IRONY ALERT: this rant may not be suitable for children under the age of 12.
This short rant is inspired by a Culturemap piece that Joel Luks wrote this week. (I’m sorry Joel, for cashing in on your own article, but I just gotta get this off my chest.) You can read Joel’s piece here, I’ll refrain from regurgitating it verbatim. The gist, however, is that a local community orchestra is prohibiting children under the age of 7 from attending concerts. Let me write that again, but this time with suggestive typeface: a community orchestra is prohibiting children under the age of 7 from attending concerts. So much for the community, huh?
Now, we’ve all been more than a little annoyed with children at movie theaters, restaurants, libraries, and everywhere else on the planet. I refuse to enter any fast food establishment that has a play place, as I know that the sound of screaming children and the sight of them running around the dining area makes me want to run through a plate-glass window. I have a two year old daughter. Hell, sometimes the sound of her screaming and the sight of her running around our dining area makes me want to run through a plate glass window. McDonald’s allows for unruly children. A play place wouldn’t have been erected and a clown wouldn’t have been adopted as their spokesperson otherwise. Most parents seem to have the good sense to take their children to places best suited for young kids, but occasionally parents decide to go elsewhere for breakfast/lunch/dinner/4thmeal. In my opinion, this is necessary for kids to learn several important things: food shouldn’t always come with toys, food should sometimes be healthy, and that restaurants and gymnastics go together like cookies and sandcastles. It is important for parents to include their children in things other than “child/kid-friendly” environments because that is how they learn to adapt to the world around them. Very few things in my adult life include jungle-gyms and sing-alongs, and children need to learn that this is, more often than not, the general rule.
Lately, it has come to my attention several times that more establishments are looking to generate a kid-free environment. I get that bars, strip clubs, rated-r movies, and casinos should be kid-free, but why a restaurant or a concert hall? What is it exactly that some adults want to be doing in a concert hall that a child’s presence would prohibit them from doing? Do these people want to light up a joint, yell strings of expletives, and dance naked of tables? Do that at home buddy, I’m here with my wife and I just want to eat without you bothering me! All kidding aside, I know that these people want to enjoy their music or meal in peace, but do they really think that adults are any better to be around? What about the adults that never quite learned how to act like adults around other adults in adult situations? I’m constantly annoyed by loud adult talkers at restaurants, adults ignoring smoking ordinances, adults with loud and smelly candy during emotive quiet moments at the symphony, and adults that never learned personal space. Don’t get me started about adults who own cars and drive (talk about asshole central!). Adults make me angry because we supposedly have the ability to think through situations rationally and control our own behavior, but many make a conscious decision to ignore that ability. Children have an excuse. The nice little old lady who unwraps her delicious mint DURING the performance is just inconsiderate (Here’s a thought, put the HALLS cough drop in your mouth before the downbeat. I can hear your candy. WE CAN ALL HEAR YOUR CANDY! The maestro can hear it and thinks you should leave, but is a gentleman and puts up with it to save face).
If you want to enjoy your meal or music without being distracted by others, then do yourself a favor and learn to cook and buy a bitchin’ stereo. When you choose to enter into the public and be surrounded by others, then you forfeit various amounts of conveniences. Deal with it. I can’t ban your tacky shirt, don’t ban my child.