kicking my foot! I mean it. One more time and you’re going to wait in the car. If the girls talked to her, she hissed. If they spoke to each other, she hissed. If they wiggled in their seat she hissed. If they swung their leg a milimeter in any direction she hissed. You get the drift. It was a veritable hissy fit.
Not one kind word was spoken. Not one moment of kindness was shared. It was a bad scene. There wasn’t a single moment of tenderness or parental affection.
Mind you, unlike mother dear, the girls had no electronic device in their faces. In fact, they had nothing to occupy their attention in any way, shape or form. Apparently their sole function in life was to sit like statues, not speak, and not be interested in the slightest thing. The way she treated them was vile and contemptible. Hurrah, though. The next one would be popping out soon.
Now that we knew the score, I took a closer look at Mother Dearest. She was just about the sternest thing I’d ever seen. Her reptile eyes remained fixed and unblinking on her sole purpose in life. Her skin was tautly pulled over her skull and was a cross between pale white leather and meth addict complexion. Her mouth hung open like a surprised cow as she was unaware of anything other than her little electronic world.
I don’t often feel for children, but this was definitely one of those times. Some whacko nutjobs say that kids choose their parents. If that was true these girls and their sibling-to-be were in over their heads.
My wife, ever the subtle one, began dropping snarky comments, and she wasn’t making much effort to keep her voice down. It’s almost like she wanted an incident. As for myself, I was busily following my own true nature. That meant cupping my hands near my mouth, leaning over to my wife, and adding my own editorial comments. Things like, “She looks like one of those gold miners just crawled down from the hills.”
The situation was truly mind-numbingly paradoxical. If you hate kids so much, why have three of them? What the hell are you up to? I have this theory that goes like this:
- All humans are flawed.
- All parents are human.
- Thus, all human parents are flawed.
- Therefore, all children are damaged.
- Damaged children that become parents will pass on what they have been taught.
It’s the circle of strife, Simba! And I was basking in the glow of one Pro of Creation.
I thought about unleashing some social justice on this waste of flesh as we fled the restaurant. I revealed to my wife The Plan. I was going to stop, lean close to the woman, and whisper: “I’m so looking forward to meeting you in Hell in 15.27 years. See ya then!” [wink]
At the end of the day, though, I’m just a big softie. (That’s slang for another more offensive word.) And I walked out with my mouth shut, my head held low, my self-loathing intact.
Wow, what a delicious meal!