Warning: This has nothing to do with food whatsoever. Something happened to me on my commute home today, and I feel the need to rant.
Like many people in the DC area, I take the train to work. Unfortunately, this being the nation’s capital, a lot of tourists also take the train. I think the Green line generally fares better than other lines because there are fewer attractions and hotels on it, but it is not immune to influx of often clueless tourists. Today, something happened that symbolizes everything I hate about our modern, affluent society and the parents and children that it breeds.
In the middle of rush hour, I get on a crowded train car only to be immediately greeted by a pair of rambunctious children jumping around and climbing up/sliding down the main pole by the door. I and my fellow commuters squeeze ourselves past and around them, since these kids have pretty much rendered the pole unusable by any one else on the train. I look around for a minute, wondering where their parents are.
I then hear this voice behind me say, “I’m not going to tell them to sit down.” I turn around and realize that it’s Dad standing behind me and he has just informed Mom that he is about to completely check out of this situation. He doesn’t say another work for the rest of the time I’m on the train. I look to my other side and see Mom, sitting 3 rows back from her children, her view almost completely obstructed by commuters. “Okay,” she says. She then feebly calls out to her children, “Stay still!”
Obviously, they do not stay still. Instead, they proceed to poke, punch, growl, squeal at at each other and generally thrash around the entire ride. The boy will punch his sister, prompting her to scream, “MOM!” very indignantly. Mom will then poke her head up from her seat, try to crane her neck around 4 people, and asks what he did to her. The boy shrugs and gives her this incredulous look, like, “I don’t know! She must have just punched herself! Crazy!” Then the whole sequence starts all over again.
“Are we at Greenbelt yet?” the boy yells out. Greenbelt! That’s another 20 or 30 minutes on the train. All I can think about is how bad I feel for the people who will have the displeasure of riding all the way out to Greenbelt with this family. At one point both children lean in to look at the system map, sticking their little upturned noses just inches away from the faces of the people sitting in front of the map. Both commuters frown and tilt their heads to the side to avoid having their faces touch.
No once does either parent make a move to get up, separate their children, or otherwise attempt to discipline them. Every so often, Mom will weakly suggest that they, “Stay still” or “Be careful, people are getting off”, a call which goes unheeded since it’s obvious that she can’t actually see them.
PUBLIC TRANSIT IS NOT A PLAYGROUND FOR YOUR ILL-BEHAVED CHILDREN. This is a public place and their behavior is making it difficult for people to get on, off, and otherwise stand comfortably on the train. While these kids were clearly annoying, I don’t blame them for not knowing proper Metro etiquette. But parents, PLEASE, control your kids! I know they don’t always want to cooperate, but at least make an effort. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never ridden the train before; this stuff is common sense! What it implicitly says to me, as a casual bystander, is that you really don’t have any respect for the other people around you. And you’re just passing that lack of respect on to your children.
I hate it when people cannot be bothered to think about how their simple actions affect others. Don’t get me wrong, we do inconsiderate things at times. But what gets me is when it’s an action that is totally preventable or a situation that is easily correctable, and the offender remains totally clueless. These parents could have gotten up at the next stop, separated their quarreling kids, and put them in a seat. Instead, they did nothing.
I am going to be the meanest mom ever.