Wednesday, June 20, 2012

If You See a Suspicious Package...

The Maclaren Triumph is the little black dress of New York's mommy set. It's a light-weight aluminum framed "umbrella stroller," so named because you can fold it up easily with one hand and sling it over your shoulder. That way, you can get on and off subways and buses without an issue.  

As soon as Henry was big enough, I bought one (on sale, of course). It's a good stroller, actually. It's surprisingly sturdy for how light it is, and I can actually carry it up and down stairs with Henry in it.  This is way more than I can say for our BOB Revolution jogging stroller or Graco Snap-n-Go, both of which were unwieldy monstrosities in their own ways. Up until this point, I had basically been confined to my neighborhood if I was going to use a stroller instead of a baby carrier.

I was so excited to be a cool, mobile mommy, that I took him on the subway with it on day one. Down the stairs of the subway station we went, super mom carrying the stroller, Henry and the enormous diaper bag containing at least four days of rations (just in case, you know, we were to be separated from civilization).

At the bottom of the stairs, we encountered a single entrance, the type I like to call the "jail" turnstile.  In case you have never seen it, it looks like this:

When confronted with this issue, my brain did not think, "Oh, there must be another entrance in this very large subway station with a service door and a station attendant who can buzz me through." Instead, it reasoned, "Hmmm, I guess I have no other choice but to try to squeeze through the jail turnstile. The MTA is so stupid."

Apparently it's not the MTA that is stupid.

I didn't even take Henry out of the stroller. Thankfully he was strapped in, because once we entered, the only way to make room for the stroller was to hold it perpendicular to the ground, standing only on its front wheels. That was my first inkling that maybe this was not my brightest idea.  But we were committed.

We inched forward; we were going to make it.

Then we stopped. Henry, the stroller, the big fat diaper bag and I were wedged unceremoniously in limbo, unable to move in either direction.

I was sure that the turnstile had some kind of timer that would imminently render us permanently wedged unless someone swiped another Metrocard. I started to sweat. I pictured the police -- or those elusive "MTA employees" you're supposed to tell "if you see a suspicious package" on the subway -- being called to rescue the moronic mom and her five-month-old baby from the turnstiles.

Two guys were waiting to swipe behind me. "Uh, are you stuck?" One of them asked.

"Yep, it appears that way," I replied cheerfully.

After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was probably only twenty seconds, I took a deep breath, let go of the diaper bag and heaved my weight against the front of the jail cell.

It opened.

"Okay, all set! Sorry!" I called to the small line of witnesses that had formed behind me, mouths agape.

I looked down at Henry. He seemed no worse for the wear; he hadn't even made a peep. I knelt down and kissed his little round face.

And on my way home that evening, I sauntered calmly over to the center of the station and exited through the service door.