Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

WHY don't we need a license to breed?

This morning I took my usual route to work—walk to the Woodside stop, catch the 7 to Queensboro Plaza, take the N or W to 57th, walk one block east.
As I’m getting off the 7 there’s an N across the platform, doors already opening. People are waiting three or four deep so I figure I’ll wait—I’m rarely in such a hurry I feel the need to play human sardine.
While I’m standing there I look around and see a woman two doors down. She’s trying to push her way on, even though it’s already packed, and yelling at people to move. This is nothing unusual. Except that her hands are holding something in front of her.
The handles of a stroller.
Finally she gives up and steps back onto the platform, taking the stroller with her—WITH HER LITTLE GIRL STILL IN IT!!!!
The girl, who looks to be about four, is screaming her head off, and for good reason—she was very nearly squished to death by a rush-hour throng. The mom looks pissed off. The train leaves.
For a second I wasn’t sure who I was more angry at: the crowd of *sshole straphangers, not one of whom was willing to move aside and wait for the next train (which showed up three minutes later, btw, and was far less crowded) so a mother and child could get on; or the f*ckwit mother who thought it a good idea to use the stroller—AND HER CHILD—as a weapon to force a spot on an already jam-packed train.
Yeah, I’m over that now. It was an easy decision. Sure, someone should have moved for them. But she never should have tried that in the first place.
When we take the subway, my wife and daughter and I, we usually bring the stroller—it’s a ten to fifteen minute walk to the station from our house. But once we reach the station we collapse the stroller and carry it. Why? Because it’s large and awkward and easily shoved around, and we think it’s both unfair to other passengers and unsafe for our daughter to try wheeling it onto the train. One of us carries her and one of us carries the stroller (okay, lately because of the pregnancy I carry both, at least up to the platform), and if we can get seats one of us holds her on our lap and the other holds the stroller in front of us, still folded. If it’s a little more crowded my wife can still usually get a seat—eventually someone gives up the “no, I don’t see you right in front of me” game and moves for the pregnant woman—and she holds our daughter on her lap while I stand and hold the stroller. It’s a little awkward, sure, but not that bad. And a lot better for everyone than the alternatives. The only time we do in fact have the stroller open on the subway is if it’s WAY off-peak, like midnight.
So yeah, this woman was crazy. And stupid. And selfish. But it was the little girl who got shoved around as a result.
I was half-tempted to walk over there and make sure they—or at least the girl—got on the next train safely. But I decided against it. I knew that I’d probably wind up yelling at the woman instead, telling her she needed to pay attention to her daughter’s safety instead of just worrying about catching a train.


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