One evening last week, The Narrator and I went out for dinner and coffee with two other couples. The one couple has parents who live in town, and we and the other couple realized we simultaneously had out-of-town parents visiting. It was a prime chance for the six of us to get out without the kids and enjoy uninterrupted adult conversation and fellowship.
We sat around a grill at a Japanese steakhouse and laughed til our sides hurt while dining on delicious steak, chicken, salmon and shrimp. The food was delightful and the storytelling was epic. We lingered after our meal until the host approached our table. I could tell by the sheepish look on his face what he needed before he spoke. “You need our table don’t you?” I asked. He smiled and said, “I’m sorry, we’re very backed up tonight.” We smiled and said no problem and quickly scooted out the booth and out the door. We stood around debating whether to get coffee or ice cream, and opted to continue the revelry at a Starbucks down the street.
We pulled a couple tables together in a corner and over coffee, chai tea, and lemon pound cake continued to share the stories of our lives, knitting our friendships stronger. In the midst of laughter, the barista awkwardly poked his head over the counter and told us the manager had asked him to tell us to quiet down because he (or she, we never actually SAW the cowardly manager) could hear us in the back room. The kicker? The unseen manager said we “needed to be an example to the high schoolers.”
I sat there waiting for the barista to chuckle and say he was just kidding, but he was embarrassingly serious. The six of us were caught so off guard and looked at each other in disbelief at what had just happened. We carried on our conversations, but in a slightly stifled mode, until we determined the hour was late enough that we should go.
We all couldn’t help but reflect on the very bizarre event and laughed that we apparently still had it in us as thirty-something parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers that we could get “kicked out” of a restaurant and shushed at a coffee shop all in one night. As one of the guys said, “I guess years of parenting toddlers tends to give one a bit of an edge and an air of fearlessness.”
But seriously? An example to the high schoolers? We were six well-dressed adults in our mid-thirties having a wonderful time deepening our friendships and sharing the stories of our lives without the use of profanity, vulgarity, drugs or alcohol, fearing that we’d be spending the rest of our lives in an alcohol rehab. What kind of example did this manager think we ought to be setting? That you can grow up to be old and boring? What was our crime? Laughing too loudly!! It’s not even that anyone had complained! It would have been a different story if the manager had come to us directly and politely informed us that we were being too loud and that he or she had received complaints. We would have been happy to comply.
The event was so ridiculous that two of us, myself included, found the contact form on Starbuck‘s website and sent a message about our unpleasant service. I am quite happy to report that I received a personal, polite, and apologetic reply from a customer service representative with the promise of alerting the proper management staff and the receipt of a few beverage coupons. I forgave the company and appreciated their prompt reply. In fact, I’m sitting at a (different!) Starbucks as a write this now.
Despite the unpleasant part of our evening, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – apparently too much in some people’s opinion!! I wonder where we can get kicked out of next…