Last night's thoughts on courtesy while in an imperfect mood

Dear Panera Customer,

Your little girl is adorable. Really, she is. Pretty, even. Observing her level of confidence from over here in the corner where the two of you and your friend have trapped me, it occurs to me that your child will likely never suffer from the lack of self confidence that plagues many youngsters. In and of itself, that's a good thing.

There's something I'd like you to consider, however. It's simply not charming that your child finds it necessary to speak at the volume she's been using for the last hour. The prancing back and forth across the room (less kind people might call it "stomping" if you'd like the honest truth,) is even less appealing. Happiness is to be lauded, but the shrieks that your daughter seems to take for laughter? Not really that pleasurable to overhear from this proximity, either, turns out!

I recognize that you and your friend haven't seen each other in a while and that you're really quite enjoying each other's company. Small children need attention, however, and you did, after all, choose to bring her along with you. My admittedly non-parental, third-party observation is that your child needs a bit more one-on-one time. And not necessarily of the kind that has you laughing delightedly every time she does something that has those around you cringing with annoyance. Because if you looked around every once in a while, you'd probably notice that it's not just me who wishes I'd chosen to work in another corner.

Clearly you haven't noticed that much around you for some time now, and so I don't expect you to have noticed me, either. But so you know? These are headphones I'm wearing. I'm blasting my music directly into my ears. I made this decision before you sat down, in part to drown out the unfortunate music Panera chose to play for our listening pleasure today, and in part to try to keep at bay the bickering of the two little boys across the way before you arrived. I doubt you noticed them, either, but I did. I also noticed that since their mom had work to do, apparently, their father cleverly walked across the parking lot and did a bit of grocery shopping with them. This little adventure served to get their YaYa's out and kept Mom from going more batty than she already seemed, too. And you know what? Even when they were hurling their bodies at each other? I couldn't hear them with my headphones on. Of course I recognize that I did, after all, choose to work in public today. It's a gamble I took, and today's didn't pay off that well. Headphones tend to help in these situations. Usually.

But your precious little bundle of love? Yea, she has special skills at high decibles. SuperPowers, even!

Please take her home. Please, please. It's not that I don't like children. To the contrary, I often bore everyone within earshot relating the antics of my Very Precocious Nephew. The one who's 3 years old. The one who also really, REALLY likes to garner attention when he's being ignored. And? So you know: when he does this in public? Somebody takes steps to acknowledge which of his behaviors are and are not appropriate. Or they give him the kind of attention he craves, since it's perfectly natural and predictable that children will sometimes act out in order to get the attention they deserve.

I'm just saying...

Signed,

The Freelancer In The Corner Who Just Wants To Get A Little Bit Of Work Done Tonight