Thursday, November 14, 2013

Don't be fooled by the name "stroller"

This may seem reminiscent of my first few posts which angrily discussed my road rage walking in New York City. The thing is, I'm still angry and it's not getting any better. Plus, most of my early rage was based on walking solo. Now I've got company, and she's got a ride. So here I go again...

Listen up people of New York, (or any other place where people walk): I get it, we're all in a hurry to get somewhere. The thing is, none of our time is more valuable than others. Just because I am pushing a stroller doesn't mean I am not entitled to the same sidewalk courtesy that every other hustler on the street is afforded. (I mean hustler in the hurried sense, not in the late night pool player sense).

Please do not for a second think that just because I am pushing 27 pounds of machinery, 30 pounds of kid and another 16 pounds in the amazing Mary Poppins style bag I rock that I can't keep pace with you. Please do not think for a second that you are entitled to wander down the center of an otherwise clear sidewalk. Please do not think for a second that I am not just waiting for a wide enough spot on the sidewalk to pass you. And please do not think for a second that I have time to walk slowly behind you because you don't know about Blister Blocker and are walking around in shoes that clearly rub you the wrong way. You know what rubs me the wrong way? You, inconsiderate moderately paced walker.

Oh sure, it's easy enough for us to always blame the slow walkers for holding us up, but do you know what really screws the sidewalks? It's the people that think they are walking fast, so they swerve, weave, stop short or walk straight down the middle of the sidewalk and slow everyone behind them who can actually move quicker than them down. You know what I have to say to them? Move the F over!

I can best equate these folks to the drivers who cruise just above the speed limit in the left lane when there is no one in the right lane. Move over dammit! [For the folks reading this in England, that should read: drivers who cruise in the right lane when no one is in the left lane].

In this lady's defense, she heard the weird fake shutter noise on my camera and promptly moved to the side... In my defense, there have been a lot more situations when I have not been able to pass someone, but taking these pictures is kind of weird and I'm too lazy to document each and every one. You'll just have to take my word for it.

By now you've probably noticed that I have a heaping dose of what kids these days call the "road rage." Yes, I do. And it courses through my veins whether I am behind the wheel of my family sized crossover vehicle or the wheels of my bada$$ stroller. My mission is the same: to get where I am going as quickly and safely as possible. My obstacles are the same: people who think they are entitled to drive or walk like idiots. My response is the same, although with wildly different results: yelling nasty, frustrated comments at my windscreen, or in the instances when I am walking, directly at the person. This makes for a somewhat awkward moment when they turn around to see who is hazing them and see me pushing my daughter who's just chillin' in the stroller. It makes for a more awkward moment when she awesomely decides to go "beep beep" at that exact moment. It makes for an even more awkward moment when I stop short in my tracks to high five her because that was just too awesome to not immediately positively reinforce. But where was I? Oh yes, stroller road rage.

When I am pushing my stroller, unlike when I am driving a car, I can and will tailgate. Don't like getting the backs of your ankles clipped? Then step aside. I'm sure the email you are reading is very important and cannot wait. I'm not asking you to not read it. I'm just asking you to step to the side and read it. Otherwise, I might just be there to plow into you when you slow down to scroll down. And guess what? I should not have to apologize in that situation. If you can't hear my two year old, who is by no means voluminously challenged (yes, we're going to pretend like that's a thing), that is not my fault. She is my siren, she is my horn, she is the reason I cannot sneak up on people. So please don't pretend like you didn't hear the wheels clinking on the uneven sidewalk or the kid who IS happy, who DOES know it and who WAS clapping her hands.

I hate to play the parent card (not really, but it sounds nicer if I say that), but when I am in a hurry, it is usually for a legitimate reason: I am purposefully trying to get somewhere to provide nourishment for my hungry child; I am eagerly heading to the doctor's office for some symptom I have ignored for one too many days and now fear may severely impair my kid; I am frantically trying to reach home before she nods off to prevent a five minute stroller nap in lieu of a two hour crib nap; I am late getting her to school and every minute that I am late means one less minute of free/me time before I have to pick her up. That last one is essentially the race for enough time to go grocery shopping, throw in two loads of laundry and fit in a shower. So it would be ever so helpful if everyone could either move as fast as me, or if not, no worries, just get the heck out of my way.

Oh, and another thing... If I have passed you while walking down a block and then you see me waiting at the corner to cross, DO NOT pass me again as we cross the street unless you have suddenly had a surge in pace and will not be getting in my way again on the following block. Because if I have to tailgate you all over again, I may not keep quite the same courteous distance the second time. I should not have to pass you on every single block just because you get a jump start at the light before it actually turns green, but then proceed to walk just as slowly as when I had to pass you in the first place.

Just so we're clear, I do not mean to suggest that I am always in a hurry. Can I be slow? Of course I can. The other day it took us approximately 20 minutes to walk across one avenue as she thoughtfully inspected each and every leaf that had fallen on the sidewalk (it is currently autumn, so needless to say there were a lot). We are not always in a rush to get somewhere. Sometimes, especially when she wants to walk next to stroller instead of ride in it, we go VERY slow. But in those instances I do my best to create a lane beside us where any reasonable person could pass. My point is, don't just assume because I am in possession of a stroller that I am strolling. Sometimes I gotta be somewhere, and the inconsiderate walkers in front of me are nothing but the obstacles preventing me from getting there. To those folks I say: knock it off.

Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Well, that's not really true, is it? I'm angry on here all the time and you like me. I guess what I'm trying to say is, just be mindful of the people trying to pass you. Don't clog up the walkways. And for the love of g-d, don't act like you own the sidewalks... you don't. I do. Or I would if I could. That is why I am trying to make them a better place for everyone to use efficiently and enjoy, as any good owner would do.

That's it for now. Unless it continues to bother me in which case, that's it until later.

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