No Singing At The Dinner Table, that was the rule my dad imposed at our house growing up. This was the subject of much joking and laughter amongst my siblings and I, when we were in our 20s and 30s. “How ludicrous,” we remembered, laughing hysterically at the idea that one of us would break out in song at the dinner table. Now in my 40s (just, if I might say) I understand completely the rule and no longer see it as ludicrous at all. On just about a nightly basis one or both of my kids will sing at the dinner table. This is done much to my annoyance and definitely because of it. Not only is the noise grating on my frazzled, your-lucky-you-got-a-square-meal-on-the-table nerves, the singing necessarily also means no food can go into the mouth when musical notes (and believe me, I use that term extremely loosely here) or some remote facsimile thereof, is coming out. The whole meal experience is unnecessarily prolonged.
On a scale of unbearable experiences parents must endure, singing at the dinner table is second only to the noise from the back seat on any car trip longer than fifteen minutes. I really don’t understand why none of the car manufacturers has come out with some kind of see through, noise proof shield between the front and back seats of a car.
It shouldn’t be that hard, taxicabs already have a mini version of this. Of course, some engineer would have to figure out how to have a door on the thing or otherwise make the middle of it disappear so that you could go back to the backseats and manhandle the children where necessary. If I were the manufacturer though, I would make the door bit an option, because the necessity to manhandle really goes down dramatically when you can’t hear the kids. If I can dream it, can’t they make it? I for one would line up for such a feature. You could see through the plexiglass, so you could pullover if anyone in the back was bleeding for instance. Otherwise, they would be contained in their soundproof side of the car and you could ride in blissful peace, listening to NPR or Nirvana, pick your poison, without being subjected to whining, screaming, fighting or singing out of tune (because your own singing never counts).
From the children’s point of view of course, this would just be an invitation to break the sound barrier and invent some new medium for annoying parents on trips in the car. With my kids in mind, I can just envision how they would take turns trying to break the glass with their highpitched wailing. Ah well, it would give them something to occupy themselves with on the trip.
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