What’s with parents these days?! So, I’m hustling to work this morning as only I can because it’s freezing outside and I wore a skirt. Genius, I know. Now, anyone who has been in “The Big Apple” during the holidays knows one thing: It’s crowded. More crowded than normal. The most crowded time apart from the summer time when the Europeans (yes, all of them–but the Italians are my favorite, if only because they’re spending money, and lots of it, since we in America have none) are in town, is the month of December. December is the month when the Europeans coupled with the Midwesterners take over New York City. You know who they are: They’re looking up, they’re looking around and sideways, they’re stopping suddenly, they’re travelling in packs. The sidewalks are unbearable, and I don’t know what it is, but why, can anyone tell me, why do tourists wake up at the crack of dawn to get out into the rush hour foot traffic when we’re all trying to get to work? It’s the mother, father, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, the church/school choir, the cheerleading squad, and all the kids from the neighborhood.
So, I’m hustling to work. I’m on Fifth Avenue. I need to walk all the way up Fifth, and of course, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is off Fifth Avenue. What you see is the Rockefeller Center promenade (I’ll post pictures soon) and it’s a direct view to the tree and 30 Rockefeller Plaza (the NBC/GE building). I guess people want to get out early in the morning and during the afternoon to see the tree before the evening crowds (it’s so crowded the police is out in force and they’re using police tape–yes, yellow tape–for crowd control). I’m dodging people left and right. I’m bopping and weaving.
When you’re a Nuu Yawker, you don’t wait for traffic lights. I’m telling you now, they’re just there for show. You cross when you can, however you can. You might be standing on the sidewalk for 24 hours if you wait for a red light, especially during the holiday season. You cross in between cars, bicyclists, mopeds–you name it. If you’re from the “islands”, you have no problem with this behavior because you don’t believe in rules of the road. So, if you’re used to the city, this is nothing. You’ve done this ten thousand times. But you always have those tourists who think they, too, can do what we do. No you can’t. You don’t know what you’re doing and you’re going to get yourself killed! (sigh)
So picture this: I see an opening to cross while there’s a millisecond of a break in the traffic. I’m almost at the other side and I notice a mother, father, and I think there was a little girl with the mother, but what catches my attention is a little boy. They see me cross and perhaps a few others, and then the father and mother decide to do the same in the opposite direction (so, we’re passing each other), and I hear the father call out (they’re foreigners) to the son to cross with them. The kid looks like a deer in headlights. Obviously, he’s seeing the traffic coming towards him, while the mother and father (a.k.a Foreign Tourists) are already in mid-cross and the poor kid is now trying to run behind them. (P.S. Never run across the street. I’ve seen many a person fall and the cars are barreling towards them while they’re down on the asphalt. It makes your stomach drop and takes your breath away for a second.)
Ah, hello. Take your child’s hand and cross with them! What’s with these people? What’s with these parents having their kids walk behind them in the first place out of direct eye view? I’m sure you’ve seen them. They do it everywhere–on the street, in the mall, you name it. Well, Foreign Tourists are almost at the other side and the kid is frantically looking back and forth at the traffic, and the parents are oblivious because their own concern is crossing the street themselves. They have no idea the kid is panicked. Your life can change in a matter of seconds. The father is almost at the other side when he’s glancing back.
It’s like: Kid? Oh yeah. That’s my kid.
Sometimes I feel before anyone is allowed to become a parent, they need to be grilled, mandated to take parenting classes and tested annually. It’s just too easy for some people to have children. Too easy.