I don’t have children.
That wasn’t by design. But then, my lack of offspring hasn’t left a gaping hole in my life, either.
It just is.
The thing is, despite not having any of my own, I do actually like kids — most of the time, and in limited numbers, at least.
But one of the great benefits of being childless is that I’ve never darkened the doorway of Chuck E. Cheese’s — a record I hope to carry to my grave. And I couldn’t tell you with any certainty what happens inside a Go Bananas (I can only assume it’s terrifying).
They’re both wonderful establishments, I’ve no doubt, doing the one thing they’re built to do, which is to cater exclusively to rambunctious children.
But you know what’s not designed for kids? A pub.
Which is why the provincial government’s recent announcement that children will be allowed to accompany their parents into public houses — the main function of which is to serve alcohol to patrons 19 and over — came as a bit of a surprise.
Especially since, as far as I can tell, nobody was actually asking for this.
Far more people I know, at least, would rather the province follow the example of our American cousins and allow us to slip a bottle of chablis or a six pack of suds into the grocery cart next to the milk and bread.
But the closest the new rules come to that, is to allow separate liquor vendors to operate within grocery stores — which barely addresses the issue, considering there are very few supermarkets that don’t already have a liquor store within spitting distance.
I know I’m in good company in my complete lack of enthusiasm for the whole kids-in-bars scenario. It is widely shared among my friends — the vast majority of whom are parents.
Heck, many of them see the local watering hole as the one place they can escape their own progeny for a couple hours, never mind dealing with somebody else’s miniature travelling circus.
When you pop by your local for a drink, do you really want a pint-sized patron guzzling juice from a sippy cup at the next table?
That’s assuming the little beggars are even sitting down.
There’s nothing more disruptive than a bored kid — and, let’s face it, few places are going to be as boring to a kid as a pub.
But for those of us who have left our clubbing years well behind us, the local pub has become the centre of our social life. It’s really the only place we can gather in the exclusive company of adults, regardless of the time of day.
And, really, why would parents want this change? Is it worth saving a few bucks on a babysitter to spend an hour or two drinking before strapping the kids into the back seat for the drive home?
Yes, children need to learn how to behave properly in public. But there are plenty of family-friendly establishments where they can be schooled in the social niceties.
When I’m craving a White Spot burger, it’s pretty well guaranteed that some little person will be tearing wildly into a Pirate Pak nearby. And I’m perfectly OK with that. I’m on their turf, after all.
But when it comes to my weekend outings to the local pub, I’d prefer those to remain like the rest of my life — blissfully child-free.