Sunday, February 13, 2005

a different philosophy

I don't think of myself as overly politically-correct. I generally try not to say things that will hurt people, which some may interpret as PC-ness, and that's fine if that's how they need to see it. So when I write this story, I'm torn between wanting to write this story, and wanting to avoid causing anyone undue distress. I suppose if any of my friends reading this want to defend the person in question, that's their right ... I'm not feeling very charitable at this moment.

On Saturday evening we went to a birthday party at a restaurant for a friend's three-year old son. About 20 people showed up, including our little threesome, and Jacqui turned shy when confronted with so many new and noisy folks. She actually feigned sleep at one point!

Dinner was good, the guests were all folks who enjoy each others' company, and the birthday boy had a good time. At least, he had a good time until he was forced to sit down and actually eat his food; that provoked some minor sulking, and then he was fine again. But that Moment of Sulk was the catalyst for an outburst by one of the guests that still has me shaking my head.

This guest, a giant man with a booming voice, called over to the boy's father, across the dining room: "Do you need to borrow my belt?!"

We all assumed he was joking, and for the record I'm sure he WAS joking. No one even really reacted to him ... which I suppose is why he had to take it further, into a rant about people not smacking their kids enough. By the time he was finished -- in his very loud, very male voice -- it felt like the entire restaurant had turned to stare at him. Into the uneasy silence, I offered a sardonic, "Wow. You sounded almost like you meant that."

See, that was a mistake. I ought to have just let the silence widen, as it would have, until maybe he'd've felt uncomfortable and STOPPED TALKING. Instead, he started up again. Fortunately, everyone seemed to have had enough of him and started talking OVER him -- which was something of an achievement.

And the reason I shake my head? He's got three kids of his own. I don't know how much of his talk was just talk, and how much he might've meant -- but I know that if he meant any of it, I feel really bad for his kids. And for his wife, too, for that matter.

For the most part, Jacqui and Geoff and I had a wonderful night out. Jacqui even opened up a little and let someone new hold her for a while! But you know, if you don't leave the house, you never have to deal with the loud opinions of people for whom you hold zero respect.