If I Ruled The World

I know, it’s a scary thought.

Sometimes when I run, I’m very focused on what I’m doing. I tune in to how my legs feel, how my hip feels, how my stomach feels, how my breathing feels, how my thigh chafing feels and whether or not my hair looks adorable (it doesn’t).

Other times, my brain skips around and I think about fantastical things, like how much of a splash I could make if I ran right into a puddle on the Bridle Path.

This morning, I didn’t want to think about my run. I just wanted to do it — six miles, slow pace, felt great — and in the meantime, think about other fun things…

Like what I would do if I ruled the world.

Dun dun dunnnn.

I tried to keep my thoughts to semi-realistic things. So not, like, everyone is rich! We all have mansions! Puppies for all!

Parker!!! Look at that little face (hers, not mine, but you figured that out).

Instead, I thought about some changes I’d actually like to make, and which laws I’d put into effect, if I had the power.

First, I think it’s obvious to state that if I did happen to rule the world, I would get a tiara and it would be very sparkly. I would also like a throne, but not one with that weird crushed-velvet-velour-whatever fabric, because those create static cling, and I can’t risk getting my fancy Dri-Fit gowns riddled with static.

And now, instead of a big, deep, thought-provoking post like I know, I totally always do, I will share with you all of my “If I Ruled The World” thoughts that I dreamed up during my run today…

Airport bathroom stalls would be huge. That’s right, huge. I find myself traveling alone somewhat frequently, which means I can’t just leave my suitcase with my airport companion while I hit up the restrooms. No, I have to cart my giant purse, my laptop and my wheely suitcase to the bathroom — and into the stall — with me. It’s such a pain, and I inevitably manage to squeeze everything in there and then get stuck trying to wiggle my way back out. The door hits the suitcase and knocks it over, and then I bend down to pick it up, and my purse falls off my shoulder and onto the ground. Next thing you know, my laptop has gone for a swim in the toilet. Or you know, it almost does. Airport bathrooms need to be bigger so I can haul my luggage into them and still be able to open and close the stall door.

See? These are simple requests.

This picture is here because it's pretty. And maybe a little blinding. But I assume you wear sunglasses while reading blog posts, so I'm not too worried about your retinas.

New York City sidewalks would be for power walkers only. You’re not in a rush? Then move. Go lay in the park. Go hang out in your apartment. If you’re not hustling to get where you need to be, move it along and get out of the way. (One year, I made a resolution to control my sidewalk rage. I was unsuccessful. That resolution was stupid anyway.)

Just like the way highways have speed limits, sidewalks would have speed minimums. Imagine how efficient life could be!

That “Never Have I Ever” game would be banned from all post-collegiate parties. Nothing is worse than hanging out with friends, and someone saying, “We should play a drinking game,” and then someone suggesting, “Oh! Never Have I Ever!” And also, your boyfriend is there. And your parents. This game shouldn’t really exist. It’s terrible and judgey and let’s just let the past stay the past.

Babies and puppies would potty train themselves. OK, maybe this one is a long-shot and not totally realistic, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.

The sink counters in public restrooms would always be dry. There must be technology that can make this happen. Like a constant heater or blow-dryer or something. I realize a lot of my rules so far have to do with bathrooms, but it’s because I’m a regular there. And I hate it when I’m washing my hands in a public bathroom and I lean a little too close to the sink and suddenly my entire waist is soaked. How does that even happen?

While we’re talking about bathroom things, here’s another…

The Central Park bathrooms would all open at 5 AM and close at 10 PM every day. Every single day. This is important. Not “on sunny days” or “in the summer.” Every day.

DON'T ALL YOU PEOPLE WANT ACCESS TO OPEN BATHROOMS?! Particularly at 5 AM...No? You're good? Just me? OK. Great talk. Carry on.

Cigarette smoking would be illegal. Super illegal. The most illegal of all the things. Violators would be punished hard. I personally would make sure of it. I think I hate cigarette smoke more than anything ever. A person walking in front of me on the sidewalk who blows smoke directly into my face actually has the ability to ruin at least five minutes of my day. It’s the worst. And I don’t know if smokers know this, but it’s actually not very good for you. Something about lung cancer. Or emphysema. Or looking ugly. I don’t remember.

Fresh produce would be cheap. Or at least cheaper. OK, it would all be free. Just make it free. Free for Ali.

LOOK HOW PRETTY. Strawberries are my latest obsession. Also watermelon.

I love buying fresh fruits and vegetables, but it all goes bad so quickly, and I hate wasting money when I don’t get around to eating my food fast enough.

