Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Complaint

I'd like to register a complaint on behalf of those who are wheelchair-bound.

I am not wheelchair-bound, but I have a child who is.  Bound in a chair with wheels, anyway.  And we have both been house-bound.  So in an effort to break free of our bondage, we set up a lunch date with a friend in the city.  We carefully reviewed the subway maps (it was indeed "we," she was sitting on my lap staring at the computer.  I am educating her in all the things that are important in our modern society, including both email and bad tv) and checked which stations were accessible, and so proceeded to travel all the way up to midtown in order to follow such accessible route, though we really needed to get to Soho.

Of course, when we got to 33rd Street, it became clear that "accessible" was a murky term.  Apparently one could get from the mezzanine to the street and back, but one could not get down to the subway platforms.  Which of course begs the question of WHO THE HELL WOULD WANT TO GET TO THE MEZZANINE AND NOT ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE ACTUAL FREAKING TRAINS?????

I spent some time shouting that question in my head, and also yelling at whoever put 33rd Street on the accessible list--I had some choice words to say to him/her.

I considered riding the elevator up from the mezzanine to the street and walking down to Houston Street, but that's one ugly walk and even though I left TWO HOURS EARLY that wouldn't be enough time.   So I disassembled the stroller (and thank goodness I had a stroller that could be disassembled) and hauled all the pieces down the stairs and onto the train to West 4th Street.  Which was genuinely accessible, though I kept being suspicious of it, and staring at the signs directing me to the elevators (of which there were 3.  Not sure why it's necessary to use so very many elevators) with some skepticism.

Anyway.  We made it.  But there was no way I was going all the way back uptown, and considering that it was a fine if extremely blustery day, we elected to walk down to World Trade (well, this "we" is an "I" since Willow was sleeping at the time the decision was made).  We walked over to the river, and a lovely stroll it was.  Willow woke up outside the lawn where Dave and I saw Aimee Mann and Booker T, among others (I think.  There may not have been others), and she and I found a relatively discreet park bench and she had her late lunch (nothing like nursing a bundled up baby under a floppy cloth tent on a blustery day).  (Actually, it was kind of fun.  Challenging, but fun). 

And then she pooped, so we headed on over to the only place I could think of down there likely to have changing tables in the bathroom--the shopping center by the World Trade Center site.  And indeed, it was apparently the only place anybody else could think of.  The place was mobbed, mostly with nannies and babies.  It was crazytown, and Willow was fascinated.  We sat under the indoor palm trees for an hour, and I couldn't get her to make eye contact with me the entire time.  She was much too busy people-watching.

And then we headed home, because we were both tired.  We rode the World Trade train (only two elevators) and managed not to blow away.  So I guess in the end it was a nice day out, but Dear God, it was complicated, and if I didn't like walking so much, I'd have harsher words to say.  Also if it had been raining.


Kate said...

Slings are the answer. I couldn't imagine using public transport with a buggy, especially in London where everyone looks at you like you have to heads anyway if you DARE to bring a baby on public transport. *rolls eyes*

But good to read you had a fine day out anyway. :-)

Laura said...

Get a carrier, girl! We used a Theodore Bean front carrier, but anything will work. I don't know how I would've handled traveling solo (solo except for the baby, of course) through airports. I didn't fuss with strollers until she was older. No way. Carriers are the way to go. Plus, then they're right there, you know? You can can smell their heads. It's great. Strollers weigh you down.