I'm sitting at Starbucks, reading Colin's column this week, when I felt my foot yanked away from the base of the chair it had been resting on. I looked up from the article to see a toddler proudly carrying the chair to a table and sitting down to drink some sort of confection with her family. Immediately I was irritated at these people's lack of consideration. Who the hell brings toddlers to Starbucks on a Sunday morning when most patrons are sitting around drinking coffee and reading newspapers?
Nevertheless I sit back down and begin reading. The Courant had some interesting stuff this week, so I was rapt until the toddler walked up to me and decided to chat like we were at a single's bar in SOHO.
"Why are you alone?"
"Well, I'm waiting for this doctor friend of mine."
"Are you sick?"
"He's not that kind of doctor."
"Can I have that cookie?"
"Well, I sort of need it because I've been worried about my weight. I weighed in kind of dangerously yesterday and if I lose anymore weight, I could be in trouble. So lately I've been trying to gorge myself, but it hasn't been working. I'm not much of an eater, more of a coffee drinker and exerciser. I know this is kind of one of those weird American problems, but all throughout my life...hey, where are you going?"
My doctor friend walked in, winked at me and purchased a coffee. I continued reading my articles and my friend sat down and started talking. We talked about lots of stuff, mostly relating to boring adult things like poetry. I espoused how I was kind of upset that people were generally ignoring the academic things on my blog in favor of more personal and funny things (posts about this weekend will come soon) and he told me not to fret. Perhaps people are only commenting on the easier stuff to relate to. The girl toddler was busily playing hopscotch with the eclectic tiles on the floor. The boy was knocking over plastic mugs like he was bowling. I sighed deeply in an effort to get the parents? Attention, but no such luck. My friend snorted and we began discussing how nothing is sacred anymore.
About that time a girl on roller skates came in with her family. I nearly lost it. I felt like screaming "I just want to sit around, quietly read the newspaper and talk to my friend. Don't you people have other places to be, like family style restaurants!" But I kept my mouth shut and quietly brooded. The toddler began chasing another child around the coffee shop.
People need to learn that there are certain places for certain things. Starbucks is for relaxing and drinking a cup of coffee and maybe having the occasionally deep conversation. It is not for family time. There are lots of places to bring your family on a Sunday morning. Plus, what about the atmosphere of Starbucks says it is appropriate for young children? Sure Starbucks may make a frapuccino, which is kind of like a milkshake, but it is an adult milkshake. Do the chess boards or card tables suggest fun for kids? How about the classical music playing lightly over the speakers?
I know it's not the kid's faults. Kids will always be kids and have a massive amount of stored energy that will need to spring free. It's parents' responsibility to keep children in environments where they can express their energy in a more rewarding manner. Nothing about Starbucks is fun for a kid.