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Thursday, February 23, 2012

More on those restaurant brats

Recently, I wrote a brief post about a request by Grant Central Pizza that parents restrain their misbehaving or bawling children in the dining room. The post provoked a lot of discussion. Thinking it over, it occurred to me that I have a similar complaint:

I don’t drink alcohol, but a lot of people do.

That’s fine with me, but I’m sick of sitting down at a restaurant table for a leisurely meal and then hearing some asshole at a nearby table start speaking louder and louder as the booze courses through his veins and causes his already subnormal IQ to drop below simian level. I’m not talking about drunks. I’m talking about chemically-extroverted people who won’t shut up. Let’s call these jerks “the kids,” because they act like kids.

In addition to laughing explosively and cracking stupid jokes, the kids are often given to running back and forth to the restrooms, causing delays for others. Recently, without so much as eye contact, one invaded my table to give me his card. I’ve seen these kids often be rude to servers, refusing to eat what they ordered, sending it back to the kitchen for no reason other than to impress companions with their supposedly fine discernment. They text while eating, talk on the phone and have the table manners of chimpanzees.

You see more and more of such behavior with this recent trend toward so-called mixology. Since many restaurants can’t make any money on the food, they try to get these grown-up kids through the door with unhealthy specials like cocktails that cost — surprise! — $14 because the bartender (I mean mixologist) spritzes a whiff of pheromones from free-range donkeys into the glass. To impress one another, the kids order ever weirder mixes. The talking escalates. People at the same table start to shout to be heard. Oh. And can you stop with the PDAs? The rest of us cringe. Just shut up and order iced tea or go somewhere and get a pizza like any other thoughtful human being who wants to make noise!

I should be able to dine at a nice restaurant without having to cope with these geriatric brats. What happened to ordinary restraint and manners? It’s not like the rest of us can go to decent restaurants where loudmouths are banned.

Why do restaurants wait until these kids are slurring and stumbling and falling face-down in their enchiladas before asking them to leave? Because they need the money and don’t want to offend the repeat kiddy customers? What about the other customers who don’t even receive complimentary ear plugs at the door?

And why do these kids’ companions not take them outside and tell them to shut the hell up? I’ll tell you why. It’s because they’re all part of the same generation of narcissists who think they deserve to be treated special. I blame their parents who should have taught them the virtue of sobriety, to drink with restraint when they must, to respect the ears and space of others — to stop acting their age in public or just stay home and make their own $14 cocktails. It’s certainly not up to the rest of us to stay home!

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