There are official rules for most public parks. And then there are rules you learn by being there. For instance, in my park (Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta), officially, you aren’t allowed to drink alcoholic beverages except during a festival. Unofficially, it’s okay if you are having a picnic, put your drink in an alternative container and don’t act drunk, or if you are homeless and no one has complained in the last few hours.
Most of the unofficial rules seem to be about how you interact with others. Here’s some that I have observed:
1. Dog owners who don’t observe the leash law only talk to other dog owners who don’t observe the leash law unless they are retrieving their misbehaving dog at which time they say something unintelligible that doesn’t sound like an apology.
2. Women pushing a baby carriage who seem likely to be a non-English-speaking babysitter, will always smile as they pass.
3. Tall, thin, well dressed, blonde-haired women will never speak or make eye contact with short, over-weight, middle-age men walking alone.
4. When a man and woman are walking with small children, they will talk to anyone.
5. When a woman is walking alone with a child, they will speak to your dog, ask for the dog’s name, age and demeanor, but will never speak to a male on the other end of the dog’s leash.
6. When a man is walking alone with a child, the child will likely run up and play with your dog and the man will smile while continuing to talk on his cell phone.
7. When a man is walking more than one dog, he always takes the right of way.
8. Older couples will often smile at you in a manner that seems to imply that you aren’t dressed well enough or that they suspect you recently littered.
9. When walking the dog with your wife, she will make many new friends with people who you see every day, but have never met.
10. The currently preferred method to take a relationship to the next level is by taking photos of them in the park with a thousand dollar camera.
11. Homeless people are more likely to ask you to buy them a beer than food.
12. The larger the dog, the less likely their owner will scoop the poop.
13. Every third frisbee toss by a woman will purposely go far past the man who they are with.
14. Male joggers will only give way if you make eye contact so they can scowl at you.
15. The most profitable place to panhandle in Piedmont Park is the entrance from Piedmont near 10th.
16. There is a direct relationship between testosterone levels, foul balls and strikeouts.
17. There is an inverse relationship between sweat and sociability.
18. Use extreme caution when approaching if a dog is a similar size and/or weight to their owners – this is especially important if the “responsible” party is talking on their cell phone or otherwise occupied.
19. If you don’t earn the money to buy the beverage you drink, you are less likely to put the container in the recycling or trash container.
20. The best time to be in the park is just after the time it looks like it is going to rain, but doesn’t.
Please comment and share more park rules.