Saturday, May 26, 2012

Subway panic

It was a very strange day because both Mark and I had late afternoon meetings and after some discussion I had agreed to cancel mine and go pick up Zoe from daycare. However, as I was preparing to leave he walked past my desk (we work on the same floor a few days a week) and said cheerfully that he would be happy to pick her up since his meeting had ended early. I considered going back to my student assignments for a quarter of a second but then suggested we go pick her up together. We have only done this once or twice, when Zoe started daycare 6 months ago.

Zoe was squealing from joy when she saw the both of us and we were all happily chatting on the subway back. At one point Mark suggested that we should go to an outdoor cafe not too far away from us, to celebrate the nice weather and that we had picked her up early. This meant that we needed to board a different, more populated train, at the central station where we changed. It was packed to the last square inch and as I squeezed into one compartment, Mark took Zoe in her stroller through another set of entry doors to the train. Or so I thought. As the train left the station, I saw Mark and Zoe standing on the platform mouthing to me that they would see me at the next station. Note that I always put my bag into Zoe's stroller so I now had nothing other than a lip balm in my pocket. No cell phone, no wallet. No problem, I thought, and got off at the next station so I could wait for them. Here I watched a mother with a toddler in hand and a pram trying to enter the now even more full train. Suddenly the train doors beeped and the doors closed WITH HER PRAM INSIDE THE TRAIN. The mother started screaming and as I was the first one to understand what was happening, I ran over to knock on the doors, mouthing that they should pull the emergency brake. Luckily the people inside did after a couple of seconds' driving and the train came to a halt, the doors opening so the mother could go inside to her pram. At this time I had noticed that she had her baby on her chest in a carrier. Thank god.

When the emergency brake is pulled on a train it takes a while before it can leave again. This was 10 very long minutes where I waited for the next train to come in. I boarded but couldn't immediately see Zoe and Mark. Then I saw a green stroller canopy and pushed myself through to the next compartment. Zoe was distraught and had cried ever since she realized the train had taken me but not them. Apparently they had experienced exactly the same thing except Mark had been able to pull Zoe out: the driver had closed the doors right on the stroller, scaring Zoe. She lightened up fairly quickly and we went to the cafe and I had two glasses of white wine. I can't wait till August where we will have a place in a daycare two blocks from our house. No more strollers in rush hour subways. Oh, and Mark called the subway security next day and reported the driver.

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