Friday, December 3, 2010

What Parents Shouldn’t Do

One of a parent’s main responsibilities is to keep their under-aged kids out of bars. Yet a few weeks ago, we spent the better half of a weekend trying to sneak our 7 and 10 year old girls into a club where their father’s band was playing.
David invited us to join him for the weekend in Palm Springs where his band had booked a gig at an Indian casino. Rarely do the girls and I get invited along on gigs, and given that there was a free room in a new hotel with a nice pool involved, we drove down and met him there, ready to enjoy.

The first time he mentioned trying to get them in to see him play, I pointed out that he was performing in a club in the casino and that even if the girls were, “…with the band,” their age would not be overlooked. But David got it in his head that he really wanted them to see him play and he was going to “explore” every opportunity to get them in. He asked the front desk to check and see if there was an age restriction in the lounge where they were playing. Of course there was. It was a bar with people kicking back shots and the shots were not smoothies. Then he talked to the sound man and asked if they could stand next to him in the booth. He asked the waitress if there was a dark corner in the VIP lounge (because that’s where you want your kids to be, in dark corners in lounges with bottle service) where they could sit unnoticed for 15-20 minutes. He tried bringing them in during rehearsal while the club was closed and having them sit at the table by the stage. The bartenders and waitresses were fine with it, but when the manager saw my girls sitting ring-side, she quickly informed David that they had to go. He tried to feign innocence, seeming surprised that even with the bar closed, it was off limits to them. I used to waitress in a bar in college. I knew his multiple schemes were not going to work. After all, a liquor license is a terrible thing to lose.

At first, I tried to talk him out of it. Then, I mentioned how (truly) tired the girls were. There are many reasons kids shouldn’t be bar hopping, one very basic one is that they get tired early and want to go to bed. Finally, I told him that I didn’t want to be the one to get yelled at or incarcerated because he wanted me to sneak them into a club to watch him play. Yes, it was important to him, and in many ways his reasons were incredibly sweet and sentimental, but was seeing him worth a criminal record?

As a compromise, I looked around and realized that the ice cream parlor next door to the club lounge was open from 5am until 2am – because every club needs an ice cream parlor next door – and that if the girls and I ordered ice cream and stood directly in front of the ice cream parlor door pretending to read the menu, we had a direct view of the stage from the front door of the club.

So my children got to see their father play without breaking local, state and probably federal laws. I’m glad, because even though it’s holiday time, my idea of a family Christmas portrait is not a mug shot.

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