If you read this blog regularly then you know that our favorite hangout is our local pub, The Dubliner. I don't have German TV so I usually go down there anytime I want to watch a soccer or rugby match. Pub culture in Europe is much different in Europe than it is in the States. In the US, a pub is little more than a place for adults to go and drink. In Europe, a pub is more of a social gathering place and it's common during the day to see entire families in there enjoying themselves. For us, nearly all of our local friends were met at the Dub. We are such good customers that the owner and staff have taken to us and they have practically adopted the X Man. He absolutely loves going to the pub; it's almost like a playground for him as he plays checkers and other games they have there and there are a few regulars who take him out to play soccer in the street or build little houses with the coasters while I watch the matches. One of the waitresses has a son about his age and occasionally he comes in and the two play together. Another thing that often happens is, because he is such a ham and so comfortable at the Dub, people in the pub will end up playing with him. It happens a lot, strangers fall in love with him and tell us on the way out how adorable he is, etc. It also works well to give the wife a break since she's always exhausted from caring for the baby AND the X Man.
Saturday afternoon there was a match I really wanted to see so we went down to the Dub. As soon as we walked in, the X Man ran up to the bar, climbed up on the stool and asked for the dice game that they had as I settled in to my table. There were three American guys sitting at the bar next to him. They were obviously tourists as they were dressed like tourists and were a little too "hefty" to be military. The one next to him started playing the dice game with him which I didn't think much of, as it happens often. They seemed to take to him and spent about an hour playing with him and laughing at his antics. My friend Rainer had joined me as the match had started and after about an hour, the three guys got up to leave. As they did, they came over to my table and the one on the end who was playing with the X Man said "Excuse me, I don't mean to interrupt..." and of course my first thought was that he was about to tell me how cute the X Man was, yada yada. Instead, he says this:
"Well, first of all, whose little boy is that?"
"I'm going to tell you something - your poor son is STARVING for attention..."
Now I'm thinking to myself "What is he, some kind of child psychologist, where is he going with this?"
"And the fact that you're taking him to the pub and letting him play with a complete stranger at a bar tells me that you are not giving him the attention he needs...I've got kids at home and I-..."
"OK, thank you, good bye now. Thank you, GOODBYE""
"And see, now you're just being a complete prick."
Such anger welled up inside of me but the X Man was sitting right next to me so I kept my cool, shot him a look, and just calmly responded again, "OK, thank you...goodbye" everytime he tried to say something else. He got the hint that his comments were not welcome and they all left, leaving a few rude comments on the way out.
I sat there stunned that someone could come to such asinine conclusions about my family life after spending an hour playing with my kid. I was so angry, I wanted to follow him out to the street and deck him but Rainer calmed me down and told me I did the right thing. I guess so...
But I really wish I woulda punched him.