Niko and I just went to lunch at this kinda skeezy place on the corner. It’s a dive bar that looks like it has a 50% chance of having operating light bulbs and might serve moonshine on tap. I think I saw a stuffed goat head on the wall and some concentrated hipster evil evaporating out of the bar vents. I’d imagine one could find some interesting porn in the bathrooms. I didn’t check it out because I like my facilities bleached and free from terror, thanks. But this place serves food and has a little outdoor area and the kids fell asleep in their stroller on a walk, so why not? We sat. We were the only people there because it was like 3:00 in the afternoon. That’s when cool kids in khakis like us eat dinner. Also old people. (Foreshadowing!)
This guy comes out and asks if it’s okay to smoke. I say yes. Hey, it’s outside and smoking is legal last time I checked and I’m just not one of those people to get in a twist about adults doing adult things. I thanked him for asking, but said to go right ahead and light up. He gets kind of weird and points at my kids and goes, “Oh, just tax deductions! Who cares about them!” like I was some kind of unfit parent because I didn’t mind him smoking twenty feet away OUTSIDE. What is he, a cutter?
A few minutes later his lady friend comes barreling out of the bar to join him. They’ve both got to be in their or 60s or older and they’re drunk as skunks. Drunk Urban Grandma plops herself down at our table with a beer nestled inside an adorably drunk grandma-ish beer cozy made to look like a Cubs jersey complete with arms. Soon, she starts grilling us. First she wants to know if Niko is a movie star. But the sunglasses! He’s wearing SUNGLASSES! Like a movie star! She gets progressively upset when she does not get a clear answer.
Then she moves on to the girls. I was like, “oh, this one’s three and the other one is 15 months” – the last moment of any semblance of cool – but she’s like “That’s not what I asked. I would NEVER let a kid sleep like that. NEVER! Would I EVER! Why aren’t they playing? Don’t your kids PLAY? Did you drug them? That one looks like a rhino on a ride at Disney world” (Whatever that is supposed to mean.) Finally her Drunk Grandpa Boyfriend whisks her away as our food arrives and tells her to “let these people eat.” Fine. I gnaw a fry and move on.
Then I lose it because she moves two tables away and starts ripping into my kids again. “That kid looks drugged! That’s an unfit mother!” and on and on. Finally I muster a little bradava and go, “I can hear you” but she keeps on zinging insults at me. I decided to enter hell’s tavern to tell the bartender to cut her off. The barkeep gets all butch nonchalant on me like, “it’s a bar” because presumably, I should just deal with it. Thankfully in spite of this dismissal, the bartender does come outside and whispers something to Drunk Urban Grandma that shuts her up for about four minutes.
It was a mistake to assume peace.
Drunk Urban Grandma then begins swearing and insulting me further. “You just let those kids sleep all day! They should be playing! They look half dead! You’re a horrible mother! I play with the neighbor kids that I know! That’s how it should be!” Her man friend ushers her back inside where she stumbles over the threshold and she begins yelling at the bar at large.
I made the mistake of saying, “if she insults me again, I’ll call the cops for drunk and disorderly”. He stomps off behind her. Then the man returns, gets right in my face and says, “it was a pleasure to meet you. If you weren’t such a BITCH.”
Hay-o! I think we have a few unstable bar patrons with substance abuse problems hanging out on Clark Street! What am I, like a bug lamp for random elderly bar sadists? I mean seriously, how does this stuff happen to me? We just threw our cash down and left. I told the bartender what happened and was met with a blank stare. Of course.
I suppose there is a lesson to be learned here folks. Just stay inside? Move to the suburbs? Don’t let your kids take naps in their stroller? Don’t make even polite small talk with strangers lest it turn ugly? Stay off offline, inside and never interact with another human being?
Or perhaps the lesson is “count your blessings that you have a normal, beautiful life and that there are some seriously sad people?” Party on, Drunk Urban Grandma.