(Rant) Fold It! Fold It Riiight There!

Don’t get me wrong. I do love children. Children are the reason I feel optimistic about the future of humankind. And what I tend to call championship strollers do have a place. In parks, on bike paths, and in wide open spaces. It’s just that this place is not, I repeat not in subways, busses, and other means of public transportation. At least, not fully opened. During rush hour. In a crammed space. With parents oblivious to the fact that their presence is an annoyance to dozens of fellow passengers.

Hey you, the new parent! If you’re taking your stroller on the bus or in the subway at rush hour you are allowed to fold it up so that it takes as little space as possible. You could also do as if it were a bicycle and take it to the last car of the subway. No harm in that! Or you could wait for rush hour to be over. In fact, you can even be considerate to other people and make sure that your stroller isn’t too much in the way.
Should a baby really take more space than five adults in a public space?

Gah! Some parents are so self-obsessed! I mean, rugged individualism is one thing. But consideration for fellow human beings goes a long way to improve everyone‘s quality of life.

Again, you don’t necessarily need to use a smaller umbrella-style stroller to use in public transportation. And it’s quite understandable that you need the best possible carrying system so as to not strain your back carrying your baby. But there is such a thing as noticing that the world doesn’t revolve around your very own child. Yes, every child is a precious gift. But can you imagine what would happen if every single child were treated the same way as yours?

Of course, people will call me a kid-hater or some worse thing. But I’m not angry at all! Really! In fact, when I gave my seat so a father could sit with his baby and take less space than his wife and their championship stroller were taking, I was smiling. Not a smug smile, mind you. More of a “children are so cute” smile. But when this lovely couple left their “we take no prisoners” stroller unattended while they became extremely attentive to their very quiet and happy baby, I couldn’t help but think that such a natural thing as parenthood could become an excuse for ignoring the rest of the world. And there’s a point at which ignoring the rest of the world can lead to angst, frustration, and conflict.

Not to mention that there are much better ways to carry a baby in a crowd! Some of them are even stylish

About enkerli

French-speaking ethnographer, homeroaster, anthropologist, musician, coffee enthusiast. View all posts by enkerli

2 responses to “(Rant) Fold It! Fold It Riiight There!

  • Alexandre

    A-ha! I knew it would bring me some interesting reactions! Turns out, being provocative is the best way to get comments. Who knew?😉

    Well, I do understand what you’re going through. And I did expect the “try a week in my shoes” defence. But, and it’s a big “but,” there’s a huge difference between your attitude and that of those people who are oblivious to the world around them.
    The baby I was mentioning was quite young (probably weighed 15 lbs. at most), had two parents attending to him, was perfectly happy to be in this crowded train, and had both of his parents completely focused on him. Yes, a baby counts as one person, with (hopefully) just one personality. The baby’s needs and those of dozens of adults can be weighed. If other people are accomodating, why aren’t the parents? Better yet, how can these parents teach their child to live happily in a diverse social context if they fail to even try accomodating others in such situations?
    There are different parenting models, these days. Some of these models are quite flexible and adaptive to the constraints of the environment. But other models are more inward-looking and, in fact, self-involved. These are people who didn’t expect parenthood to change anything in their lives and get angry when people react even politely to the trouble they cause. I’m sure you’re one of the former (flexible and considerate) and not one of the latter (pig-headed and self-righteous). If you’re in the situation of the majority of us, you surely appreciate the irony of a situation in which one of those “championship strollers” is used in a bus or metro. You, yourself, surely use an umbrella stroller when you’re taking the bus, and that’s perfectly fine with everyone. My issue isn’t with strollers on the bus. It’s with oversized strollers meant for running in wide open spaces used in situations where they bother dozens of people who are taking public transportation for all sorts of reasons. Including people who have trouble getting around and probably shouldn’t be shoved around by a championship stroller.
    It’s often good to think about what our own parents did. Yes, some of them did work full time outside the house. And they managed to remain socially active, bringing us around with them. Our personalities counted as much then as our babies’ personalities do now. But parents knew to adapt and not take for granted their place in this world.
    It worked.

    Thanks again for your comment!

  • fudgee-o

    I understand your point of view, but, as a father, who lives in montreal and who doesn’t have a car, and who, as anybody, needs to go from one place to another, sometimes not when I would prefer it ( including rush hour), because yes even when you have a child you still have a life, as a father I would like you to try, just for a week to live with a stroller and see if you are a fold-it-right-there person. I mean, of course you can fold it, and I try to do it as often as I can, take your baby in your arms, but should I remind you that “babies” are persons, and as such they have personalities, and as you and me don’t like to be distured in their sleep or simply when they are at ease. Just condider yourself lucky that the baby in the stroler is not crying his guts outs in your ears… Because after tree transfers and two bus rides, some of them get grumpy if you know what I mean… And thank you for not being one of those persons that looks at me in disgust when I don’t have any choise but to take the bus when it’s full. I mean, does it looks like fun? Having your 30 ponds baby om your amr, and your stroler in the other hand?
    Whatever, I gess that I am the angry one…

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