I don’t often say I “hate” something. There are many, many things I often dislike, people who generally annoy me, personality traits that often clash with mine. There are places I try to avoid because I know that they’ll just cause me to break out in metaphoric hives and mentally punch them in the face. I stay away from crowded carnivals because I’ll get all weirded out by the people all up in my protected personal bubble and cause me to hyperventilate. I do my Christmas shopping in October to avoid crazy, maniacal holiday shoppers who bump into me and rush my walk and make me want to run and scream.
Yet, I’d still not say I “hated” carnivals or Christmas shopping. My reaction to them is my problem, not theirs. It’s not their fault that they’re popular. They just asked to be loved and their call was heeded. But today I developed a full-on hate. A hate that will develop and manifest itself into a phobia, I’m sure. Eventually, soon, the thought of this place will cause me to tense up and feel nauseated. When I drive by, I’ll flip it the bird. I’ll give it squinty, judgy eyes and curse it under my breath.
McDonald’s Playplace, how I loathe you so.
Whose idea was it to build a two-story closet-sized addition onto a perfectly disgusting but tolerable restaurant, only to fill it to bursting with pipes and slides and stairways and netting and plastic steering wheels and shoe holes and air hockey tables and germs and stinky socks and snot-nosed brats and screaming pre-pubescent creeps and boys, so many boys, and cuss words spoken in child-like squeak voices and greasy fingers. There’s some sort of scent emitting from the room that only kids can smell. It’s a mixture of fry batter and sugar and pure joy. I don’t like it.
The Playplace tricks my kids into thinking that they’re having fun, when really they’re in absolute misery trying to shove their way through a crowd of rude, rough boys, three and four times their age, to make it to the top of the rickety eye-sore of a climber only to realize that they’re too afraid to slide their way to the bottom.
It teases my kids with video games that are too hard for them and photo booths that don’t work. With other little girls who look friendly enough, but won’t talk to them, no matter how polite and inquisitive they are.
It packs 30 little bodies into a space that fire code states is only safe for 15.
It gives itself a lower age limit of 3, while decorating itself with colours and images that attract my 21 month old.
It grabs the children and holds them in its grasp until the parents have to physically remove them.
The Playplace paints itself in germs. Disgusting, sickly, dirty germs on every surface, in the air, on my kids’ hands. In their hair and on their clothes and on my hands by proxy. No amount of scrubbing gets the feeling of Playplace germs off your hands.
McDonald’s Playplace is evil and I hate it.
I actually hate it.