A Laptop Naptime Mama

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stroller Fascists by Joanne Rendell

While we are on the subject of strollers, I have an ax to grind. One very big, shiny, murderous ax which needs to be ground and ground and ground and…

You guessed it, I’m angry.

Today, while I was battling my way through the mayhem of New York Holiday shoppers and found myself jostled and shoved on a horribly busy crosswalk, I accidentally nipped a guy’s heels with Benny’s stroller. Even though the wheels are spindly and plastic and probably wouldn’t hurt a Chihuahua if they struck one, I dutifully shouted out my apologies. The man simply puffed on his cigarette, looked at me like I was Chihuahua poo, and swaggered onward in his 300 dollar jeans. The next moment, as I contemplated the stick-up-their-ass-ness of too many New Yorkers, I was jostled by the eager crowds behind me. Once again the stroller nipped smoking man’s heel. After I’d recovered from the jolt that pushed me into him in the first place and was about to shout out my second apology, the man turned on me.

“Once,” he hissed, his eyes scornful and his mouth puckered, “But, twice?”

Then with a flick of his head, he ignored my fumbling apology, and pushed off through the crowds. Of course, as soon as was gone, my cheeks flushed with a mix of embarrassment, anger, and indignation. Why had I been so lame? Why did I mumble and blush? Why didn’t I say something dismissive and rude back to him? In fact, why didn’t I pick up the stroller (with Benny inside) and crack it over the back of his head shouting, “And one for your head!”

Okay, I know the man had some right to be angry at being nipped (and I really mean nipped here, I didn’t exactly take the guy down) by a stroller a couple of times. But, cheesh, surely he could see I wasn’t entirely to blame. Could he not see I was battling among hoards of bag-laden shoppers with a rickety stroller and a hungry three year old? Could he not see that I’d just gone out for some milk and was simply trying to get across a busy, death-trap, car-honking Broadway to go home again? (okay, I concede he might not have been able to see that).

I think it made me mad mostly because it reminded me how inconsiderate people can be when it comes to strollers. There is way too much stroller inconsideration going on in this world. In fact, every time I leave the house with Benny in the stroller, I come face to face with a member of the “stroller inconsiderati.” Indeed, there are so many stroller inconsideratis out there, I’m now able to classify them into species.

Most common are the cross walk hogs. These are the people who, when I am waiting to cross the street, pass beside me and then promptly stand in front of the stroller. Then, when the walk sign glows, they dally across the road leaving me to dither this way and that as I try to get around them.

Second, there are the cell phone wanderers. These people are closely related to the cross walk hogs. They overtake me on the sidewalk as they chitter on their cells only to then swerve and bob in front of the stroller. Meanwhile, I trail behind flicking the stroller to and fro trying to avoid nipping their heels (and we know what trouble that gets me in).

Third, there’s the stroller blind. These people whisk by me as I try and haul Benny and his stroller up and down the stairs to the subway or in and out of heavy doors to shops. They do not see the stroller, they don’t offer a helping hand, and quite often they let doors slam in our faces

Fourth, there are the chicken players. These are the most daring of the stroller inconsiderati species. Unlike the stroller blind, they see strollers. Oh yes, they definitely see them and they dare themselves to play bold games of chicken with oncoming strollers. If they see a baby and a carriage coming their way, they walk straight toward them. They never, never, move off track and in the final moments, just as contact is about to be made, it is up to the stroller pusher to maneuver quickly around the death-defying chicken player.

And finally, there are the out-and-out stroller fascists. These are the folks who tut, huff, or even swear if a stroller so much as looks at them. If it blocks their way, or comes into a fancy store they might own, or holds them up when they want to exit a busy train, it’s not pretty. They let you know with their sneers or their biting words where you and your stroller belong.

Today’s snooty-pooty man, with his expensive jeans and foul smelling cigarette, has (I’m sorry to say) the makings of a stroller fascist. And what I’d like to say to him – and the rest of the stroller inconsiderati out there – is this. “Strollers contain kids. Kids grow up. And it is these kids who, in the future, are going to be making your jeans and selling your cigarettes. In fact, they are going to be pushing your wheelchairs when you’re too infirm to walk. So, please, treat them and their four-wheeled carriages with some consideration!”

Okay, I feel so much better now.

For more of Joanne Rendell's mommy blogs - including "Fishing for Poo," "Should Mommy's Wear Thongs?" and "What's that dangly thing between his legs?" then Click Here to visit her at the popular website, Get Crafty. To return to the Role Mommy home page, Click Here.


At 6:56 AM, Blogger Irene said...

Thank you for this. It was a great read after being bitten by my son on my nipple during one of our endless nighttime feedings.


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