when in Rome, do as the Romans do. when in Tennessee, quote Elvis. yep, pretty much the same thing.
I had a very unpleasant experience today and I’d love to tell you all about it, but first I want you to be familiar with the chorus of this Elvis Song:
we are in gatlinburg for the wedding and we all wanted to go eat together for breakfast. despite my near harassment persistence in calling the restaurant to let them know we were coming they weren’t prepared when we arrived. through a series of events that aren’t important to the story or worth recounting our group of 17 ended up at 5 separate tables. I guess I should have specified when I called ahead that “we were a group of 17 that would like to sit at one long table which is why I am calling you to inform you our group of 17 is coming, numb nuts.” but alas, I thought all that went without saying. all except that last part. I typically reserve the numb nuts moniker for people who, indeed, prove themselves to be numb nuts. seating a group of 17 at 5 different tables? TNNM. total numb nuts move. but I digress.
thanks to the ridiculous seating arrangements … and the fact that we should have brought walkie talkies to coordinate seating charts from the four corners of the earth we were seated, I ended up at a table alone with j and c.
now lets face it. and I’ll admit it. going out to eat with toddlers typically goes one of 2 ways. wonderful or earth please swallow me up and leave no remains of my existence. nope, never any middle ground on this one. it’s usually pretty predictable which way it’s gonna go and when you are scooping your kid up off the floor from their 5th tantrum you think to yourself “nope. that chalupa definitely wasn’t worth this.” however, sometimes the spawn of satan just decides to throw your sanity a going out of business sale without any warning. enter today.
after finally navigating our way to the table after all the confusion, we were waited on promptly. waitress #19 (honestly, that’s what her name tag said) thought she was being helpful by bringing over some crayons. 5 to be exact: 1 red. 1 blue. 1 green. 1 yellow. 1 purple. she handed all 5 to j and none to c. here OCD 3 year old, you can have these 5 crayons but you have to hand some to your sister. uh no. stupid me made j give a crayon to his sister rather than going in my diaper bag o’ fun and coming up with some other happy meal toy for c. and boy did I pay for that stupid. stupid move.
the minute I took that crayon away j bought himself a 1 way ticket to crazy town and never looked back. I finally got the crayon back from c to give to j but it was too late. we are talking wailing screams and tears. I ran over and put my hand over his mouth to muffle the sound and that’s when it started.
the elderly lady sitting behind j started in with her 2 cents. she was talking to her husband and saying loudly with the intent for me to hear her “what’s wrong with her? she has no control over her kids! why would she bring them here if they were going to act like that?”… and so on and so forth.
meanwhile, j dropped a crayon. you were probably wondering why I gave you the full details on colors and numbers of crayons earlier. it doesn’t seem important to me either, but oh boiiiii is it important to him and I’ve learned it has to now be important to me too.
he thought he dropped his red crayon onto the floor but he dropped his yellow crayon onto the chair. he immediately jumped up and crawled under the table while wailing siren like noises. I snatched him from under the table and
borderline screamed “USE YOUR WORDS!!!!!!!” he said “I dropped my crayon!” seeing the yellow crayon on the chair, I proudly picked it up and presented it to him. what a joke. he then screamed “no my RED CRAYON!” well. his red crayon was still sitting on the table which I tried to point out but he was undeterred, not convinced, and inconsolable by this point. so, like any desperate person, I crawled under the table, in a dress, and searched and prayed and searched hoping that a red crayon would show up.
the lady behind me really got infuriated by that. I only caught pieces of it between ducking in and out from the table but the cliff’s notes version are that I was ruining her meal. God Bless her bitchy old heart.
I’ll spare you the rest of the meal drama but it involved me crawling around on the floor like an asshole thrice. one spanking. and a few wishes that the earth would swallow me whole, leave the kids, but to be sure to take my purse so Id have my iPhone.
c got upset finally and we just had to leave. I picked up c, grabbed j by the hood of his rain jacket and dragged him out of the restaurant. I walked 3 blocks back to the car in the soaking rain pretty much choking on tears.
I’ve been pretty sensitive lately waiting for daddy j to come home, but I’d have probably cried no matter what the circumstance today.
before you say, I’d have told that lady off if I were you… I’ll say “I’d have let you tell that lady off if you were with me but I was too busy limboing under the table and keeping c from base jumping from the high chair to take a timeout to destroy this lady with words”.
when I got to my vehicle I strapped the kids in and cried for a good 15 minutes. daddy j called, luckily, and I told him I completely understand why people shoot strangers.
I know that my kids’ screaming wasn’t exactly Kenny G soothing but the “why would she bring them here alone” line was just a dagger through the heart. (<- had to sneak in a little Dolly Parton.)
I wish that lady had a 1/1000th of a clue just how much I wish my husband was with me at that little 4 top table. I’d love nothing more than to never take my kids to a Sunday breakfast alone ever again.
hey lady! you know why I would have the audacity to bring my kids to the restaurant alone? because I didn’t have any choice. certainly not because I wanted to ruin your breakfast.
allow me to introduce you: bitch meet empathy. empathy meet bitch.
I know I’ve been disgruntled at restaurant or on a plane or in. store too, but I try to remember first be foremost that everyone is just doing the best that they can. and words, after all, cut like a knife.
this lady might have had her breakfast ruined but she managed to ruin my day. if only she could have walked a mile in my shoes, she might have kept her big ugly trout moth shut.
I guess I’ll consult the deployment schedule before I roll the dice on allowing my kids to eat out. I’d hate to think i might upset someone’s pancake experience.