# Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So the other day I decided to take the boys to the mall downtown for a snack. It was a nice day, and I figured we could take the MAX (public transportation), which would be fun for our toddler. The baby would naturally come along for the ride, and a fun time would be had by all. I have ventured out with the boys alone before, of course, but I usually drive. It makes it easier to abort outings if there's a major meltdown, for instance, or if something comes up that requires us to change our plans. So going on the MAX was risky, but it felt like a calculated one.


Z had fun on the train, especially the tunnel. In fact, the whole getting there and back was just what I had expected - uneventful. The challenge came when we got off. Hubby insists I always overpack the diaperbag - but who knows when we'll be stuck in an elevator for hours and that 5th bag of raisins will come in handy?! I refused to leave anything out, thus making it too big to fit in the stroller, which is how it ended up over my shoulder. So there I was, pushing a stroller with the baby in it, a diaperbag over my shoulder and holding Z with my other hand. Go figure we have the one toddler who insists on walking instead of being pushed in the stroller (he actually prefers running, but we compromise.) I was heavily burdened, and could barely navigate my group while dodging pedestrians.


I take responsibility for being poorly assembled - clearly I had too much, and would have been wiser to have reorganized my load. Still, I was taken aback at how thoughtless people were. For the most part, they expected my crew and I to walk around them, instead of the other way round. Then there was the guy who came right at us. I tried to get out of his way but someone was to my right, and to my left was a wall. In the end I kept going and hoped that he, being less burdened and therefore better able to slip between people, would take the high road. He didn't. A few steps from us I made it a point to say "excuse us", whereupon he mumbled something and went to his left, which was free. Seriously, why not go there in the 1st place?!


Then we tried to actually enter the mall -- fun. There were a bunch of stairs, no automatic door and no ramp. Huh. "How do people in wheelchairs do this," I wondered. I knew there had to be an easier way in, but I couldn't find it. (I learned much later that there is a specific entrance on a different street for people who need the ramp.) Finally, I rolled up my sleeves, made the toddler sit in the stroller, and lifted it (2 boys and all) and tried to go through the door. Denied: I was too wide. So I readjusted the darned diaperbag, came at it sideways, and knew that this time we could fit. Denied: the door closed, and I had no hands free to open it. From behind me came a woman - my angel! My savior! Denied: she opened the door, went through it, and didn't so much as think to hold it open for me. I reached out with my foot, managed to wedge it open, and promptly dropped the diaperbag. It was a frustrating exercise. I was shocked at how self-absorbed people are. 4 or 5 people went around me as I stood there, trying to get in and not one of them said a word. I actually thought of asking one guy to help me, but when I met his eyes he very quickly looked away and walked off. Wonder what he thought. Did he think I was trying to sell him something? Or maybe that I was "yet another unwed woman expecting society to help her while she gets a free pass?" Or maybe he was just in a hurry and really needed to be on his way? In the end a grandmotherly type came from across the street and said she'd noticed me struggling. She held the door open, I sucked in my tummy, went in sideways, and darned if we didn't make it down the stairs, diaperbag, stroller with 2 boys and all:-)


The moral of the story (besides better-packed diaperbags!) is that we need to be a little more thoughtful out there! If you see someone who looks like they might need help, ask (don't reach out and give it without asking, because you'll probably get your head chopped off for that!) This experience has made me more sensitive to others. Just the other day I saw a woman who had - get this: a stroller, an overflowing diaperbag and 2 kids - struggling to get out of a store. "Ah-ha!" I thought, "I know the answer here!" Seemed so familiar! I asked her if she needed any help with the door. "No no," she said, "I can do it. But thanks for asking!" I smiled and went on my way.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 2:23:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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