The Right of Way

Hoboken Next?In the famous Star Trek episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles,” Dr. McCoy explains to Kirk that, as far as he can tell, the little furry creatures are born pregnant. I’ve begun to feel the same way about Hoboken women. In the past year or so, there has been an explosion in the number of women pushing baby carriages around the streets.

They are everywhere, and it’s freaking me out.

They are at the coffee shop where I hang out, blocking the doorway, the aisles, the yard. They are at the park where I walk through everyday, pushing one, two, three babies at a time. They crowd inside Panera bread and outside the Symposia bookstore like flocks of feral pigeons. Some of them are pregnant.

And they demand the right of way.

If you are walking down the street and minding your own business, and they see that there is a sidewalk ramp before you, it is of course okay for them to swerve right in front of you, cutting you off, just so they can go down the ramp without pausing. And after cutting you off, the “sorry” is optional, because, after all, they own the street. (Our children come first, right?)

When there is a doorway, remember that they, by default, do not have to yield to you who has reached the door before them. They also, upon reaching the threshold of the door, do not have to continue through the doorway. It is okay if they pause and determine if in fact they really wanted to go through the door after all.

It is also okay to let your baby cry and run around hysterically. Don’t worry, we all love and think it’s very cute how she shrieks constantly and cries for one hour straight while you do nothing but sit demurely and stare blankly at the wall. After all, all kids cry, right? We know all your nurturing and attention is doing wonders for her later emotional health.

We also love your $1000 baby carriages which are bigger than some SUVs and have spaces and pockets and perhaps wings to fly with, and my god, how many children does that contraption hold? Just one? Does it come with a DVD player and air conditioning?

And we also love how you pop out seven children at a time, but are too busy with your 75 hour a week job in the financial district to take care of them and so you hire someone who might not be legal in the US to cart their crying behinds around all day, because you must provide for her education and you must have that four story brownstone and that summer house at the shore and therefore it’s wonderful that you are really there for your kids.

So please, next time you cross in front of me with your child in carriage I will dutifully let you pass. It is, after all, your right of way.

7 Replies to “The Right of Way”

  1. An observation: If you had any readers who are mothers, you’d be toast.

    And if you think crowded coffee shops are bad, don’t even get me started about long plane trips stuck with the shrieking little ones.

  2. Bitter, bitter.

    Here we have a different problem. If you are a woman in your mid-twenties to mid-thirties, and you DO NOT have a child, there are very few freaking social activities for you to meet new people. You can either go to the bars down at the shore, ad nauseum, or you can sit at home, essentially. It’s not like high school or college or any other time of your life because there are simply no activities that cater to your age group, where you can easily meet people outside the stupid bar scene, or (if you work within Monmouth County) work.

    But, if you have a kid, you’re golden. Cause there’s play group and toddler classes and all other sorts of activities that force young mothers together, and then friendships develop. It’s how my mom made most of her close female friends, twenty-five years ago, and the same is really true today. Scary, isn’t it?

  3. Well said Matt. Now everyone won’t think my anti-stroller rants about Hoboken are caused by figments of my imagination. Yes, I’m very impressed that people reproduce and can buy expensive strollers and take over the whole town, but I make the “rabbits with credit cards” analogy and I’m the bad guy. Sheesh.

    Stand firm, brother!

    -Devin

  4. I think people who drive strollers like that are probably the same ones who drive their SUVs through stop signs and crosswalks. You’ve got to have some sympathy for them, though. They’ve lived their lives in “me first” mode and all of a sudden they’re hauling around these demanding little things that incomprehensibly insist that they come first. What nerve! So the frustrated parent takes it out on the rest of us. Pity them their undue burden of responsibility.

    My personal gripe is with the subway. People are pretty good with strollers in Manhattan as far as I’ve seen (or not enough to notice). But there are these people who just can’t comprehend that if they block the doorway rushing to get on the subway, we can’t get off and the train goes nowhere. I think they need a demonstration of the solidity and intransigence of matter.

  5. I do have a few clients who are mothers of several. I hope they aren’t reading this blog. If you are, well, I didn’t mean you. Really, I didn’t.

    I’m quite a nice guy in person. It’s just in this no-space I can vent freely.

    And Jenny, I might disagree with you about social activities for single women not related to dating. You can take a class in painting (night school is a great way to meet people), learn how to belly dance, join a book club, or even a writers group. Having a kid is not the only way to meet people. But I think meeting people in any age group is difficult if you live in a small or very suburban town.

  6. See, but all of those activities, Matt… they require a car. I can’t walk to anything; I can’t take public transportation to anything; and by the time the car arrives back home from work at say 7:30pm, I can’t really drive anywhere since it will get dark and then I will be stranded due to my bad night vision affecting my driving. My mom comes and drives me around a few days a week, but she’s got other things to do and isn’t my chauffeur.

    But let’s assume, for the moment, that I do indeed have a steady job working in Manhattan. That’s all well and good, and it’s great because I’ll be making money and being able to see some of my friends who live up that way. But by the time I get home, at like 7:30ish or so, maybe earlier with traffic depending on work hours, most of the night classes have started already. Trust me, I’ve wanted to take pottery classes for years, even though they’re outrageously expensive around here.

    So it’s really just a total combination of bad luck and bad circumstances. It makes me wish I sort of lived in a city again. But regardless of what it is, I go stir-crazy sitting at home all day with nothing to do. And while I’m happily building a nice network of friends who live in Manhattan and the surrounding areas, I still can’t call them up and be like, let’s go to a movie in an hour.

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