I’ve had a few people think it was “dirty” that I have dogs in my house, or that I touch them regularly in my day job as an animal trainer, or that I would take an in-training service dog into a restaurant. Okay, not everyone likes dogs, that’s fine, and I guess if you’re seriously weirded out about them you can imagine airborne cooties flying through the room or something. (Though the service dog under the table is not a risk to your food and isn’t going away.) But the weird thing is, the people who voice such protests say nothing to or about parents doing actual gross stuff with their kids, also in eating areas.
I have long been disgusted by parents who change diapers on restaurant tables. SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, how is that okay, and it’s not like there aren’t legally-mandated changing tables in the restrooms just a few steps away. But I guess they figure they’re busy and special, and anyway no one should be stupid enough to eat off a restaurant table or have their eyes open while eating. If I didn’t want to see exactly how much nastier strained peas are post-processing, I shouldn’t have chosen a restaurant which serves families. And anyway, breast-fed babies’ diapers are so much better than formula-fed babies’ diapers, see the difference? so they don’t know how I could be upset.
Sorry, but that reasoning isn’t good enough. And do not counter that you don’t want to use a changing table because it might be germy, as I’ve been told. If that changing pad is good enough to protect my eating surface like you’re telling yourself (if you’re even using one), it’s good enough to protect your baby’s poop dispenser. If your baby’s poop can’t be where other baby’s poop has been because that’s gross, then it’s not too far a stretch to see that my food shouldn’t be where your baby’s poop has been because that might also be gross. The only possible rebuttal is that your baby doesn’t actually poop like other babies do, in which case there’s no need to change his diaper on the table.
I recently encountered a new low, though. (I’m delaying this post to obscure the guilty.)
I watched a woman (adult woman, without obvious signs of either sociopathy or dementia) take a sucked-on cucumber slice from a toddler who’d been slurping it for ten minutes and replace it on a vegetable tray. A tray set out for everyone to share. She didn’t mention to anyone that she was doing this, no warning so others could avoid the lightly-masticated cucumber slice; I was the only one who saw. (I, um, stopped eating.)
What is it that makes some people think their offspring are so special that, to paraphrase a line which is strikingly literal here, their fecal matter doesn’t stink? That their spit is okay? That their spit is okay on my food?
This is a house where I am not supposed to wear shoes, lest I track in dirt or germs, and where I have been criticized specifically for having a job where I touch animals, ew. But it’s okay to serve me pre-masticated baby spit veggies.
Not to brag, but you’re probably better off eating at my house even with my dogs lying on their beds in the same room.