Just a little while ago this morning. Sunday. September 8, 2013.
You’re pulling into the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts early on a Sunday morning before the church goers arrive so the place isn’t hopping yet and the lot is fairly empty and there are no signs of a line inside, and you see hobbling up the walk towards the door an old man with a cane. What’s the etiquette here?
You zip into the open parking slot nearest the front door, hop out as quick as you can, and hurry yourself and your eleven year old daughter up to the door ahead of the old man so that you can…
Get in ahead of him and let the door close behind you in his face.
What? You don’t agree that’s the proper behavior?
Obviously you are not a mother of young children or you’d know that you always have right of way in any situation.
In my head I’m still thirty-eight and able to vault parking meters with ease. I don’t think of myself as an old man with a cane. I think of myself as a guy in his prime temporarily benched from parking meter vaulting and using a cane for now while my hip heals. And there are plenty of people in worse shape trying to get around not just with canes but with walkers and in wheelchairs and by comparison to them I feel like I’m a punk kid on a skateboard. So it didn’t dawn on me what had just happened until I was inside and waiting in line behind them, leaning on my cane and wondering if there was some ibuprofen in the car I could down with my coffee when I finally got it, while two placed their orders.
Old men, truly old men, in their seventies and eighties, and old women hold doors for me these days and offer their places in line. Small children too and high school and college students want to carry things for me. I don’t expect any of this, but I have grown somewhat used to it. Seems everybody is happy to do the old guy with a cane a good turn. Everybody except…
Mothers of young children.
Who rule the world, they’ll have you know.
It’s up to the rest of us to keep out of their way.
It’s how the species has survived, I guess. These days they make sure their kids are first in line for a Boston Kreme, but once upon a time it was first in line for a slice of mastodon steak.
To be fair, this mother didn’t actually let the door close in my face. After she made sure she and her precious were safely inside she gave the glass a little thumb-push so that by the time I got there it was still open a good two or three inches.
So what am I whining about?