I like quiet. It helps me recharge and re-energize. I am an Introvert, you see, and lots of input is overwhelming, thus causing me to seek refuge in some less eventful locale. My job requires interaction. I enjoy the interaction but will seek out my happy quiet between appointments. And here begins this tale…
While sitting in my happy place, which shall remain nameless at present, I was delighting in a good book just downloaded to my tablet and a cup of coffee. The low background noises from the other side of the shop we distracting, but tolerable. As I delved deeper into my book, my focus became sharper and the invisible walls of the introverted mind formed. I was zeroing in on my euphoric place.
It was at this moment that HE came bursting into the shoppe with three screeching children (triplets of less than 6 years of age), his cellphone glued to his ear while he carried on a loud conversation with his wife or girlfriend (he repeated used the phrases “Sweetheart” and “Love You”) during which he was:
- Trying to carry on his phone conversation
- Fussing at the children, finally giving up and letting them rampage at will
- Place an order because “Daddy needs a break.”
- Trying to wrangle his herd of munchkins by yelling the question “What do you want for a treat? A cookie? You want a cookie? What kind of cookie? Oh you want cake? What kind of cake?”
By the time the third child FINALLY decided what treat he wanted, many of the patrons had made their abrupt exit and several of those who had entered after this gaggle had made entrance, had decided on a different venue.
During this entire event, the cellphone never left his ear and the conversation never ceased. When he received his order, Daddy further exacerbated the situation by making other demands on the cashier (may I have this cookie warmed and this one cut, not broken, into fourths, and may I have 4 ones, 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a nickle instead of the 5?) all the while yelling instructions to his trio and talking to “sweetheart.”
Thinking (hoping) this was merely an anomaly and this group would take their order up the road to the playground/picnic area, those of us who had been enjoying the now reminiscent quiet, dug in waiting for their exit. Such was not the case. Daddy brought his cloud of loud into the seating area, sighed heavily, flopped in a chair, and told the children to “shoosh” “quiet down” and “please let Daddy have a break.”
In was at this point when Daddy thought it would be a good idea to engage those of the remaining patrons in a loud game of 20 questions.
“Whatcha reading there Pardner?”
“Why ya’ll being so quiet? Did we scare you?”
“If you think you have enough life insurance, you are dead WRONG! (insert beginning of sales pitch here)”
By this point I, and many of the remnant, had had enough and were packing up to find solace elsewhere when Olive, a tiny grandmotherly type, snapped her book closed and turned to address the man. She smiled warmly and said, “Young man, did you know there is a playground just a block up the road?”
Daddy’s reply astounded all of us, “Yeah, but that’s too open and loud. Can’t concentrate there.” This was followed by vain attempts to get his young charges to lower their volume below ear-piercing.
Olive tried once again to be polite, “Sir, you have very energetic and rambunctious offspring. They need a place where they can expend their energies…like the playground.”
Daddy was either completely oblivious or determined to be rude, because he informed Olive that he had every RIGHT to be in the shop and his kids had every RIGHT to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted because this is AMERICA, after all, and we are free!”
Sweet Olive, stood up, toddled over to the man, looked his square in the eyes and said, “Young man, may I have one of your business cards?” Daddy gave her his card thinking he was going to sell this sweet older lady a load of life insurance. Olive took the card, put it in her purse, and said, “My father, my husband and my two sons fought and died so you could have the freedoms you throw around so selfishly. But you see, I also have a freedom and LOTS of friends. So I will be exercising MY right and freedom to tell everyone I know about your behavior and complete disregard for others. I will be sharing your business card with them, and we will be contacting the company to inform them of your lack of respect, and telling them we will not be purchasing any of their products or services if you are the example of their representative.” With that, Olive toddled back gathered her belongings and left.
I wish I could say that Daddy got the hint, but sadly when I left after another half hour of trying to concentrate, he was still loud, proud, and chasing off business from what was once an introvert’s haven.