Saturday, October 19, 2013

19 October 2013 Children underfoot will not be avoided.

Cassi Creek:  Yesterday we traveled to Asheville.  Since our travel took place in the afternoon and evening, we had great views during the early afternoon and magnificent moonlit views on the homeward leg.
          We decided to eat dinner at Tupelo Honey in downtown Asheville.  The food was everything advertised, worthy of returning.  As it was Friday evening, the wait to be seated was quoted as 20-30 minutes but actually timed out somewhat longer at about 45 minutes.  That left us plenty of time to watch people.  The Patton area seems to be a major gathering site for all manner of people from the ultra-straight to the freaks and geeks. 
          There is a drum circle that seemed to grow larger as more participants arrived.  The echo off surrounding buildings was out of phase with the active drumbeats, so the whole thing sounded ragged and fragmented for about the first 45 minutes.  The overall noise level was increased by buses, emergency vehicle sirens, a steady flow of automobile traffic, and the endless muttering undertones of hundreds of cell phone conversant passing by.
          What I found most disconcerting was the assumption by parents that other people are eager to experience their children in those places where children are out of place.  I speak of concerts, lectures, movies, restaurants, and busy sidewalks. 
          We were waiting for our table on the sidewalk outside Tupelo Honey.  So were other parities of various sizes.  There is a bus stop at that location and the sidewalk narrows somewhat.  So a couple with two children in a tandem stroller decided to block traffic into the restaurant, a very narrow door and entryway, by parking their stroller there.    They then released a 2-3 year old and another child still crawling  onto the sidewalk.  The infant was allowed to crawl about and then placed upright and allowed to stagger about the sidewalk full of people.  The older child was given a toy car, which he rolled about on the sidewalk as people tried to avoid the car, and both kids.  The longer the wait, the more annoying the kids became.  At one point, I noticed that the older child was often beneath and beyond my field of peripheral vision.  The 2nd time the toy car was rolled between my feet; I found it hard to appear tolerant.  Several times this child’s behavior forced people to step off the sidewalk into the street. Meanwhile, the infant stumbled about.  Anyone tripping over it would have sustained at least some superficial injuries and the infant might well have sustained grave injuries.  Unprotected skulls impacting concrete are never a good thing.

          There seems to be a willingness to allow people to bring children to such locations and then turn them loose, as if expecting others to become baby sitters.  While I wouldn’t allow someone’s child to run into traffic, neither would I excuse the child and its parents for being the cause of someone else’s injuries.  Hire a sitter and leave the kid home or stay home yourself.  I’m not willing to put up with your children behaving as if they were at home.  

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