Lindsay Lohan and the Kardashians would never be leading stories — or covered at all — on the “Today” show or other, perhaps more hard-hitting, news shows. Keep that stuff where it belongs: on E! Or nowhere at all. It’s a sad, tragic day in this country when Kim Kardashian’s divorce makes headlines…for a month straight.

People would always give up their seats on the subway for the elderly, the pregnant and the cute little kids who look tired. It makes me sad when people don’t do this. If I’m ever really elderly or super pregnant, I’ll probably just sit on someone’s lap if they don’t want to get up for me.

Those Captcha codes on websites wouldn’t be so damn difficult to read. I am the worst at these things. It typically takes me about 12 tries before I decipher the code, and by that point my purchase has been cleared from my cart, my comment has been deleted and my Sudoku high score was erased. It’s so frustrating when I’m trying to type in the scrambled word but I can’t tell if I’m looking at a zero, the letter “O”, the letter “J” or a sketch of New Jersey.

People would be a little bit nicer, less judgmental and slightly happier. Just, you know, overall. No big deal.

My run wasn’t extraordinarily long today, so that’s as far as I got. I’m sure I can think of many more laws for when I’m eventually crowded Queen Of The World, but for now I’ll leave more of the fun to you if you’re up for it.

STATE YOUR LAWS: I’ll let you also run the world temporarily. So pretend you’re borrowing my tiara, and enlighten me. What would you do if you ruled the world?



72 Responses

  1. I so agree about the subway seat idea. Funny thing is, when I studied abroad in Barcelona this past semester, people there actually DID give up their seats on the metro. Like, always. But I’m with you–people in NYC definitely don’t do that.

    As for my rules? Massages would not be so expensive. Neither would women’s haircuts. Ok, nothing would be expensive.

  2. Bathrooms would have a min temperature! I know another bathroom one, but I too have to spend way too much time in them and one of my biggest pet peeves is freezing my ass off, literally!

  3. “Those Captcha codes on websites wouldn’t be so damn difficult to read. I am the worst at these things. It typically takes me about 12 tries before I decipher the code, and by that point my purchase has been cleared from my cart, my comment has been deleted and my Sudoku high score was erased. It’s so frustrating when I’m trying to type in the scrambled word but I can’t tell if I’m looking at a zero, the letter “O”, the letter “J” or a sketch of New Jersey.”

    YESSSSSSS. I mean…holy crap. SERIOUSLY. WHY are they so hard to read?? Every damn time I want to play Mah Jong, I get anxiety over figuring out what the hell those things say!

  4. I play this game a lot….my laws are not entirely PC so I can’t share (example: homeless people can hunt the geese around Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Less geese poop, less pan-handling. Win win). But I will say, yes YES to the cigarette ban. I’m battling the most disgusting neighbor-tenant right now whose smoke billows up into my apartment all night, every night. New law: you’re evicted, suckaaaa

  5. BAN…AUTOMATIC…FLUSHING…TOILETS!!!!!!!!!! I hate those things. I already have somewhat of a phobia of toilets to begin with, but when those things flush when I’m still on them, it scares the crap outta me (no pun intended!). I literally scream and fly off the toilet and end up against the door when that happens to me!!!!

  6. I would totally vote for you! This sounds like a great world to live in.

    I would just add a law where EVERY toilet (esp on the NJ Turnpike) have those automatic toilet covers? Greatest invention ever but no one seems to use it!

    Money would really grow on trees.

    Work weeks would be saturday and sunday. Every other day would be the weekend.

    I’d also work with mother nature to make every month have the weather of April – June. Seasons and natural rotation of the earth? Who needs science, really now 🙂

  7. I love your NYC side walk rule! Great idea! If only…

    My rule would be that there is a Trader Joes on every corner in NYC. Love my neighborhood bodega but would rather a TJ’S.

    Also, if people are on the quiet car on the train & they start talking, they have to get off at the next stop & cant ride for a week. People would certainly stop talking if that happened!

  8. I have always felt that the slow walking, cig smoking should always walk on the side of the street that is staring into the sun, let everyone else walk in the shade.
    and I want to wear your sparkly tiara

  9. Internet Service Providers (ahem…Time Warner…Comcast) would be forced to provide JUST internet service that is cheaper than bundling internet with a crazy amount of cable channels. I don’t own a TV and therefore will not philosophically pay for cable. But then I end up paying more??

    Oh, and teachers would get paid more…that might solve the problem too.

  10. Men would actually give up their seats to women in the subway, instead of racing and pushing them out of the way so that they could sit for one stop. When did chivalry die in this city?!

  11. I’ve been reading your blog FOREVER but have never commented. This post just made me laugh out loud. I totally agree with you about the airport stalls and bathroom counters always being wet. And the Captcha codes? So freaking difficult. Thanks for the laugh today! You rock!

