When the clock strikes 5 (or 6 if you’re less fortunate) on a Friday, you’d think that that would be the end of your troubles, right? The answer for many is a resounding NO. I am not talking about the terrors of the tube or the boisterously busy buses. I am referring to the miniature four-wheel drives that clog up our pavements and house tiny little infants. Yes, the buggy is now public enemy number one during rush hour!
Now, I would like to say straight off that I am a triplet. My mum had to lug a three-seater around town, so I am not against these baby transporters, but come on now, there is a time and a place. Pedestrian congestion (abbreviated to ped-tion from now on) increases twofold when they are spotted and the pavements become a battlefield of constant weaving and tripping.
Perhaps parents should note, Oxford Circus between the hours of 4 to 7pm is not time to decide upon a leisurely stroll with your toddler. In fact – you would think they’d avoid it given the detrimental effect to the health of your child and surely, their sanity! I know this sounds awful but let’s face it some people are not nice; they will shove, push and – in some cases – pull your hair to get home after work. It’s as if a particularly temperamental demon possesses us right before leaving the office, which makes us loud, intolerant human beings with only one objective – to get home as quickly as possible!
Baby ped-tion is okay if say, you’re strolling through Victoria Park or sat at some quaint café in Ealing, but once you start travelling through the inner city where the suits and heels begin to descend, take cover!! What really irks me is when mothers/fathers think it is their God-given right to block the pavements just because they have children. This is surely against the human rights of every couple/singleton without offspring and I think there should be a protest!
There was one time where I was walking down the street and almost catapulted myself forwards by misjudging the size of the wheels of a buggy. No, joke. They were like monster truck tyres, big and wide, and full of attitude. Like a normal person (or thereabouts) I expected a sincere apology from the mother of the child, and all I got in return was a scowl and a raised eyebrow. It could have been worse, but these were delivered by the baby, not the mother! Ego and leg bruised I continued my journey through the crowded streets, still wondering when another toddler tank would strike.
It wouldn’t be so bad, if these new four-wheelers of terror weren’t so goddamn stylish. A scene from the film Baby Mama (Michael McCullers, 2008) where Tina Fey and her surrogate are about to purchase a stroller (sorry for the Americanisation) and the salesperson shows them one with air bags and an iPod holder. Laugh if you will, but these mod-cons are all the rage and are frequently making an appearance on London’s streets.
Alas, I feel it is my duty to warn you Londoners that when the clock tells you that home time has arrived – be on your guard, in fact, arm yourselves with elbow/shin pads. As on your way home you may need to dodge some major toddler four-wheel drives.
Image by Kristine Paulus courtesy of Flickr