I have never been compelled to spawn. The second Someone I’m Dating declares:
Someone I’m Dating: I want to have children!
I declare back:
Me: See ya!
I know that I’m about as maternal as an oil slick, but I instinctively allow children and their parents/nannies/caretakers priority. Translation: I get the hell out of their way. It recently occurred to me that I’m not the only one following this unwritten rule. As I was recently walking down Hudson Street in Tribeca to buy a few bananas at a grocer’s near my place of employ, I noticed a footloose toddler who had just been released from the confines of his stroller take off as if he was running the fifty-yard dash. His mother, who had been pushing the stroller, watched helplessly as her companion hightailed after the wild hombre.
I had been walking at a healthy clip but the second I caught sight of this potential crisis, I downshifted my pace to tai chi speed. The other pedestrians around me — a businessman and a chap in his twenties — both did the same. I crossed the street to lengthen my distance from the sidewalk blockade. Picking up my pace again I pondered:
Me: Wow, you stand 2 ½ feet tall, you weigh 32 pounds, you have an eight word vocabulary, but your presence practically stops traffic. That’s power!
A short while later, when I approached the checkout lane at the grocer’s with my two bananas I observed that a mile long line of at least eight shoppers waiting at one register, but no one was standing behind the two nannies with four tots in double-wide strollers filling the aisle at the only other open register. I assessed the situation and ascertained that between the six of them, all they were purchasing was a single bottle of water. Again, what power!
On my way back to the office with my bag of two bananas, I saw a girl about five-years-old speed demoning up the street on a toe scooter. This child was the second coming of Evel Knievel. Her mother shouted out at her that the chinstrap on her oversized helmet was loose. Little Evel Knievel-ette obediantly toe scooted back to her mother who presumably tightened the chinstrap. This did not impair the flow of my thoughts as I was making a mental note to remember to bring home my eight packages of woven tooth twine that night; something I had failed to do the day before.
Suddenly my concentration was shattered when I heard the sound of a fast moving toe scooter that seemed to be heading straight for my back. The little daredevil must have been making up for lost time or she was preparing to practice jumping over me before taking on the Grand Canyon a few years hence. Immediately I switched gears and did a steady jog when two words from all the French I failed to learn in the five years of pointless study in my youth came to mind:
Me: Zut alors!
As I hot-footed my pace to a fierce trot, my thoughts reverted to English:
Me: No way am I going to subject myself to the humiliation of being reduced to road kill by a five-year-old burning plastic at supersonic speed!
I returned to my office winded but alive. I was also impressed with the wee one’s power.