  12. You’re hilarious. I am SO WITH YOU on the airport bathroom thing, what the heck? Also, seriously, have captchas gotten like a hundred times harder in recent months than they ever were before? I suddenly feel like I’m trapped in a frustration dream every time I try to leave a blog comment somewhere.

    I guess if I had to come up with a law it would be that people aren’t allowed to scroll through every possible ringtone looking for just the right one while in a public place. I MEAN REALLY, we’re still doing that??

  13. Only tall people should carry umbrellas in the rain when walking on the path (sidewalk). I’ve nearly had my eye taken out on more than one occasion. Oh, and I would ban people taking pics with their phones at gigs. Yawn.

  14. Totally with you on the airport bathrooms, as I used several on my return trip I felt totally justified using the handicapped bathrooms with my broken wrist.

    My law – teachers would be respected and paid more than sport stars

  15. Did you look in my fridge when deciding on your chosen produce to talk about?? So much watermelon. So many strawberries. So into them!

    Totally agree on the airport bathrooms and the smoking…I actually want to walk up to every smoker and hit them over the head with a box of nicorette gum.

    If I ruled the world? I would be given samples of every thing I ever want to try, like in Starbucks, or the grocery store, etc. And runners would get free PT, x-rays, ART, massages, etc. on a regular basis…on the premise of, um, aiding society by publicly promoting fitness? I don’t know. Also, PT Cruisers would be banned from existing anymore.

  16. Love it!! Oh and Lululemon would be less expensive than Target fitness clothes. And all runners get free running shoes at the end of each race. ANd we all get exactly 10 hours of sleep each night (work days would be 1 hour shorter). BLISS!

  17. 1. Subway doors would close ON people, just like they do in DC. Sorry, but no one is holding up a train of hundreds of people for their own personal timeliness.

    2. You would need a training class on how to visit and get froyo from 16 Handles.

    3. No one is allowed to borrow stamps. You know where to buy them, and I know I’m not getting that 44 cents back.

  18. my stomach and body would stop eff-ing up my running. i’m over it.

    also, people would put there own dishes up.
    i would be allowed to speed.
    and open mouth chewing would be banned.
    gym memberships would be free and i would always have access to a top grade spin bike.

    and i would have a 16 handles in my house (like richie rich)

    1. If you get a 16 Handles in your house, can I come visit? I’ll bring my tiara. You can try it on.

  19. Agree. Never Have I Ever = worst game. Hate playing it. Thank you for joining me in that club.
    My law would be you should have to take a test to be a parent. You have to have a licence to drive car you should have to have a licence to create new people and raise them to be respectful and productive members of society.
    That’s not too much to ask right??

  20. I totally agree with the sidewalk thing! That would solve so many problems. Maybe they could add like lanes for serious walkers and casual walkers.

  21. I love it! I’m with you on the bathrooms and actually busted out laughing when I read that! It grosses me out having to put my computer bag on the floor, but I digress.
    Besides the usualy 4 day work-weeks and mandatory siestas at work, I would also like gym memberships to be free. Or employers should pay their employees to exercise! Then we could fit working and workouts into our days without having to get up early or squeeze it into our evening activities!

  22. Ali, you are awesome.

    I would make the following things illegal immediately:
    – chewing with your mouth open (in public OR in private. It would be costly to install so many hidden cameras, but totes worth it)
    – narrating in movie theaters if you are part of the audience and not actually IN the film
    – baby talking for anyone over the age of two.

    I think it would be best of I stick to my day job.

  23. I think about ruling the world often. People would be forced to use turn signals when driving. If they don’t, they are denied driving privileges. Also, the runners and bikers on the trails would have the right of way, cars would have to stop. And it would be totally acceptable to be sweaty/stinky at work so I could run on my lunch hour and not have to shower just to finish out my day.

    I could seriously do this all day! 🙂

  24. Great post ! I could not agree with you more on the airport restrooms and dry restroom countertops – not to mention, nowhere to put an over-fully heavy purse/laptop bag while washing and drying your hands!

  25. I am so with you on the CAPTCHA things. I think I’d outlaw those.

    I’d also outlaw those big huge dually diesel trucks that spew fumes and smoke right at me as they pass me while I’m running. What is the purpose?!

  26. I would settle for airport bathroom stall doors OPENING OUTWARD. How am I supposed to squeeze my overstuffed wheely bag and huge purse around the door and in to the stall with me? WHY WHY?

