Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to Suck the Very Joy Out of Someone

Anton and I go to Chick-Fil-A at least once a week. Doug was out of town tonight so off we went for a special dinner. Chick-Fil-A does such a fantastic job of marketing to children. Their employees feel more like wait staff than they do your typical fast food disgruntled workers. They end every transaction with a "my pleasure" and always smile, and always, ALWAYS make a fuss over Anton, who, in his cuter than cute hats, always smiles back. He waves and smacks his lips with a yummy sound whenever we pass one on the road. It's just a fun place to be.

But tonight was different. The place was filled with laughing kids, howling babies and busy parents. It was typical. Fun music playing and a very nice guy walked my tray to our table and helped me seat Anton in his highchair. It got a little quieter and an older couple came in to sit a few tables away from us.

Anton was finishing up his meal and I started singing to him. Softly and sweetly. Honestly, I'd never sung to him in a restaurant before, but it just felt right. It was a very sweet moment. I was full of joy.

Then the older man walks over to me and says, "I can hear your singing and was wondering if you could just give it a rest and stop."

"Excuse me?"

"It's very sweet, but we can hear you and would rather not. So please stop."

I was stunned. "I think that's the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me."

"It may well be but it's inappropriate here."

"I'm just singing to my son!"

"Well, I could start singing to my wife...."

"Oh by all means, do!"

"....but that would be inappropriate for both of us."

and he walked away.


I didn't feel much like singing anymore. So we quietly packed up and left.
I wanted to park my minivan right in front of the window where he and his sour wife were sitting and shine my brights right at them. Turn my hazards on and wait for them to leave. I was so mad.

If Doug had been there, he would have beat the living shit out of this guy and I wish he had. But then again, if he were there, I doubt the guy would have had the guts to approach me in the first place.

So I got in the car and on the way home started crying. WHY am I crying like a baby!? I called Doug and told him about it and he was really sweet. Said that this man was full of shame and shamed me instead of himself.

The Chick-Fil-A environment fosters the kind of kid-friendly environment for families and friends to be together. They do it better and anyone else. Honestly - I'm surprised this couple walked in. Who knows, maybe they had just had a fight or he found out he's got cancer or his own mother was a monster to live with.

It was just stunning. I'm just glad I had enough guts to call him on the emotional toxicity of his request. How can you in the same breath tell someone what they're doing is "very sweet" and then ask them to stop?

WHY didn't I have the smarts to snap a picture of him with my trusty iPhone and plaster his sour image all over the web?!!!


Anonymous said...

It's sad that some people - in an effort to compensate for the misery that they have let their lives become - choose to aggressively promote their unhappiness to others.

Man, this fuck would have gotten the colossal beat-down if I had been there.

Miserable shit.

Peace out,

The Baby Daddy, Doug

Anonymous said...

oh be still my beating heart honey I love you!!

Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer in the karmic payback system. Rest assured, not only did that guy get the little piece of chicken on his sandwich, but he is being forced to live his entire life without knowing the blissful joy of Musky Jasmin.
That should fix 'em.
He's lucky you weren't doing a little interpretive dancing.