Let’s talk about the stroller code of conduct. It’s generally unspoken, but we all know what it is. There are rules of politeness that one expects when walking with a stroller. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not privy to them. Perhaps we should stand on street corners, strollers blocking the way, passing out pamphlets with the stroller code of conduct printed on them. Until we have time in our busy schedules to do this, though, I suppose the following list will just have to be passed electronically.
1. When you see me walking down the street with a stroller, please move to the right. I will also move to the right. This way we can pass each other without the stroller, the child, and myself wrecking some elderly lady’s hostas or, worse, taking to the street to convenience the pedestrian without someone in tow. This rule has a subsection, applying to people walking down the street in general. Let me just say that I am easy to hear: I have a loud child who shouts, “Hi!” at any person (or dog or shrub or utility pole) he sees; I am talking to Robbie; there is music playing from my stroller to keep me entertained on these “adventures.” So, move to one side. Today I spent a block behind a woman who kept weaving from one side to the other. Every time I said, “Excuse me”, and tried to pass her, she went right back to the middle. When I blew past her as the sidewalk widened, she got all huffy. People, please. This is an elementary school rule: walk to the right!
2. If you see a person with a stroller trying to get into a building, please help him or her with the door. Granted, I have a system down for getting into buildings, as I live in Massachusetts and people are rarely interested in helping anyone they don’t know (and sometimes not even those they know!). I face the stroller away from the door, pull open the door, back in with the stroller, and try to make it before the door shuts on me. Don’t even get me started on those buildings with the two sets of doors to keep the heat or cold or rain or whatever out of the main building. My favorite experience with this happened at Bank of America. A lady came out of the building, thought about holding the door for me, and then dropped it. Today at CVS, the cashier, who had been on a break, took an extra loop around the front to avoid helping me get in the door.
3. If someone with a stroller is trying to cross a street (particularly at a crosswalk), stop and let them cross. It does no one any good for me to start part way into the road with the stroller and have cars continue to whiz by. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in Massachusetts it is the law to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. I find they used to stop more often when I was just by myself, a little less often when I was ginormously pregnant, and hardly at all now that I have a baby. Could someone please explain this phenomenon to me? So, let’s all take a vow right now to stop for those pedestrians (yes, even the ones without strollers). It will take a lot less time than getting pulled over by the cops for not doing it, and it’s just polite.
4. This last item on the Stroller Code of Conduct deals with people stupid enough to try to walk a dog and push a baby in a stroller (me). Please give these people extra wide berth. They are trying to make everyone in the house happy and not go crazy themselves. Furthermore, it is fairly obvious when someone has a dog with them. Don’t make the situation worse by suddenly acting surprised that there is a dog and try to find a way to escape the dog but have no where to go. The dog is on a leash. You probably had a good 25 yards to prepare for the encounter. If you really don’t want to deal with the dog, the stroller, or the crazed looking mother, just cross the street. At a crosswalk. Surely someone will stop for a sourpuss like you.
I’m sure I am missing many elements of the code of conduct. If there’s one you would like to see included, please add it in the comments. Just start with number five and continue on. Unfortunately, I only have time for four tonight… Robbie and I are flying to Lexington tomorrow. I have to pack for the two of us and prepare a to do list for Justin. And leave it in three different places. Curious about what a to do list looks like for an intelligent man who used to exist independently?
Trash and recycling out front
Recycling is in the pantry – both bins go out
Trash is by the back porch – both cans go out
Yard waste bag is just outside the gate – please put out
Pack for your trip
Your shoes are in one of two places: previously missing leather shoes are in the entry on the shoe rack, other leather shoes
and running shoes are in your closet on top of the pile of clothes on the floor.
If you can’t find it, it’s probably in the laundry basket in the guest room
The only tie I know of is on my dresser
If you still can’t find it, check the basement
If you still can’t find it, buy a new one
Park one of the cars in the back yard
I realize this sounds strange — we only have one parking spot in front of the fence and usually park at the grocery store
across the street. However, we cannot do this for five days straight.
Let Barkley out
Let Barkley out
Take Barkley to PetSmart
Take his bed and several toys. You wouldn’t want to sleep on a concrete slab with nothing to entertain you. Neither does
Check catties food and water – FILL BOTH!
Leave a/c in Robbie’s room on and open gate
Catties have a place where it is cool if major heat wave
Turn off all lights
Take your phone charger!!
Lock the front door
Amazing, isn’t it? And to think, at one point they were able to exist entirely without us. Frightening.
I definitely agree with your stroller rules. I take the boys out in a double stroller (the little ones I watch are 3 1/2 and one on Monday)…and doors are even harder with a double wide jogger! Note: do not attempt toget the stroller too close to the produce display at Trader Joe's…the grapes are arranged rather precariously!
I am always amazed when I wheel a big ol' stroller through a doorway of a store or cafe and everyone inside is staring at me. Not a soul will leave their seat to just help me hold the door for a second and yes, there are the people who will walk right past me and let the door slam in my face rather than taking a moment to hold the door. It must be a northern thing. When I firtst moved to DC, I noticed that if I held the door for someone behind me (which is just instinct to me, I don't even think about it) that people didn't quite know what to do. I got some awkward "thank you"s or maybe a surprised look. It didn't take too many times of having a door shut in my face (with or without a stroller) to learn that there is some truth in the idea of Southern politeness!