I’m a rule-follower because I think society operates better when we are all on the same page – and it’s all the more fun when you’re following a path where you don’t even know there are rules – like on my path building the company making the best and coolest daddy diaper bags. But I digress.
At the same time, life’s tough; we all need to give each other a little help from time to time, right?
And sometimes we need to bend the rules a little.
I rode my kid to a swimming lesson on our Yuba bike. For once, we were on time. The swimming lesson takes place in a community college swimming pool, so 7 year-olds and their dads are not the top priority.
Upon arrival, I realized I’d forgotten my bike lock key. (Long story, but I ride this bike so rarely I stupidly took the key off my keychain thinking “I’ll definitely never forget to bring this.” And for me to ever say “’l’ll definitely never forget this” is a laugh line to beat all laugh lines.”)
I walked into the pool entrance and charmingly asked the security guard, “Could I please stash my bike in the corner, here?” Readers – I promise you, it was basically a garage back entrance and there was ample room and we’d only be there 40 minutes and the bike would be out of the way and just…come on, man.
I knew it would be breaking the rules and this was a community college, above all. Like…nothing but rules because if anyone needs to be regulated, it’s hormonal college students.
But I held out hope that this guy would take pity on me.
And boy did I play up the “I’m just a stupid dad and I’m out of my element and surely you’ll take some pity on me?”
Yeah, I played into a trope I loathe (the incompetent dad) in order to garner sympathy. I might as well have started crying to a cop after being pulled over.
The man smiled and said “no.”
And I immediately pulled the “really? Because allllllll these people around us will be inconvenienced?”
Yeah, I went to bitter sarcasm uncharacteristically early.
The man said, “let me call my supervisor.”
Oh, no. This was not going to help.
“Hi, Boss,”he said, “There’s a guy here who forgot the lock for his bike and wonders if he can store it near the door?”
The guy listened, laughed, and then hung up.
He looked at me and said, “He said ‘go to a store and buy a new lock.’”
I was not amused.
I stormed away with kid in tow, leaving my extended bike that’s the equivalent of a minivan to be stolen by a college student,.
“Daddy? You’re really angry, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, buddy, I am. Because life is hard enough and I don’t think it’s that big a deal for that security guard to be just a tiny bit helpful. We are all in this together. Couldn’t he do me this tiny favor and let me store the bike just inside the door during your lesson?”
My kid was silent while I fumed.
I delivered my kid to the lesson and returned, much calmer, to say to the security guard, “I’m sorry to be frustrated, but life’s hard enough, can’t we all just bend the rules, once in awhile to help each other out?”
He smiled and shrugged.
I needn’t bother this guy anymore.
I realize I’m being completely entitled, but I feel strongly that seriously, folks, once in awhile we need to act like a tribe, a community, a small village. My bike was not going to clog a 30-foot-wide exit. Couldn’t he just gimme a break?
I’m raising my kids to know we all need to have each others’ backs and give each other a hand.
Follow the rules, kids.
Except when dumb dads just need a tiny bit of help.
Then you have my permission to bend the rules a little.
Gavin Lodge is a father, writer, rant-er and founder of ECKnox making baby gear for stylish dads, particularly the coolest diaper bags for dads – in fact the best diaper bag for dads – and moms, too, which make a helluva a gift for a baby registry and baby shower for those new dads and moms in your life. Feel free to follow the gear and the missives on Insta and the like. ECKnox is expanding beyond beyond just the best diaper bags for dads. Stay tuned.