Children of the damned

As sometimes happens, I was tempted today to speak harshly to a couple of upper crustacean parents about their parenting skills. Or maybe it’s their social skills that were lacking. I’d been sitting in the Port City Java across from where I live enjoying my refill and my book when the door opened and in walked a bunch of well-groomed people, some of whom were adult size and some of whom weren’t. The smaller ones began running in circles around the partition wall, giggling and chirping as children will do, while their guardians talked happily among themselves.

I’ve long believed that parenthood causes certain pain receptors in the human brain to atrophy, making it difficult for parents to understand that their children are impossible for other people to ignore. But I was about ready to leave anyway, so rather than confront the offenders (the big ones, not the little ones), I walked to the end of the island where they were doctoring their coffee and pointedly poured mine into the trash chute there. As I walked away, it was gratifying to hear one of the women trying to quiet one of the children. Maybe she’d gotten the message. (Or maybe she’d correctly identified me as a childless grump.)