Confessions of a Bad Parent

I’m a bad parent.

At least, that is, if the comment from the older woman I left standing at the crosswalk light in the middle of the Gold Coast Highway is anything to go on.

It was a loud ‘Tsk, Tsk’, followed by an intentionally louder than necessary, “Now don’t you ever do that,” to the five year old girl at her side.

The transgression that was causing her to send laser beam daggers into my back? It was simple, really. I hadn’t waited for the crosswalk light to turn green before walking across with Kaia and her pretty pink ‘t’.

From the tone of disgust and disdain in the woman’s voice it would be easy to assume that she’d just witnessed me dart in a ‘Frogger-like’ video game fashion in and out and between fast moving automobiles.

Not. Even. Close.

The truth was, the nearest car was more than a quarter mile away and just getting into second gear having just put Tugun’s main stoplight behind it. Without having to conjure up a clever hyperbole, let’s just let it suffice to say the coast was well and truly clear. So clear, in fact, a small Cessna could’ve made an emergency landing on the highway and slowly made it out of the way onto the grassy median separating north and southbound traffic. And no one would’ve noticed.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist, but we REALLY…had…that…much…time.

But apparently, a pedestrian crossing light is a pedestrian crossing light and I was behaving in an irresponsible manner as far as my daughter’s upbringing was concerned. And it was this notion, as I strolled leisurely across the highway pondering the meaning of life that, quite frankly, started to piss me off.

Don’t get me wrong. For the elderly, the sight impaired and the wheel chair bound, the use of a pedestrian crossing signal makes reasonable sense. Just as making a last second decision to dart across two lanes of fast approaching, one ton automobiles doesn’t.

But what we are left with today is different. Today are stuck with a mentality that is either unable or unwilling to differentiate between such obvious extremes. It’s an inflexible, black and white, all or nothing prism that doesn’t seem to allow for simple common sense. We’ve forgotten a not too distant past when we, as an advanced species, rode in cars without seat belts, on bicycles without helmets, drank water from garden hoses and (in Australia, at least) swam in backyard pools without government mandated, $3,000 pool fences.’s a slippery slope that now sees obedient, law abiding individuals-young and old alike-stepping out into green lit crosswalks…without a clue. With their faces buried in their ‘smart’ phones and without so much as even a glance to be sure traffic has indeed stopped, they proceed, somehow comfortable in the notion that, because the light turned green, they are automatically safe.

As I began to make my way onto the beach, it was, I admit, a lovely view from there atop my soap box perch. A view made better by the sight garnered from a quick glance back over my shoulder.

Because there at the crosswalk with a steady stream of traffic now blowing past, she still stood, all the while pressing the crosswalk button as if attempting to send a frantic Morse code ‘SOS’ message from a sinking ship.

The pained expression on her face said it all: the crosswalk signal had apparently missed a cycle and now, her tidy regulated world was out of kilter. Apparently even her dutiful, law abiding patience had its limits.

And, as such, I had all the vindication I needed.


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