Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What are you complaining about, drunky?

I usually avoid going out on weekends and Monday holidays like Britney Spears avoids underpants*, but I decided to go to a playground in Noe Valley on President's Day. First of all, I really wanted to meet some out-of-town friends for a rare playdate and, second, I figured everyone would be busy celebrating at their local Toyota dealer, as is tradition in this country. I must have misjudged the economic repercussions of the whole gas-pedal-of-death thing because the playground was quite full. It wasn't so full that the girls couldn't have a good time, but it was full of people who don't normally go the playground.

At first, I was kind of glad to be surrounded by non-regulars because Snappy has developed quite the little rep as "The Kid Who Thinks Other People's Babies are Her Personal Baby Dolls and Will Not Hesitate to Undress and Redress Them" (I'll take this opportunity to apologize to the nannies and moms and dads of babies that my child has hurt/violated), but then Something Happened. The other moms and I were standing around, chatting about stuff that moms usually talk about like...I don't know...pop tarts and hot water bottles? Anyways, we were all chatting like we were on the Group W bench, when we heard a loud, aggro, slightly hung-over male voice say:

"Will the mom of the little boy banging on that pole please tell him to stop!"

It was at that point that we noticed that a little boy was banging on a pole...it wasn't like it wasn't loud, it was just that it melted into the noises that one expects (or should expect) at a busy playground on Gas Pedal of Death day. I looked from the little boy to the source of the complaint, a middle-aged man playing tennis (TENNIS!) on the adjacent court. I stared at him, befuddled beyond belief. It defied logic. Here was this guy, making a rhythmic, loud sound in a public place, complaining about someone else making a rhythmic, loud sound. Thankfully, one of the moms immediately told this guy that 1. he was crazy and 2. he could forget about it and 3. he was also really, really crazy. And then of course the mom of the little boy told him to stop because moms don't like it when their kids bother people, even stupid people who don't see that there is no difference between Thwap Thwap Thumpty Thwap and Bang Bang Bang.

I never really recovered from my shock and befuddlement to ask that tennis playing dude where the hell he got off--which is too bad because I'm still wondering--, but I it did make me think about all of the many other jerks who really have no business complaining:

  • Anyone who has ever walked drunkenly down a residential street at 3 am, loudly talking and/or complaining about "That One Ho at the Bar" should never, ever be allowed to complain about the crying baby at the restaurant/mall/wine bar. Sorry, but you did the crime, now do the time.
  • Anyone who has ever gotten on an airplane and then put their seat back so that they are, essentially, sitting in the lap of the person behind them and then leaving it like that for the duration of the flight is not allowed to complain about the kid kicking the back of their seat. Really? You don't like my daughter's Dora sneakers hitting your lower back? Well I don't like your dandruff falling onto my pretzels...so deal with it.
  • Anyone who has ever asked a women to show her tits at Mardis Gras in Nola, or at a motorcycle weekend or in a restaurant/mall/wine bar (or has ordered anything from the cretins over at Girls Gone Wild) has no business complaining about public breastfeeding. This is non-negotiable.
  • Anyone who has ever, during a night of drinking** and/or sushi bingeing, left bodily fluids (or good forbid solids) on a public sidewalk has no business complaining about parents who change diapers in public. Okay, yeah, I'm sure it's gross but so is stepping in chunks on your way to the bus stop in the morning.

I'm sure there's more...please leave them in the comments.

*For those of you expecting a balloon drop, this was actually only the 99th joke this blog has made about the fact that Britney Spears occasionally goes out sans poonani shield, but thanks for playing.

**Yes, I know there are two of these based on drunks, but, just like babies are just like little stoners (look at this pretty thing! No, don't eat it, just look at it!), little kids are like drunks...and we have to put up with them because, come on, we've all been there.


Karen said...

Anyone who has ever gotten into a public fistfight has lost their right to complain about my kid lying on her back on the playground crying.

AlAves said...

Anyone who has ever been a child has no right to complain about kids acting like kids. Nothing annoys me more than people expecting kids to act like adults. I wish that mom on the playground had given her son a tire iron to bang the flagpole with (and then maybe the tennis player too).

Eileen said...

I really do agree with 99% of this. As someone who does not recline my seat back all the way, I do think that parents should stop their kids from kicking the back of airplane seats. That said, I can probably count on one hand how many times a kid has repeatedly kicked the back of my seat while flying. I'm not a parent, but it seems to me that allowing that kind of behaviour when they are old enough to know better will escalate as they get older.

An example - The mom at Target who talked on her cell phone while her kids actually opened bottles of hair conditioner and squirted em on the floor in front of her. She finally got off the phone only after I called a Target employee over for clean up - and after the third bottle of conditioner.

RocketGirl said...

Anyone who has ever yelled at a cashier or server has lost the right to shoot dirty looks at the kid who's throwing a tantrum in Aisle 3.

Also, I'd adjust the baby-in-a-bar thing to anyone who has ever acted like a 21-year-old in a bar.

RocketGirl said...

When I get irritated with the public toddler-and-under set I generally try to ask two questions: Is what they're doing really bad behavior? Is what they'e doing allowable so it prevents them from doing something worse?

Like with the first question, the kid banging on something at a playground: annoying, but obviously not bad behavior. Crying in a grocery store: annoying, and possibly bad behavior, but not always controllable. Dumping conditioner into the aisle: BAD BEHAVIOR.

As far as the second question: Kicking the back of the seat is both annoying and might be bad behavior if the child's old enough to be told no and listen. But the compensation factor might be worth it.

On my 12-hour flight to Auckland, we ended up sitting behind a family who, as we passed them in the airport, I remarked, "Pity the fools who sit near THAT kid." (Bloody murder does not adequately describe this toddler's shrieking. Gory evisceration would work better.) We got on the plane, and he was still crying. And the kid was sitting RIGHT in front of me, and, of course, thumped his seat all the way back, leaving me to wonder why the hell a toddler needs so much leg room.

But then he stopped crying, and I realized I was perfectly OK with less leg room if it meant less noise on the plane. By the same token, if the child can't sit still on a plane (and at 3 I don't think there's much you can do about the sitting-still thing if the child is a Tigger), would I prefer screaming or a little seat-kicking?

Past school-age, the old-enough-to-know-better starts kicking in, but at that point, you can share the annoyance between the parent AND the kid. A parent can be a great disciplinarian 99.9% of the time, but that kid still has her own mind, and if she fancies a tantrum in the checkout line, not much will stop her.

babypusher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babypusher said...

Good points, all. But just to remind everybody. This blog (which is mostly tongue and cheek) stated that there are SOME people who have lost the right to complain about a kid's (or parent's) behavior because of their own child-like shenanigans, not the NO-ONE is allowed to complain. (Now that that's been explained, maybe Eileen agrees 100 %? :), huh?)

Except I agree with Al, if kids can't act like kids on a playground...where can they act like kids?

Eileen said...

Whoops! Didn't know I was being controversial. I don't even have a kid and I read your blog because I love your writing!

People do have the right to recline their seat - airline seats are ridiculously small and expensive - but I think most people are reasonable and stop short of putting their head in the lap of the person behind them.(Shave and a haircut. Two bits.)

The obnoxious businessman who talks loudly and non-stop in his bluetooth from the moment he gets to the airport til the third time he's told to hang up because we're about to take off deserves every toddler kick he gets and maybe a few passive aggressive grown up ones too. I hate that guy.

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