Here is the lake path I have mentioned in a previous post. With summer upon us, it is even busier than usual (though you can’t really tell by this photo.)
You see all types on this path: young, old, big, small, athletes sprinting and elderly hobbling. There are tons of dogs, and tons of strollers, and a good smattering of dogs in strollers. Cyclists like this path too, and I’ve seen such strange sights as unicycles, tandem bikes, and rowing bicycles.
My point is, this place is busy, and with so many people moving in various capacities at speeds ranging from stroll to sprint, it helps to have some traffic flow rules. And they do: stay to the right, and pass to the left. Easy, right?
Most everyone follows this, with one big exception: the Stroller Gangs.
The Stroller Gangs do not care about the rules of the road. They are too mighty a force to be bothered with such mundane things. They roam in packs of 3-5, always walking abreast so as to take up the entire path, leaving passing cyclists no option but to veer across the line into oncoming foot traffic, which is normally not a problem except when it is taken up by a Stroller Gang coming in the opposite direction, and then it can get ugly.
(I do not include in this those lone wolves out on their own with their strollers, or those people who actually share the road. The Stroller Gang designation is specifically limited to those packs of three or more who exhibit road hoarding behavior.)
Should a cyclist, or a runner, or a person with a dog get a little too close to a stroller in an effort to stay on their side of the road, they are often chastised for their risky behavior. The gang members will all huff in indignant unison, straighten their omnipresent visors, throw some goldfish down on the stroller tray, and lumber on down the path unapologetically.
So here’s the scene: Brody and I, out for a jog, passing a trio by veering into the oncoming lane. A bicycle whizzes by, which freaks Brody out a little. With all that adrenaline pumping, he decides he needs to poop RIGHT THAT SECOND. And when Brody stops, nothing will budge him until his business is done.
So we stop there in the lane, and I start unfurling a poop bag. I am standing over the poop while I wrestle with getting the bag open, because it’s one of those thin flat bags where you need to rub the edges together for a few seconds so you can actually get it open.
And then I hear, “EXCUSE ME.” The Stroller Gang, similar to the one you see above, has caught up. But it’s not a polite “excuse me,” it’s a “GET OUT OF MY WAY” excuse me. Barreling towards me is a large 100 pound double stroller, flanked by a couple of singletons. Were she to actually look at what I was doing, I would think it’s pretty obvious- I’m standing over a pile of poop with a plastic bag in my hand and a dog by my side, and I’d love to move but I do have one thing I am legally obligated to do first.
It would have been an exceedingly simple matter to simply break formation and go in a single file line for all of 10 feet, thus bypassing me and my dog, but her gait made it clear that she had no intention of doing that. The “excuse me” was really more of a warning than anything.
So I did what any reasonable person would do in that situation. I moved to the side and let her walk right through the pile of poop. It was that or be run over.
It made it a bit more of a hassle to pick up at this point, now that it was all squished into the pavement with a neat ShapeUps logo pressed into the ground, but it was well worth it. I heard a good bit of chuckling from the benches on the side of the path.
I imagine she went home and told everyone some awful person with a vicious muzzled dog let it poop all over the place and left it for her to step in/roll through, but I promise I was ever vigilant in my cleanup efforts. I try to be sympathetic to moms, being one myself and all, but sometimes you just gotta let someone step in it if they’re to learn.