Thursday, September 24, 2009

anonymous notes

The other day a friend of mine confided in me that she'd sent an anonymous note. There's a yoga studio near her, which has a big sign posted saying, "Unattended Children Will Be Given Espresso And Puppies." That sign irks her, and I understand. The same sign was prominently posted at the veterinary opthalmologist down the Peninsula where I took my blind kittens, Helen Keller and Ray Charles, and it always pissed me off. I sometimes had to take Iris and Lola along with me on these appointments, and they were always perfectly behaved, but the sign made me feel like we were deeply unwelcome and perhaps even hated. I never saw a problem with a child at that vet's office, but inadequately restrained dogs were a big problem for me and Helen Keller on several of our visits there.

My friend actually likes yoga and this studio is conveniently located for her, but she won't patronize it due to the sign. After some time of being irked by that sign when she passed by, she left an anonymous note telling the yoga studio that the sign offended her, a parent, and that she wasn't patronizing them as a result. (It occurs to me that I may go by there and send Iris and Lola in to say, "I am unattended. May I have an espresso, please?" Then they can either bring the espressos to me, their perpetually caffeine-seeking mother, or they can take satisfaction in having made a point about the vapidity of the sign).

Anyhow, my friend made the mistake of posting on a parenting board about this note, and she was ripped up one side and down the other by fellow parents who found that sign hilarious and thought my friend was out of line. I was incredulous. "That's a mass produced sign. It's not even original! They think that's witty?"

Sometimes great anonymous notes pay off. In college my roommate had a crush on a tall, skinny guy who was in our Tolstoy seminar. He grew a rather unappealing mustache, and she fired off an anonymous letter. The letter was sort of a mixed bag of cattiness and sweetness; I think it asked him who he was trying to impress with that mustache and made some rather insulting analogies to the mustache, but it did also convey some fascination with him in his shaven state. The next time our class met, the mustache was gone, and the skinny guy looked kind of nervous. My roommate was proud. The yoga studio may be more set in its ways and less open to anonymous criticism than a college undergraduate, however.

14 comments:

hughman said...

i've sent anonymous love notes in the past. they were uneffective.

Mac and Cheese said...

I know of a couple of girls who anonymously snuck a bar of soap and deodorant into the locker of a boy who clearly needed to use these items. He never returned to the school.

Silliyak said...

Lighten up Francis

sarangkot said...

I don't even understand the sign - what's the exact meaning?

the Drunken Housewife said...

Sarangkot, the sign warns parents that if they don't supervise their children, the proprietors will give the children puppies and strong coffee. Then the children will be wired and crazy and won't go to bed, and there will be a puppy to take care of. Of course, in reality no one keeps puppies around to hand out, and it's just a humorous threat at parents. The subtext is that children are not welcome in that place.

Lionors said...

I think the problem with such a "clever" sign is that the people to whom it is directed, neglectful parents, will ignore it rather than be admonished by it, whereas mindful parents feel defamed.

sarangkot said...

Thanks DH & Lionors. It seemed so passive aggressive & ill-spirited I couldn't work out where the humour lay.

the Drunken Housewife said...

That's probably because you have a good sense of humor and that sign is a failed attempt at wit. It's just passive aggressive.

artpredator said...

DH, your post as always is funny and well written but this time I have to disagree with something.

I'm on that list and while I didn't take a stand one way or another publicly, I do want to say that the moms and dads on the list were strongly divided on the issue. While a number of moms did say they found it funny, the situation provoked a very thoughtful and thought provoking long running discussion, including the realization for many that we as families take up space, that our children are energetic (and well behgaved not monsters) and we have that right to do so.

But heck, I double dare you to send your kids in asking for espresso. That's what I'd be tempted to do! My son would love na espresso and a puppy.

artpredator said...

DH, your post as always is funny and well written but this time I have to disagree with something.

I'm on that list and while I didn't take a stand one way or another publicly, I do want to say that the moms and dads on the list were strongly divided on the issue. While a number of moms did say they found it funny, the situation provoked a very thoughtful and thought provoking long running discussion, including the realization for many that we as families take up space, that our children are energetic (and well behgaved not monsters) and we have that right to do so.

But heck, I double dare you to send your kids in asking for espresso. That's what I'd be tempted to do! My son would love na espresso and a puppy.

Silliyak said...

As a purveyor of many failed attempts at humor, who goes for the groan as much as a laugh, may I suggest that you could view others similarly afflicted as Humor Quasimodos, lumbering through life trying to get a giggle. That in itself might bring a brief smile to your lips. If not, then perhaps pity.

Joyce said...

LOL artpredator it was actually on ANOTHER parenting board (UrbanBaby) that I was ripped. I had to blab to everyone that day it seems. xx.

A said...

Actually, the subtext is that unattended children are not welcome in that place.

silverb said...

What would you do if the yoga studio put up a sign that said "Children Are Not Welcome"? It would be less ambiguous for sure but harsh. I'm guessing that the studio wants to maintain the atmosphere of quiet that most people come to expect when they practice yoga. Unattended (and I'm thinking that means noisy or disruptive in yoga studio parlance) children would take away from everyone else's practice. So the studio put up what they thought was a humorous sign.