Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm Stuck in the Child Zone, Send Help!

I read this article not too long ago. For the time-challenged, the author basically states that people with children have overrun almost every spot in America. And he's not too keen on the prospect of his vacation time shattered by the screams of kids beating each other with their pool noodles.

I can't even say that he is one of those child-less child haters, of which there are more than a few. They call anyone with children "breeders" and automatically assume every child is a three foot version of Satan. This author has a grown daughter, so he has to be somewhat familiar with the way young children just don't have a convenient volume control dial. No matter how much we wish they did.

It's odd, because even as a parent of a young child, I can sympathize with the author's attempt to find relaxation, only to find every inch of available space taken up by inconsiderate, loud children and their families.

Who among us parents hasn't gone on a "date night," wishing only for the sound of conversation and clinking wine glasses, only to find a toddler or two a few tables down. Invariably, with the toddler comes screeching and hurling of crackers on the floor and all the other fine restaurant behaviors toddlers are known for. Even my own Mr. P, when a toddler, was prone to creating huge messes and squawking at inopportune times. Of course, we would hustle him out when he refused to listen, but for some couples looking for romance, the damage may already have been done.

It seems that there are no "adult" places anymore, unless perhaps you count strip clubs and dance clubs. Although I'm betting at some point, Britney Spears has tried to bend the rules on that one once or twice. Other than that, even bars are not exempt from parents with children in tow. As long as the kids don't order a vodka tonic, the bar owners tend to look the other way. They must figure that if the parents are that desperate for time out of the house and/or alcohol, they are going to run up quite the tab.

Should we set up child-free zones, or even better, separate but equal facilities? Do people have a right to want to have a relaxing time without having to keep one eye on the door, ready to bolt at the sight of anyone under 10?

Or are they just plain outnumbered?

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