Couple Struggle and look for Stroller Counselling

Life for Londoners took an amusing turn on this cold day in April as they watched a couple struggle with collapsing a stroller on the London subway. The usually good team hit unexpected snags and delayed pedestrian traffic as they moved over to the corner to enable rampaging Londoners to proceed during peak commute times. When interviewed later, the harried looking couple apologized for the trauma it caused fellow commuters. Fellow commuters, when interviewed, said the act was among the best shows of comedy they’d witnessed on an earnest and stern working day and many said they planned to laugh over the whole thing at home that evening.

In case people missed the fabricated news item – there it is. The unfortunate couple mentioned is us and the stroller was not ours. Being parents twice over and aunt/uncle multiple times over gives us a certain over-confidence when it comes to handling strollers. I mean how hard can it be? There is a lever there – push it down along with the button here and down it goes. Collapse – small and easy. Then you tuck the beautiful thing under your arm like an umbrella, competently hold your baby in the other and stride forth with your shoulders straight and your chin set to face the challenges of the World. Right? Wrong!

Just as we were leaving for a spot of sight-seeing about town, the brother and his wife(bless them) handed us their stroller and nudged us on. ‘Go on – it is small, quick and easy’ Ours being in the garage still, we gushed our thanks out and carried the stroller down 2 flights of stairs. I then pushed the thing about and it went. It took me a few minutes to realise that strollers have personalities. You read of horses and dragons training their riders – The Dragon Rider, The Horse Whisperer. No one talks of The Stroller Mesmerizer – but they should.

Just goes to prove that looking innocent and standing by the door isn’t always what it seems. It did not seem to like taking directions from a new stroller pusher. So, it would exert its personality and show you whose boss. I’d try to make it turn left to cross the road or something and the stroller would want to do nothing more than observe the pebble on the right. We coaxed and cajoled the beautiful green stroller and strolled along the beautiful streets of London (I find complimenting a stroller works.) I must also come clean and say the stroller was not the preferred mode of transport for the one person capable of sitting in one and half the time, the stroller gulped and set aside its pride and ferried assorted bags instead of a baby.

Marengo(Napolean’s illustrious war mount) would have been upset if Napolean got excited by a pig, when he was doing the important work of ferrying his rider into battles wouldn’t he?

It was the same with the stroller. I mean if I were a stroller and my rider showed visible signs of excitement at a painting of a horse while sitting on me, I’d be pretty upset which is what my little one did. Which is why I don’t entirely blame the stroller for acting up the way it did. But boy! Did it give us a shock? There we are: charging along the subway looking to catch the blue train home. Just before we took an escalator down, we stopped to fold the stroller. I hung the baby under my arm and pulled 3 bags from the stroller and hung them on various spots of my body.

The husband then tried to collapse the stroller. I watched him for a few minutes and then started doing the best thing in the world. Giving directions.
Just collapse it.
There must be a lever on the right.
No? Then, there must be one on the left.

The key thing to do while giving dumb instructions is to ignore the exasperated looks of the receiver. When beads of sweat appear on a cold London evening, you know you got to help. So, I upped the stupidity quotient of the instructions.

Check under the seat.
Maybe, the rain shield is blocking the folding mechanism.
Here, let me hold the stroller while you look under the wheels.
Does this one have a gear? It did say Sports Model.

Pretty soon, the daughter decided to get in the action. So, the three of us pushed, grunted and shoved. I took on more movable parts of the stroller apart for convenience and the daughter saw something bend. So, we all heaved and pushed. We got the thing to collapse after 12 long minutes and were still left with the rain cover, the cup holder and something else in our hands separately. We turned our heads to find a commuter smiling at us and saying, ‘Oh you know – you needn’t have gone through all that, you could have just taken the elevator there and rolled yourself right on to the train.’

Duh. Next time. There is always a next time.

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