Maggiore’s a “family-friendly” bar where yeah, there are usually a few kids on the restaurant side or in the video/pool area, but they are also usually very well behaved. One time, I completely cringed when an entire little league team came in, but was well behaved the whole time they were there. They were so good, I complimented their coaches/dads on my way out the door. Monday night was a different story…and different kids.
7:30pm. On a school night. During Monday Night Football.
The kids in the video/pool area (next to our reservation, but again, not usually a problem) were piercing loud. There where a 2-3 of us there at first and we were shouting to hear each other. Their parUNts wanted them to leave the table and go play, but didn’t give them quarters play pool or video games. They got so loud that I sat up and recorded a video of the little urchins; it’s not a good video and far from their worst behavior, so I won’t post it. When they started ripping the holes out of the table (that is on the video), throwing the cue ball into the video games, and throwing cue sticks on the concrete floor, I got up and went to tell our server. She made sure a manager heard the conversation. He said, “ok. I’ll tell my dad.” I thought they’d handle it, but I knew they were busy.
Parent is a Verb
Bad parUNts are a part of the world that I hate. …and these parUNts were so far removed from their children’s behavior, they could have been anywhere in the restaurant. I wasn’t going to go table to table asking who had the ill-behaved crotch fruit in the game area.
On the way back to the table, I reached for and asked one kid for the ball. He politely said yes and promptly dropped it. He clearly knew he was getting away with bad behavior. I took it and sat back down. For ~20 minutes, it was bliss. We all thought the manager had come addressed their behavior with their parents.Knittiers 1. parUNts 0.
Confrontations from Entitlement Mom and Bully Dad
Before management could do anything, it got ugly.
Mom approaches our table asking if we took the ball. While it was much longer it went a little something like this:
Entitlement Mom: Did you take the ball from the pool table?
Crocheting Cat Lover: Yes, they were throwing it into the video games.
EM: They were rolling it.
Me: …and throwing it, and screaming so loud we had to yell to hear each other, and throwing the cues on the floor. I have a video; do you want to see it?
EM: Do you have kids? I can tell you don’t. Well, I’m a it’s a lot easter to tell someone how to be a parent when you aren’t.
Me: Then I wish you would; Parent is a verb.
EM: “Parenting is ha-ard” (or some similar whine).
Me: Kids who act like that are the reason I don’t want kids.
EM: I’m a teacher and…
Me: I’m the daughter of two teachers and they taught me respectful behavior in public.
EM: [repeated requests for the ball; repeated declines...eventhough it was laying on the table right in front of her.]
[somewhere in the middle of all this, another member of our group arrived]
EM: So you think just taking the ball from the kid without telling them why is ok?
Me: It worked quite well; they’ve been good since I took it.
EM: So your not gonna…?
Me: I’ll give the ball back to a manager, but I’m not giving it to you.
EM: Some b.s. about kids are our future, as if to imply that a) hers will be leaders, and b) all kids deserve respect from all adults
She then accused me of being a cat person, said she was sure I lived alone, and told us to “go back to our knitting”.
It was funny to watch her try to be insulting and fail so miserably. Not one of us (there that night) has kids. All of us have pets. Half of us are married. Um, telling me to “go back to knitting” when that’s what I came here to do??…well, crochet, anyway. It’s the lamest attempt at an insult. It’s like wishing I couldn’t have kids. Bingo! bitch.
We collectively weep for our future as one knitter says, “I would not want my kids in her class.” Moms like this woman and kids like hers are the biggest reason I don’t want kids.
Our server comes back and one of gals tells her that there is only one working toilet. We learn the sad reason: you have to hold the handle down and kids won’t do it. So, “our future” can’t properly flush a toilet or try again if everything didn’t go down the first time. If this is the case, they sure as hell can’t run our world.
Dad strolls up. He seemed genuine when he apologized for his boys behavior and politely asks if I took the ball from them. I said that I did because they were throwing it and thanked him for apologizing for their behavior.
Bully Dad: My wife is really upset.
Me: She’s not the only one.
BD: No, she’s really upset and angry.
Me: She’s not the only one.
[BD: Asked if the manager came to our table.]
Me: No. [Why would he come to us? they aren't our kids!]
BD: Well then. [huh? Do you hear the words you say or do they just fall out of your head?]
He starts a big argument where if you don’t share his opinion or if he doesn’t “agree with” the facts then you’re just wrong. I hope he’s not registered to vote, the moron. Somehow he hones in our tallest member. When he dragged her in, she snapped her fingers at him.
BD: You can suck what I wave in your face. [paraphrasing, here]
She stood up shoving the table in my direction. We were on a stage, so when she stood up, she was a full 2 feet taller than him (maybe more).
By this time, three servers and half the dining area are watching the very long argument. BD has been joined by his friend and–get this–the boys. They are watching and learning from him! “The Future” my ass.
She repeatedly told him we were concerned they were going to hurt someone. All I remember him screaming was “nine-year old boy” and how he didn’t want her parenting his child. (Again: Then, would you please parent your child? After all, “it takes a village” to raise your idiot fuck trophy.) And then his friend chimed in that they all play baseball together and know how to throw a ball and wouldn’t hurt each other. What?
Anyway, it wasn’t even her, it was me. I’m the one who took the ball…but he honed in on her like a yellow jacket. I’m grateful for her and feel guilty that she felt the need to step in.
None of us know what to do. Just as we were about to pull one friend out from between them, our tall friend tells him she’s getting a manager becasue she doesn’t know how we can help him. He yammers on about how he doesn’t help. (Um, then go sit back down and leave us alone.) I don’t know if she found a manager, but she came back to the table and said she was going home. None of us blamed her.
We hear another man’s voice, but can’t make it out. Then we hear Bully Dad say, “Well, then there needs to be a sign that says 7-8-9 year olds can’t play pool.” We gather that the manager told him the boys can’t be destructive. Also, they weren’t playing. Give them some quarters if you want them to try to play the game. I bet they will.
What the bully dad doesn’t know: she’s a peace officer. Between that and the size and height she had on him, she’d have laid him out flat and pinned his arms back before he could even think about a second punch.
As she’s leaving, she text me from the parking lot that the families are leaving.Knitters 2. parUNts 0.
This is the part of the world I like.
Server: I’m so sorry.
Me: Thanks. We just didn’t know what to do.
A little later in the evening, we hear the sounds of parents and kids: putting quarters to the table. Dad broke the balls (either that or Mom’s on the pro 8-ball circuit!). They taught them the difference between stripes and solids. They taught them the geometry needed to bank a shot. They taught them the rules and played a nice and enjoyable-for-us-and-I’m-sure-them-too game of pool.
Closer to our usual closing out time, we had one more conversation.
Manager/owner: I’m very sorry for what happened tonight. I want to apologize on behalf of Maggiore’s and also thank you for taking the ball from those kids. We normally have our servers take it away in the evenings for that very reason, but we just got so busy. Thank you, again, for taking it from them.
Me: It’s Monday Night Football and y’all are slammed. Thank you for addressing it when you could.
M/o: Please come back. We’ll see y’all next week.
We won’t be back next week; we have other plans. But, then, we are down to making a choice after many months of searching for our new knitting home. Last night’s group still wanted to give Maggiore’s another chance. If the managers/owner agree that Parent is a Verb, we just might make it our new home.