Cafes and babies shouldn’t mix

I have the day off today. Always a good thing. I got up at the crack of ten, had coffee, some toast, and killed a few hundred people on Modern Warfare 2. A textbook start to the day. I then grew a bit peckish and thought I’d go out and treat myself to some lunch and an afternoon drinking coffee and writing.
Big mistake.
I have friends who have babies and they frequently lament that there is hardly anywhere to go that allows them to take their progeny. My advice to all parents who want a day out with a baby – go to a coffee shop in a middle-class area of London. You won’t be alone and apparently it’s perfectly permissible to let the screaming sticky little creatures run riot. Don’t worry about the solo man in the corner clearly trying to read while he eats, followed by some time on his laptop. Even though he’s scowling, he’s probably really happy to be surrounded by bellowing, vomiting offspring. Or better still, just ignore him. That is until you want him to move so that you and your friends can park their baby buggies somewhere.
As you may be able to guess, my afternoon’s writing in a coffee shop didn’t go well. There isn’t a single cafe in Hampstead or Belsize Park that isn’t chock full of mothers and their ghastly, selfish little sprogs. Ok, it probably isn’t the kids’ fault. If any mothers are reading this: please, please stop assuming that everyone thinks your yelling little bundling of joy is as wonderful as you do. It’s arrogant and you are ruining idle afternoons for thousands of others.
I don’t mind if ladies want to go out for a coffee with friends and kids. Just think of other people a bit. Just a little. Don’t scatter yourselves all over a cafe, let your kids run around, and take up all the room with baby stuff. The little creatures are tiny, why do their essential items take up more room than an adult’s luggage for a month’s holiday? Plus, please leave one coffee shop free for the rest of us. Just one nice place with jazz quietly in the background and grown up reading and chatting.
I remember loving the romantic idea of writers in coffee shops, or whiling away the afternoon with a copy of New Scientist and a pot of tea. All gone now.
It probably doesn’t help that I’m now also full of caffeine.

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