Dear Uptight Seattleite,I saw a guy on a bike pulling an infant in a Burley behind him, holding the leashes of two dogs trotting beside him, and saying into a cell phone, "Sure, I can talk now."Observant Oliver
Dear Oliver,Really? Well, I just saw a woman wearing ear buds, pushing a double stroller, drinking coffee, walking three dogs, and using a BlackBerry to update her Facebook status to read, "Jen is rocking out to DJ Shadow, enjoying a super-yummy Vivace cappuccino, and kickin' it with Justin, Zak, Twiggy, Gerald Ford, and Plato." So I guess I win? No, of course not. This isn't about winning. So what is it about? Maybe that's something you should be asking yourself.Dear Uptight Seattleite,Is there a graceful way to adjust your package while you're walking?Uncomfortable Fellow
Dear Fellow,The first step toward grace is overcoming shame. That sense that there's something dirty about your body—let it go. Let it drift away with the tide. Let the gently murmuring surf carry it away to rejoin the sea of discarded puritanical notions. Ahhh. Doesn't that feel better? Feel free at this point to take your pants off altogether.I'm in favor of being as comfortable as possible at all times, especially when it comes to my feet. Out in this rainy weather, my bare toes may get a bit wet in my Tevas. A little squishy-squashy walking down the street. Then when I go inside and sit across from you at Starbucks, my toes may be a little wrinkly, a little squirmy. They're my happy, hairy little slugs. One toe, two toes, wet toes, pale toes, look at all those full-grown male toes. Moist, squishy, and squiggly-wiggling in your face at eight in the morning.I wiggle to encourage you toward your own positive body image, Fellow. I'm here to support you in that. Think of me as your body buddy. And buddy, if there's one thing my years have taught me, it's the answer to your question. Which is no. There's no discreet way to adjust yourself while walking. It's better to seek shelter from view and just have at it. Do what you have to do. Get everything settled in for the ride and quickly move on dot org.But what about the female equivalent to this problem, the rearranging of one's bosom? I would like the record to reflect that I offer no advice on this subject because I've never stood transfixed in my Tevas and observed the delicate and secret little adjustments of the kind a woman might make under her blouse after an unexpected dash to catch a blinking "Don't Walk" sign on the corner of Pine and Third at 11 p.m. on the second Tuesday of last month.Dear Uptight Seattleite,Babies—why do they keep staring at me? What do they want?Freaked Fred
Dear Fred,Though it's true they're increasing the burden on the earth in a way that threatens our very survival, I'm certainly not anti-baby or anything. But I have noticed that they're terrible at pretty much everything they do. Including milk-drinking, which should be a specialty of theirs. Every time they do it, they swallow a lot of air. So one of the things babies want, Fred, is to belch. But they're not good at that, either. Again, I'm not criticizing babies here, just making some observations.One of the other things they want is to hold their oversized heads upright, which is always a struggle for them. I will say this, though, they do keep at it, a look of intense concentration on their wobbly little faces. When they take a break from that and lie on their backs, what they want is to control their hands, which tend to crash-land into their faces. If they somehow manage to get hold of something, like their own heads, they're amazed and want to know what it is. Some of them want that noise to stop. Or that dog over there to go away and/or to come closer so they can poke its eyeballs.As for why they're staring at you, I'm guessing they're simply puzzled. They're easily puzzled. And easily amused, so maybe you did something that was funny to them, like yawn or take out your car keys. There's just no telling with babies. As I said, though, I'm not making any judgments. Babies are doing the best they can. It's just that their best happens to be not so hot.Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.