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


  1. Superiority Sucks. And it seems that the bus is the place people like to make it known. See Life lessons by OC Transpo @

    Comment by Bill | October 3, 2006 | Reply

  2. Good for you. GOOD for you.

    Comment by Jenorama | October 3, 2006 | Reply

  3. That made me laugh. Did she see him move? That would have been the icing. I always hated it when people gave unsolicited advice. Please. Don’t they know who you are?

    Comment by kimmyk | October 3, 2006 | Reply

  4. Ha, good one!

    On your “banned books” post – the single person challenge is really something. It’d a good lesson to find out how carefully statistics are collected and whether they are really worth anything.

    Comment by Lady M | October 4, 2006 | Reply

  5. Bill – thanks.

    Jen – There’s only so much I’ll do to be polite. I do get tired of being held hostage by rude people – because I’m too polite to be rude back. Annoys the crap outta me, frankly.

    KimmyK – I can only hope she did! She’d also been watching him for a good fifteen minutes and never once did he even wobble. She was too busy being indignant to LOOK. Bah.

    LadyM – the other thing I found out was that a solid 30% of the names on the list were there because of “age appropriate” concerns. Now, possibly some of those concerns were exaggerated, but age appropriate concerns are not the same as demanding a book never be read.

    Comment by Mary P. | October 4, 2006 | Reply

  6. Gah, you’re way more polite than me in the face of that kind of stupidness. Boils me, that does. I really would have just told her firmly that he was fine, because I’m like that.

    Comment by kittenpie | October 4, 2006 | Reply

  7. Why are people like that? People are often telling me that I need to do this or that or put on a hat or take off a jacket or not take my baby out because she’s too young. Huh? She’s 10 months. When am I allowed to stop hibernating? I usually just try to ignore them. The one time I actually tried speaking with the woman who was harassing me, she sat and told me for a painful 15 minutes on the bus about how you shouldn’t drink water because there is AIDS in it and how I shouldn’t vaccinate my daughter because “they” are putting radiation in the vaccines and… I don’t even remember. It was just insane and went on and on in a stream of consciousness and lack of logic that had no end.

    Comment by kate | October 16, 2006 | Reply

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