“Gahhhhhhhh.. I swear, the next person who thinks it’s ok to jump across the front of the pram is gonna get their ankles taken out”, I cursed with my teeth clenched whilst pushing the pram along the busy streets of Central London. The missus however, shakes her head, flashes that smile that I fell in love with before chuckling to herself then linking her arm with mine.
Clearly I’m over-reacting and she knows it. But she’s better than I am – things like this don’t really bother her. I on the other hand am all about etiquette for the most part. Like a typical Londoner, I hate my personal space being invaded. When my son is buckled into his pram, it becomes an extension of me, so jumping over the front of my son’s ride let alone getting too close to it leaves a taste in my mouth worse than drinking orange juice too soon after brushing your teeth.
I’m a bit of an arsehole like that.
Things like people jumping queues to not saying thank you when you hold a door open for someone.. They grind my gears. Needless to say, with no love lost for my Filipino heritage, I’m very British.
A feature that I had ‘installed’ on my son’s pram was a simple bicycle bell. Many moons ago, my little big sister (she’s younger than I but everyone seems to think she’s the elder sibling.. God knows why lol) showed me a video on YouTube of a person walking along the bustling crowds of Hong Kong, stuck behind a pack of dreaded slow walkers. He rang a bicycle bell and without looking, the crowds parted like Peter Andre’s curtains. It was magical. And I was inspired.
I picked up a small, cheap bicycle bell when we were in Tiger buying some bits and fastened it onto the carry pouch / cup holder thing hanging from the handle bar of the pram. We went about our business, pushing the pram at a fairly normal pace until we found ourselves blocked by a group of slow walkers taking up the whole width of the pavement.
This was the perfect opportunity!
I need to interject at this point that I’m all about the manners but being a parent takes it out of you and when your energy levels are zapped, sometimes you don’t want to say “excuse me”. When you’re energy levels are zapped, “excuse me” may as well be “MOVE!”.
I ding the bell, and they move politely out of the way to let me pass! It worked!
And yet suddenly, I feel like a douchbag. Suddenly, the etiquette instilled within me dictates that ringing the bell is the same as honking a car horn, which to me also screams “MOVE!”. I even tried it again with an honest smile afterwards to politely indicate that I’m not just being a douche, even though you’re being rather inconsiderate to other people by not exercising spatial awareness and walking in quintuple file at five steps per minute whilst taking up and thus blocking the width of the pavement when all I want to do is get past so that I can get home and cook my family dinner (ok, the urgency wasn’t to cook dinner, it was because I desperately needed a dump) – but it didn’t work. I still felt like a douche.
And that’s what it comes down to, being considerate of other people’s boundaries. My boundaries lie where defying most manners are concerned.
I’d like to think that it’s my paternal instinct kicking in, the protective nature of a father. And it’s true for the most part. Don’t jump over my son’s pram. I don’t want you falling on my child. I don’t want you knocking my son’s pram over. I don’t want you invading mine and my son’s space. But at its essence, don’t do it because it’s bloody rude.
Do you get pram-rage? Whilst we’re at it, do you have any parental pet peeves? Please do share!