I was glared at for talking in Starbucks

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being us...

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being used as a secondary logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday afternoon I went out for coffee with my parents and my two young children. Chaos ensued when my children realized there was only one cookie in the display case. Then we had to discuss the whip cream on the hot chocolate and find the little bags of popcorn.

When we finally made it to our table, my two-year-old sat by her grandma, my six-year-old near his grandpa and me somewhere in the middle. We had our usual happy conversation around the big wooden table. The kids were fine, but they are kids…they don’t sit and stare into space while drinking hot chocolate. They discussed their days. They told my mom tiny details about their favourite toys and goofed around with my dad. My daughter screeched when her foot got stuck in the high chair that she was too big for. My son freaked out a little because he wanted his popcorn in the bag, not in a cup. They weren’t being rude, just kids happy to be with their grandparents in a fun setting.

I felt like I had to hush them for the whole hour we were there. Why? Because every other person in the coffee shop was silent. Everyone was dead quiet and concentrating intently on an iPhone, laptop or tablet. Many people have written about the fact that our devices are making us antisocial. We all know that. It’s been said a million times. I get it, I really do. I too love zoning out in front of my iPhone at any opportunity.

What was different about today is that it was the first time that I felt like the minority for sitting in a coffee shop and chatting with my family. Maybe I’m just getting older but I remember back in the good old days when Starbucks and Tim Hortons were places to meet and talk.

Is it now more socially acceptable to be antisocial to those around you, while simultaneously being active on social media?

The next time I’m in a coffee shop with family or friends, I’m not hushing my children. I’m going to sit back with my coffee and company and talk and laugh away. I dare you to try it.

3 responses

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster | Reply

    It occurred to me reading this that I’ve experienced this before, walking into random coffee shops not “mine.” Until I read this, I didn’t understand why I prefer mine over the other ones I occasionally stop into: the noise and the life of “mine.” Folks talk homework and retirement there, so there’s always a soft din of conversation around me. I enjoy the feeling of connection in that.

    While I wrote one particularly sad post a few weeks back, a couple of little girls played around my table. Their mom, mortified, kept trying to call them back and tell them to be quiet. I assured her their play was no problem whatsoever. In fact, in light of what I was writing, it was welcome. She seemed dubious but gradually relaxed into it, to my delight.

    When I go to sit out in public, I like the feeling of having others around me. Silence . . . that I could find/make at my house!

  2. Thanks for the comment. 🙂 I’m not sure if society has changed that much or if it just feels like it to me. I look forward to checking out your blog.

  3. I agree with you. Families should be able to enjoy one another’s company while enjoying their high priced food and beverages (a comment on Starbucks, not your decision to go there, I was there today myself!). If people want silence the library is a more appropriate setting. There’s a difference between kids behaving in an age appropriate manner (the occasional squeal, laughter, movement) and kids being out of control. I’m not a fan of out of control, but it doesn’t sound like yours were at all. Those grumpy people should head back to the office or to the library or home if they don’t want to be reminded that there are other people on earth!

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