It's A Buggy Life: Why I Lost My Shit On The Underground
Mostly, I work out of central London. This is pretty cool - it's a great city, I'm lucky to live here and working out of The Hospital Club in Covent Garden beats any office hands down. There is a downside: it's a shit place to drag a buggy around. First up, there's the obvious. It's hard getting a buggy up and down stairs at tube stations. I've got to be honest though, it's rare that someone doesn't stop to help me and do you know what I do if they don't? I ask them for help. It would take a special kind of douchebag to say no. So, while dragging a buggy up and down the stairs at tube stations is tricky, it wasn't the source of my emotional outburst.
You see, the commute is tough enough without a baby and a buggy. It's not that I expect a high-five when I arrive in central London but I also don't expect a barrage of shitty-side-eyes. People tut when they have to walk around your buggy. They don't make room and I'll often find myself dropping the buggy down onto the road just to get past people. With a glance of their eyes and a momentary squint of their eyes, it feels like their saying, "Hey mama-shaped person...what on earth do you think you're doing out of the house getting all up in my commuting grill? Keep your buggy and squirty boobs out of my way."
You know what I'm doing? I'm bloody working, you tossers and I'm doing it with a baby chowing down on my boob leaving me with one hand and about three seconds to complete a week's worth of work.
So, when some douchebag shouted at me to 'move down into the elevator' because 'there are people trying to get on you know', I had had enough. My emotional outburst was the result of three years of pent up frustration. Firstly, Gayle (my business partner and I) both had buggies and we both needed to get into a lift at Covent Garden. As kind as people are, they're unlikely to help us carry a buggy down 193 steps...so the lift is kind of essential. It was getting close to rush hour and unless you're at the front of the line, you just don't get in with a buggy so we waited for ages at the lift due to come in last so that we could get on. And, get on we did...
I suppose it wasn't really shouty man's fault. I'm sure he couldn't see the buggies, but his tone combined with my deep-seated grumpiness was the perfect storm. Before I knew what I was doing, I had turned around and shouted across an elevator stuffed full of pretty reasonable human beings, "We've got fucking buggies...I'm not being a dick on purpose just to piss you off."
Thankfully, I won the crowd - the odds would have been against me if they'd gone with the other guy, but they didn't and he didn't make it on to that lift and we all had a laugh as we descended.
I realise I've made a long story out of a short story but the point is this: Londoner's are grumpy when it comes to buggies on the street, although once you're in the tube they seem to be quite helpful (apart from the guy in the elevator obviously...he was a bit of a dick.) Perhaps we could just be a little more patient with each other because essentially we're all out there just trying to get through the day with our sanity in tact and our, in my case, my kids still alive.
So be nice to buggies...we're not exactly loving the experience ourselves.