Torontos War On The StrollerAllana Harkin
I get that “The War On – ” is currently the most provocative catch phrase and is used most frequently by those who feel their rights are in jeopardy.
The War On Guns!
The War On Men!
The War On …umm… Peanuts!
I don’t know about you but I think the word “war” is being used far too liberally and far too often. War isn’t a good thing, and it usually involves someone getting shot. Which makes it almost laughable that there is new war on the stroller in Toronto. I get that other cities have also dealt with their own stroller wars, but the Toronto Transit Commission (The TTC) has taken it up a notch by seriously considering the various complaints. The problem being, now that’s it’s FREEZING, parents are lugging their huge strollers onto public transit and taking up A LOT OF SPACE.
Let me interject for one moment to clarify that there is a baby in the stroller. A baby who can’t walk and who, let’s be honest, can’t do anything.
A recent article in The Globe and Mail (one of Canada’s national newspapers) cites:
“Now, it is a fact that the issue is real. Like anyone who lives downtown I’m often gobsmacked by the sight of a bourgeois mom dragging a stroller the size of a Nissan Pathfinder onto a bus, streetcar or the subway. And it is, as they say, a ‘bourgy’ thing. The ostentation of the giant stroller is the hallmark of the well-off, middle class mother.”
News flash: Most “well-off, middle class mothers” aren’t taking public transit in the middle of the winter. They don’t have to. But you know who is? Parents (yes, dads push strollers too) who absolutely need to use transit. I’ve never, in my 13 years of living in Toronto, ever seen a mom lifting an “SUV” stroller onto a streetcar. It’s not easy and there is no guarantee that someone is actually going to help you. The strollers are mostly fold up umbrella strollers and nowhere near the size of a Nissan Pathfinder. And more often than not they are being lifted by an exhausted sweaty mother who’s panicking that she’s going to be the bus asshole. No parent wants to be the bus asshole. Trust me.
I can’t imagine these complaints are coming from other parents.
Like this one in The Toronto Star:
“Am I allowed to bring a bike onto a bus or streetcar? No. Why not? Because it takes up too much room. The same should apply to the ‘SUV’ strollers. Maybe they need a device similar to what airports have to measure your carry on. If your stroller doesn’t fold to fit into a certain dimension, then no go.”
Let me once again interject to gently clarify that there is a HUMAN BABY IN THE STROLLER and it is f*#king freezing outside.
Would it be ideal and more convenient that the stroller be collapsible? Sure. Are there parents who lose all sense of space once they have children? Absolutely. Do the majority of parents not want to make their lives more complicated and be the bus asshole? 100 percent.
Life doesn’t work this way. Sometimes you get stuck in a rainstorm, sometimes you realize your timing is off and you’re late, sometimes it’s so damn cold outside that you realize walking home with the baby is the worst idea ever so the best solution would be jumping on the TTC with your big dumb stroller. The big stroller you bought because the wheels are bigger which makes it easier to maneuver in a city which clears its street snow onto the sidewalks.
Give mothers a break. Good Lord. Most of us are just trying to do the best we can and any modicum of generosity or kindness is something we never forget.
When I was 9 months pregnant and days away from having a baby I remember climbing the stairs onto a very busy streetcar. Immediately the passengers at the front ducked their heads into their phones or books to avoid having to give me their seat. I was getting used to this so it didn’t phase me. After a few minutes the driver spoke into the intercom and said “I’m not going anywhere until someone gets up and gives this pregnant woman, that you’re all ignoring, your seat.” Once confronted with their obvious ignorance I had many offers and apologies of “So sorry, I didn’t see you.” And these apologies were sincere.
So, perhaps, instead of smugly sitting there watching “a mom dragging a stroller the size of a Nissan Pathfinder onto a bus, streetcar or the subway,” HELP HER. Offer to lift it. It could be the only time she’s ever been on the TTC. She could be having the shittiest day of her life and could use a smile. In fact, I bet you’ll feel better by being kind to her.
Or, you could do nothing but complain and give her the stink eye. Just don’t look too far when you’re looking to find the real a-hole on the bus.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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