  27. Agree on all counts. And just for the record, if you already think that about sinks in public restrooms needing to be dry … you’ll agree with it TIMES TEN if you’re ever pregnant. That belly is always just sticking out getting into things, ugh.

  28. YES to the airport bathroom law! This drives me bonkers.

    Re: the sidewalk law….STAY RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS! This should be the rule for everything: roads, sidewalks, bike paths, escalators. I get sidewalk rage all the time, but wouldn’t it be so much easier if people just stuck to the right-hand side all the time so there was room to pass them?

    I would add this law to your list: When there’s something falling from the sky (rain, snow, whatever) or the temperature is below freezing, drivers should be required to give pedestrians right of way. They’re in warm, dry cars! They can handle the 10 extra seconds that keeps us from getting soaked/frost-bite!

  29. oh man, I’m with you on the product. Do you know how much a 4inch by 4 inch basket of blueberries cost here in Japan? $12! A box of 8 strawberries is about $5 or 6. There’s just not a lot of farm land here in Tokyo. I just wanna be healthy dang it!

  30. I would put water fountains about every mile. Every where. I live in a really small town in IL (about 4000 people) so there aren’t many water fountains on my running paths. And you’d think that people in a small town would be so nice but they never offer me water. It’d be really nice to have the water fountains available because I hate carrying a water bottle.

    Or, if some kids want to earn some fast cash I’d have them set up water stands. 50 cents for a cup? Sure, no problem.

  31. These are all so true! Especially the “speed minimum” for sidewalks — I love it! If I were in charge, I would definitely shorten the workweek. I think 3.5 days of work and 3.5 days of play is a fair balance. I would also give runners the right of way at crosswalks all the time!

  32. I prefer to call this game ‘When I am elected Mayor of NYC in the not so distant future.’

    – At every intersection there would be speakers playing Frank Sinatra tunes for all to hear.

    – Only cabs and delivery trucks would be allowed in the city.

    – NO cars in Central Park EVER

    – No spitting in the subway

    – If you litter onto the subway tracks it is punishable by community service

    – You have to take an ‘Umbrella in the city’ class and get certified before you can walk the streets with one.

    That is all

  33. I would make employers have a mandatory hour of the work day dedicated to physical activity. I would obviously use this hour to run but others could use it for walking, swimming, pogo-sticking, etc. It would wake people up for the afternoon and take out the excuses of “I just have NO time”

  34. My God your blog makes me laugh!

    If I ruled the world…
    -4 day work weeks
    -teachers, police officers, fire fighters etc would get paid much more!
    -Flights to Australia would take 1 hr. Actually all flights would take 1hr. Yes my ruling somehow would = ridiculous advancements in aerotechnology. <– probably not a word, but when I rule, it will be!

    1. YES to the noble professions making more money. Seriously, give the teachers more than the professional athletes.

  35. These are all amazing. Slow walkers, STAY HOME AND GET OUT OF MY WAY. Also, can we extend the “dry counters” rule to my office bathroom too? Not sure what people are doing that the counter is always soaked…

  36. I would also ban smoking, cigars, and hookahs. Sorry smoke breathers, you’re not dragons and it’s gross. I would also ban mayonnaise. It’s disgusting and horrible. I would also have a genetic discovery with a vitamin that allows unlimited consumption of froyo, chocolate, desserts etc, with gaining a pound or a tummy ache.

  37. Super agree on the smoking bit! I’m all for “choice” and “individual rights” etc but smokers have to remember they don’t live alone in this world.

  38. I would be pretty pumped to have Queen Ali on the throne and putting all of these new laws into effect! Can’t tell you how pumped I get to snag the handicap stall in airport bathrooms. So so glorious. Also, Queen Ali, could you please look into getting rid of Rhianna? She’s a radio disease. I’d like to see that go away. Thanks 🙂

  39. I agree with SO MUCH of this…especially the cheap produce, the lack of celeb news and the big toilets in airports. But I especially agree with the potty training as we start the programme TODAY!!!

    And in my world…everyone would know how to use apostrophes! And when you lose weight it comes off your belly and not your boobs!! 😉

  40. SOOO with you on that captcha crap…

    And on the subject of airport drama, people would STAND TO THE RIGHT on the moving walkway and move their stuff out of the way so I can walk with my rolling suitcase to the left…whew…that felt good to get out, haha!!

  41. I wholeheartedly agree with the no smoking thing. I was just thinking about how disgusting and annoying it was this weekend when my whole condo started smelling like cigarette smoke because someone was smoking on the sidewalk. Rude.

    And sidewalks. I agree with that too. People can be so dumb sometimes.

    I would also like there to be universal quiet hours. I’m sure there are some city ordinances somewhere, but who really enforces those?

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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