It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Helpful Public

An old post from the draft files. (Anna’s having a clingy day, and her yelling woke Timmy early from his nap, so he’s unusually cranky…)


Out with the tots today, taking a bus downtown. As you enter the bus, each side has three seats in a bench arrangement, facing the centre aisle. Behind these sets of three are pairs of seats, facing the front of the bus. I set myself in the rearmost seat of the three on the side. One child is snuggled to my left on the bench, one is in the seat immediately to my right, facing the front of the bus, tailor-sitting in the seat on the aisle. The third is in the umbrella stroller, tucked in the gap between my seat and the child in the front-facing seats.

(A diagram would be helpful here, I’m sure…)

We have travelled fifteen minutes or so, chattering away, the three of us, when the woman across the aisle leans over to speak. I’ve noticed her watching, but as she never returned my smiles, I’ve tuned her out. It takes a couple of attempts before I realize that she’s telling me I need to move the child on the aisle to the window seat. She’s afraid that, when we go around a corner, he’s liable to fall into the aisle.

We’ve turned lots of corners and he hasn’t teetered in the slightest, but she is insistent. Where her English fails her, she supplements with lots of gestures and a fair bit of volume. If I thought she would understand my response, I might attempt to reassure, but I now understand that the reason for her lack of smiles was stern disapproval, so maybe not.

“Arthur,” I say. “This lady is worried that you might fall. She thinks you should sit in this seat.” He slides over. The woman nods, her mission accomplished, says something – and I don’t like the tone of voice – to her male companion, and gets off at the next stop.

“Arthur,” I say. “You can move back now.”


October 3, 2006 Posted by | our adoring public, outings, the dark side | 7 Comments