November 8, 2011

November 8, 2011

WTF Product of the Day, Volume 14: The Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory

The train was particularly crowded this morning. Not sure if that was related to the end of Daylight Savings, the fact that it was Tuesday, or the earthquake in Oklahoma. Perhaps a combination of all three. Many Typical Metro Types were quite literally in my face as I rode: businessmen, students, quite-possibly-homeless, and so on. No tourists today, thank goodness, because there is frankly NO GOOD REASON for tourists to ride the train before 8 a.m. The museums don’t open until 10, people. Let the workers settle in before emerging from your hotel rooms. Tuck into an extra plate at the continental breakfast buffet. You know I would.

So, anyway, what WAS unusual this morning was the presence of a baby. I’m not certain of its age. It was small enough to fit in a chest carrier, but old enough to make comments as we rode. I found the child less-annoying than usual for two reasons: One, it was both physically and audiologically contained. Two, its mother spoke to it as an adult. Her tone, volume, and vocabulary were all the same as if she’d been speaking to me. (Which, mercifully, she did not attempt.)

Parents, take note! If you MUST use public transit during the rush hour, treat the child as an extension of your body. Keep it quiet, off the ground, and close to your torso. Under no circumstances should you ever use this:

So many bad ideas combine in this single product.

It takes up a lot of space. Space that instead could hold two or three commuters. I am already uncomfortably intimate with people’s messenger bags on a daily basis. Your child shouldn’t have to suffer through it, too. But if s/he kicks? Make no mistake: WE WILL KICK BACK.

It could easily get caught in the train doors. I have seen people lose backpacks, beverages, and lesser extremities in train doors. As Metro will oft remind you: “Our doors are not like elevator doors.” See, unlike elevator doors and politicians’ pants, they stay closed. Best case scenario: your kid makes it onto the train while you end up a smear on the platform. Unfortunately for your kid, you’re probably the one with the farecard and he is going to have a lot of trouble reaching the Exitfare machine.

It substantially increases the chance that your child will accidentally get shipped to Orlando. I ride the blue line, one of two that services the airport. Blue and yellow line riders see an unattended bag? As soon as the doors open at the airport stop, we chuck it onto the platform and carry on.* Our other option is calling it in as a potential bomb threat, and that’s going to shut down the line and add several days to our travel time.

We realize this is an inconvenience for you, too. Maybe your daycare was closed for the day or your child has a job interview downtown or something. The girl from those Verizon commercials probably got her start riding orange line from Dunn Loring. I get that. Just please do what we all try to do: keep out of the way.

* It’s little-known that the saying is “Close only counts in hand grenades, horseshoes, and the DC Metro. We put unattended pets at the zoo stop, unattended books at the Library of Congress stop, and unattended sporting goods at the stadium stop. It’s like a giant filing system.

1 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke:

WTF, indeed! Is it just me or does this seem entirely unrealistic?? Clearly they've never seen how heavy my suitcases can get (imagine child catapulting backward over it, and then laughing inside).

Also, your train's filing system is fantastic. It just makes so much SENSE.