I Get Around by John Kawie

Updated:Oct 29,2013

Excerpted from John Kawie's column "Life At The Curb" in the January/February 2006 issue of  Stroke Connection Magazine.

When I was home, recovering from the stroke, and able to walk with a cane, the high point of my day was to go to Barnes and Noble. But in order to get there I had to navigate the streets of New York City. This is where I’d meet people with Personal Weaponry: rollerbladers, kids on Razor scooters, bike messengers, Chinese food delivery guys screaming down the sidewalk on their bikes like Uma Thurman is chasing them in a sequel to “Kill Bill 2.” But the Godzillas of the urban armed-and-dangerous are, without a doubt, mothers with strollers!

Don’t get me wrong. I love mothers. I love babies. But there is something that happens when you combine the benign loving mother, innocent baby, cell phone, iPod, blackberry, a triple latte caramel macchiato with a double shot, and a stroller. Hey, this is the 21st century, and with all those stroller accessories we should call it the Modern Parent’s BMW, “Babies Migratory Wheels.”

This is New York City, so here, even mothers have attitude. Of course, they’ve been in Starbucks for the last 24 hours, they’re all gunned up on coffee. “Look I’ve got a baby, and I’ve got a stroller, so get out of my way you S.O.B., or I’ll cut you off at the knees!”

I would try to be sympathetic, but mom’s in a hurry, she’s on her cell, sucking down her coffee, and the kid’s wailin’ up a storm. He doesn’t know what’s going on, and the more he cries, the faster she goes. Does she think the wind will make him feel better? Of course, the faster she goes, the more he cries, because from his point of view it’s like the Indy 500. He’s terrified, so naturally he starts to pee. Wanting to be changed, he cries louder, and the louder he cries, the faster she goes, like a circle of hell on wheels, and I’m in the line of fire!

That’s just the single stroller, or “roadster” experience. Then, there’s the double-barreled BMW, the SUV of strollers.

What is the deal when you have two kids? You gotta take them both out at the same time? You can’t just take one kid out and put the other one in storage? What about your underwear drawer? You stash your money and jewelry in there, so the kid should be safe, too.

Let’s not forget the guys in electric wheelchairs. I know they have an edge. I was in a wheelchair once, too. But as soon as I hit the street, do I have to play chicken with Ironside? It’s like that scene in “Rebel Without a Cause” where James Dean plays chicken with another guy. Dean rolls to safety, and the other guy rolls off the cliff. Well, I’m the other guy.

Now, I’ve got a problem with stationary objects – cracks in the sidewalk, mailboxes, and parked cars. I’m not afraid of going off a cliff. I’m afraid of getting impaled on a parking meter. 

One day, most people will have a gravestone that reads, “Bob, a Good Man, may he Rest in Peace.” I’ll have a parking meter that says, “Time expired, here lies John.”


Editor's Note: For information on booking John Kawie's one-man show about stroke recovery "Life At The Curb," contact him at jkawie@aol.com

John Kawie's Life At The Curb Archive

More about John Kawie

Happy Trails To You
January/February 2009 Stroke Connection Magazine

"Up, Up and Away"
November/December 2006 Stroke Connection Magazine

"Only The Lonely"
September/October 2006 Stroke Connection Magazine

"Baby I Can Drive My Car"
July/August 2006 Stroke Connection Magazine

"Thanks For The Memories"
May/June 2006 Stroke Connection Magazine

"Jeans, The Impossible Jeans" 
March/April 2006 Stroke Connection Magazine

"I Get Around"
January/February 2006 Stroke Connection Magazine

"On Motivation and Medication" 
November/December 2005 Stroke Connection Magazine

"Operation Stroke Proof" 
July/August 2005 Stroke Connection Magazine

Editor's note:
For information on booking John Kawie's one-man show about stroke recovery, "Brain Freeze," contact him at