Were you ever a baby?

I was a baby. I’m assuming you were, too.

If you were lucky enough, your parents could afford to go out to dinner every once in awhile to get a break from, well, you and if not that, they would take you along. And there you’d sit, squeaking, squawcking, being a baby (or toddler) and doing what people like you did at that age. Sometimes, if you were particularly feisty or bored, you might even let out a screech or a cry.

A baby did that at a restaurant last night. We were there. Two of my four kids, my husband and I. We thought the little guy was adorable.

Not bad, not good, just, well, a baby.I was a baby, were you?

Let me give you the setting. We were dining at our favorite Indian Restaurant, a place called Tamarind of London. A very important name as it is an amazing restaurant. The only five-star Michelin chef in Orange County. Anyway, we were dining, catching up with our college-aged daughter and our senior high school son, enjoying the baby sounds from a few booths over when I started feeling cold negative air drift our way from the booth next to ours.

I’m not kidding. And so, being a writer and a mom, and well, a person, one of my ears drifted over to listen to what this awful couple was saying. And Mr. and Mrs. Awful were complaining to each other about everything, including the baby and about how we were dressed. They did not think we were dressed formally enough for the restaurant. And they thought the couple with the baby should leave.

They went on to criticize the drink my husband ordered with his meal, my son’s shirt, the overall clientele of the restaurant and more. My ear would drift to them and then I’d pull it back, and listen to my happy family and share in the laughter. Our food arrived, it was so good as usual, but Mr. and Mrs. Awful had to ruin that, too. At least to my ear. (I know, I should tune them out but by now, I’d shared my hearings with the rest of my family and they were all listening, too.) The Awful Couple demanded the manager and he arrived — a man we’ve spoken to on the many trips we’ve made to the restaurant, and who is, very nice — and we watched as the poor man listened to how important they were, how Mrs. Awful was a chef, how Mr. Awful just couldn’t believe the ‘riff raff” — yes he said that — they allowed in the establishment and so much more. It was incredible. Incredibly AWFUL.

I did not know what to do. My son said we should say something. And he did, when they finally left. As they passed by us, he said, “I hope you enjoyed your meal.”

Mrs. Awful says, “The food was wonderful. I’m a chef.” Helen Miren as a food snob

Oh, yes, Mrs. Awful, we heard you say that so many times as you ranted and complained, first to your husband and then to the manager. Perhaps, you should start your own restaurant? At your place you could ban babies, toddlers, teenagers and college students. I’m sure you’ve never been one. Oh, and also, you should ban people who order drinks who don’t pair well with what they order, people who don’t dress how you’d like them to and well, just anyone who doesn’t fit into your image of who should dine at a restaurant where you dine.

Enjoy yourself at your restaurant, Mrs. Awful. A table for two, I presume? That would make us all so happy. And although you will never open your restaurant, you can rest on your “chef” laurels. And to Mr. Awful. Your passive aggressive smiles while Mrs. Awful chatters on are actually more damning on you than anything you could utter. Smile on, you pompous man.

After they left, the manager hurried over to apologize, as did our server, their server, and well, you get the drift. My daughter, a meditator, positive thinker and all around better person than me kept trying to give me the Frozen “Let it Go” talk. My son wanted to deck Mr. Awful. Me, I just have to write about it. That’s what I’ve always done to work things through.

I feel better. I was a baby once. Maybe I’m being one again. But I know I’m not awful, and I saw it in action. That’s a lot worse than “riff raff” could ever be.





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