Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kid O, Comedic Queen, Traveling in Style

When Kid O was very little, I used to take her on the subway and el two, three times a week to various appointments. Often stations were inaccesssible, and I would be asked to take her out of the stroller and walk through the turnstile. I'd tell the CTA worker behind the cage that I would have Kid O walk through if I could but she ablebodied and so I needed them to unlock the gate so I could roll her through. Most workers would grudgingly comply, but this conversation happened too often. I'd have to threaten to take down names and numbers. At least one woman didn't care if I did.

Subway steps are tricky enough without someone unexpectedly lifting up the bottom half of Kid O's stroller. Without a word, a hand would dart out, followed by a second hand and then a torso would appear. All followed by the friendly face of some well meaning human being. And, all too frequently, I'd have to tell that friendly, well meaning person to let go. Many would let go right away, but others would only respond to me harshly insisting. All too often a look of hurt would register on their faces. They were presuming to offer help that I never requested and were throwing me off my rhythm. One false move and I could have tumbled down the stairs. And Kid O with me. At least if someone asked first, I could waive them off with less consequences to a would be helper's psyche. Most would immediately move out of the way. A few persisted. If I wanted help, I would have asked. Sometimes I accepted help from people if I were trying to pull Kid O up the stairs because I knew that I was impeding their progress. I actually preferred their impatience over someone with a need to be helpful.

Snowplow operators are notorious for piling snow high up against crosswalks, and the blizzard of January 1999 was no exception. Was a mixed bag. I could stroller Kid O through the streets, but crossing them was a challenge. I had to lift her, stroller and all, and carry her over snow drifts. Each time Kid O would laugh uproariously. While I was happy to hear her laughter, I was always fearful I would slip. Sometimes when I'd be strollering Kid O in the street, I'd have to make way for cars. I remember having Homeresque reactions, "All right, all right, I'll walk in the mud." Mud. Slush. About the same in terms of difficulty. Kid in stroller for an additional challenge.

Kid O did love it when her dad or someone else would take the bottom of the stroller, and I would have the handles and carry her up the stairs. She loves being carried like the pasha. Just this past winter when the lift malfunctioned, I had a neighbor help me lift her wheelchair and all. More uproarious laughter from Kid O, comedic queen. She is the queen, and we are all merely servants. That's how Kid O likes it. Traveling in style.