Earlier today, while sitting in a McDonald’s, I had the most bizarre encounter I’ve had in years. I took my infant son out to run a few errands, then stopped in for a wrap and some fries (my personal kryptonite). In between feeding/soothing/trying to eat my own meal, I realized that I was sitting behind behind possibly the most ironic person alive.
I had realized from the moment I sat down that this pleasant-seeming fellow with a pair of toddlers was a bit of a ‘Loud Howard’. I actually picked that spot because there was so much sound coming from their table, no one would be particularly bothered if Dashiell had a meltdown (he did). However, once I had Dash settled enough to try to eat my food, I started actually listening to the crazy was coming from the next booth:
- [shouting into a phone set to speakerphone mode but still held tightly to his ear] – “WHY ARE YOU TALKING SO LOUD? YOU’RE DISTURBING PEOPLE AT OTHER TABLES! JEEZ!”
- [to his two shrieking children] – “SHHHHHHHHH!!! [at this point, people working in the kitchen stick their heads out, presumably to check if the soda machine just exploded] WHY ARE YOU EMBARRASSING ME? PEOPLE ARE LOOKING!”
- [to his wife (and apparently to the entire county as well) when she returns to table] – “THANK GOD YOU’RE BACK! I NEED TO GO OUTSIDE FOR A BREAK! I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF THINK IN HERE!”
At this point, I was so simultaneously amused, annoyed, and incredulous that I stopped eating and posted the whole thing to Facebook, mostly, I think, just to confirm to myself it was really happening! I kept looking around for the “Punk’d” cameras… If I didn’t want to murder him for repeatedly waking up my son while I tried to eat my wrap, I’d have been applauding his genius performance art!
After the show, I finished my food and prepared to take my son home (a process involving multiple rounds of soothing, shushing, cleaning, pacifier retrieval, and buckling) I stood up with the baby bag on my back, the car carrier/baby in one hand, and the tray of meal detritus in the other, and headed for the door. Just as I was passing Irony Man’s table, He grabbed a tray, shouted “OK!” and practically jumped out of his booth to a standing position, along the way thumping the car carrier, and eliciting a minor squall from Dashiell. The next thing he said literally stunned me for several seconds:
[to my son] – “OH, NO, I’M SORRY, KID! [making shushing motions with his hands] DON’T MAKE A SCENE!”
Somewhere, deep in the human brain, there’s a small patch of gray matter whose sole job it is to recognize, categorize, and measure irony. At that moment, I’m pretty sure mine burst into flames, the resulting exhaust coming out of my mouth with a sound kinda like, “Wha… i… do… I… fu…”.
I never found those cameras…