One thing I love about living in the city is having interesting, sophisticated, worldly conversations with the smart, creative people one meets here. To wit, one of my recent favorites, concerning the question, “How do you get in the door?” I bet moms in the suburbs don’t have stimulating conversations like this one.
In the strange case that you were curious, here’s my version: If we are in the double stroller I kick Harper out, make her walk up the front stairs, then pull the stroller up the front stairs into the vestibule where I park, unload, put Ollie in the carrier, then lug everything up to our third floor apartment while shouting at Harper, “Go! Go! Don’t pick up the neighbors’ shoes! Just walk! No, don’t sit down and talk to Pretend-Murray! Walk! Up!” Or, alternately, if we are in the single, umbrella stroller, then I kick Harper out, make her walk up the stairs, unload whatever groceries we’ve acquired or cubbies that have been stowed in the basket, take these up into the vestibule, then fold the stroller and insert it into the stroller-pile in the hallway before lugging everything up while shouting, “Walk, Harper! No, Pretend-Murray doesn’t need a time-out! Go up the stairs! Up! Up!”
My friends and I like to discuss our other fox-chicken-chicken feed type conundrums – how to get groceries, walk dogs, take the subway, etc – in excruciating detail, grateful for every inkling that someone else has it worse. “Oh, you have to store your stroller in the basement? Drag!” It’s very enriching. And it’s not just the everyday household stuff either; it’s schooling (“How many pre-Ks is Punky applying to?”); it’s housing (“I hope the co-op board approves us so we can move into our $800,000 studio!”) – we just like everything to be about 12 steps more complicated than it is anywhere else.
But as I was transporting an IKEA haul up our rickety stairs the other day, having performed extremely complicated car-moving maneuvers (coordinating, as I do, all driving outings with times when the car has to be moved for alternate side parking/street cleaning anyway), it occurred to me that I probably secretly like all this ridiculousness. After all, it is a kind of a puzzle, a riddle to feverishly occupy my mind while my body performs numbingly boring tasks like grocery shopping. It becomes a kind of a game to multi-task as many tasks as possible, to transform an ordinary errand into a complicated series of strategic moves. Everyday life, become chess.
That said, I wouldn’t mind a slightly less crafty opponent, sometimes.