We've all been there, waiting to get through a door whilst streams of people walk through it. Hardly anyone lets anyone through, and the term "ladies first" goes out the window. However, if you are carrying your toddler or pushing your baby in a pushchair, you are excelled through the ranks of those who are deemed worthy of courteous allowances. I cannot think of a time where this has not applied. I've been let in to lifts before others, had doors held open for me for long periods of time and I've even been sent to the front of a queue. If I'm feeling particularly tired at any one time and I have to go out somewhere, I will make a point of taking one of the kids just to make things that little bit easier.
Sometimes though, I get in to a scenario which I like to call a "buggy face off," that will test even the most resolved of parents. Picture the scene.
I've just finished doing some shopping and I am walking along through a precinct with my two sons. I have a flash double buggy, so the toddler is cruising underneath his little brother's car seat that sits on top. Both the boys are happy as we approach the lift area to go back to the car park. There are two pay machines available there so you can pay for your ticket, and as I approach one of them I notice a mother with her pushchair is just about to pay for her ticket at the other machine. Now at this point I'm thinking straight away I need to get in the lift before this lady. I know this sounds bad but if I have to wait the boys could become restless, which will quickly become a nightmare for me. She's only got one child but her buggy is one of those old fashioned pram things that looks like it's been lifted straight from a 1930's photo, so we are not going to fit in the same lift. Typically we both finish paying for our tickets at the same time and as we turn around the lift doors are open, with a pushchair shape space between a hoard of shoppers. What do I do?
Well, I am a gentleman so maybe I should let the lady go in the space? However, I have two children and she only has one. She would have also realised this stalemate, so unfortunately it comes down to pure speed. It's basically a race. We don't act or look like we are racing as this would look ridiculous, clambering for the final space in the lift. Instead we just try and act as normal as possible whilst trying to get there quickly. For me it's all about the start. I've got a wonderful system in place that allows me to back out if I realise I should be giving the spot away. You see, whilst I was deciding if it should be me or her that gets the spot, I've already gone for it. I am off the line so quick that you could be forgiven for confusing me as the offspring of Speedy Gonzales and Roadrunner. Half way there I've calculated who should be getting the space using my sound logic and highly moral conscience. If I conclude it should be her, I slow down and make a point of offering her the space. Anything else and I ruthlessly swoop in for the victory. I'm even telling people in the lift what floor I need before I'm even in there, to help facilitate my quick exit. The people in the lift don't care as to them it looks a completely normal scenario. Job done, I'm in the lift and on the way to the car park, guilt free.
Find out more about the true thoughts of a dad in my new eBook "Confessions of a 21st Century Dad" available from amazon.