It’s Canada Day, and there is a tiny pirate running around my dining room.
I assure you this is not the result of several ill-advised rounds of Canada Day cheer. A tiny pirate invaded my section of the restaurant where I work as a waitress. Approximately three-feet tall, complete with leggings, a puffy shirt and an eye patch, the miniature buccaneer is reeking unadulterated havoc amid the diners. I say “unadulterated” because the Davy Jones in question (perhaps all of seven) is having her pictures taken by and her mother while she makes my life miserable — and ruins dinner for the other 50 guests in my section.
When the little girl starts brandishing a plastic cutlass at table 71, I decide it’s time to shut this pirate party down.
“Ma’am. I am sorry,” I say, approaching her mother. “I am afraid I am going to have to ask you to control your daughter. She needs to put her shoes on and sit down, please. Other people are trying to eat.”
“Oh well, it’s her birthday.”
If anyone understands the correlation between pirates, Canada Day, a child’s birthday and the complete abandonment of decency, please elaborate.
“Ma’am, I understand that, but she must have shoes.”
Simultaneously, the child places her unclad foot atop a toothpick hiding inconspicuously in the beaten carpet. Before my eyes, she mutates from a tiny pirate into a child-sized nuclear reactor in meltdown, screaming at the top of her lungs, blood oozing from her foot. Her mother rushes to comfort her. I rush for a Band-Aid. I would have rushed for a whisky, but there’s never a whisky around when you need one.
When I return, the mother is glaring at me accusingly.
“You should be more careful about your cleaning,” she says.
A full house. The tenth hour of my thirteen and a half hour shift. Canada Day. Working in unbearable heat, customers wondering why the hell I am not asking them if they would like another beer — and a screaming pirate. And I should be more careful.
If I meet pirates, they had better be hot pirates who look a lot like Keira Knightley, in little pirate shorts and knee high boots. And they had better be asking me to join their lesbian crew and sail the seven seas scoring booty and stealing treasure. Elsewise, no pirates.
“Ma’am, I told you to put shoes on your child. I told you to control her. It is not my fault if your child gets hurt. You chose to ignore me. Now please either sit down with the child and eat, or I will kindly bring you the bill and you may leave. I will get you a manager if you so desire.”
With this, I walk away. It’s much quieter. I even get a few appreciative tips from other tables, from people who are pleased to be able to eat without a swashbuckler assaulting their hamburgers.
I wish I could say this was the exception rather than the rule when it comes to parental behaviour, but it’s not. Every day, I encounter the dreaded stroller entitlement — parents, particularly of young children, who seem to feel that the physical proof of their abilities to copulate entitles them to faster, better service. Preferably with a booth and a kid’s meal, and god help you if you don’t have a sippy cup. These same parents become irate when I ask them to fold up their strollers, which are approximately the same size as a 1957 Buick.
Now, I may be 21, and I may have not had the “joy” of having my uterus taken over, but I do love kids. I really do. Someday I’d like to have some. However, I apparently missed the memo stating that Canada is now run by toddlers and all sane adults are to turn over the world to their Freudian desires. Sorry. Sometimes I just don’t open my mail.
It seems everyone has gone baby crazy. Celebrities are popping them out like Cabbage Patch dolls. There seems to be some sort of babymania whereby a baby is one part status symbol, one part high-price fashion accessory and one part lap dog.
In other words, a kid isn’t just a kid — it’s something to be spoiled and pampered, much the same way a man will pay extra to put premium gasoline in his Firebird when regular would do just fine.
And, worst of all, parents think kids are a ticket for queue-jumping, free rides, special treatment, and docile acquiescence from the rest of us. No dice.
What does that mean for gays and lesbians, impotent straights, singletons, and couples whose life plan doesn’t involve miscreants of the underage variety?
If babies are the be-all and end-all of couplehood and social success, what does unwillingness to produce offspring mean?
For some, their sense of entitlement is answer enough. But these people aren’t proving themselves to be loving parents or capable adults. These people are proving to me that they are capable of sexually reproducing in the manner common to mammals. So, put some damn shoes on your kid and make them sit down, super star.