Monday, February 11, 2008

Free Ride

A bus trip back in August (10 months)--before Miguel caught the waving bug. . . .

Today’s Guest Blogger is Michael, Miguel’s dad.

Gin has blogged about CTA troubles she has endured with Miguel—who really needed to get the pool before it closed, anyways? (see previous post.)

While most of my day-to-day travels with Miguel involve towing his bike trailer to and from daycare, I do find myself on the bus once or twice a week, usually running the odd errand with an agreeable travelling companion.

Since I’ve had a number of good bus experiences with Miguel, and since CTA has successfully averted ‘doomsday’, I thought I would extol some virtues of busing with baby.

There’s nothing like a free ride to stoke customer satisfaction. Although there’s been a lot of hype around CTA’s new seniors ride free policy, kids under six have always gotten a free pass at the farebox (when accompanied by a fare paying adult).

There may even be a way for Daddy to avoid the fare, too. My friend Josh --a parent, cyclist, and CTA rider--has hypothesized you could put your toddler on the bus, hop on your bike and meet your son or daughter at your destination bus stop. He reasons that the bike will always beat the bus, so there’s little danger of your toddler having to wait for you to catch up at your destination.

Though I generally prefer biking to the cramped confines of a city bus, Miguel’s latest developmental advance has made riding the bus loads of fun.

Miguel is going through a gregarious stage where he indiscriminately approaches any stranger with an enthusiastic wave and a hearty “Hiyee!” He is down-right gleeful to have a captive yet ever-changing audience to try out his newly-learned salutations.

Few riders can resist Miguel’s charms. After waving and smiling back to him, bus passengers are often very generous in offering me free parenting advice. Yesterday, an older Eastern European woman told me how once Miguel becomes a teenager, he will constantly beg me to buy him expensive designer clothes.

“Pierre Cardin, Tommy Hilfiger . . . he’ll want you to spend $200 on his pants and you’ll just have to tell him no,” she prognosticated. An older African Amercian gentleman a few rows back chimed in, “And don’t forget the Michael Jordan shoes--$150!”

I was tempted to inform all passengers within earshot that no, I wouldn’t have to worry about commodity fetishism in Miguel’s teen years. He doesn’t watch TV and he’s seldom seen the interior of a car. Miguel will be attending socialist summer camp, we read to him every evening from Das Kapital and we’ve been careful to only use red diapers.

Instead, I nodded my head and deferred to the wisdom of my fellow passengers. Wisdom I would have missed were I waiting with my bike at the next bus stop for Miguel to catch up.


Josh said...

Now an El car would at least be a good challenge, or perhaps the X47 Western Express bus.

lisa said...

Holy crap, is Josh seriuos? maybe it's because we have a girl, but I'd no sooner leave her on the bus alone than chew off my left arm! I love CTA in all its public grime and glory, and am the first to dispel fears of 'stranger danger' in most situations, but yipes too many freaks! What if one of them decided they wanted your kid?

Shawn Greene said...

Kestrel (being a small raptor)luckily has extremely sharp toenails and would fight any bus riding baby-knapper off tooth and nail (if she had any teeth)

Anonymous said...


nancy said...

I'm sure Jimmy Thompson's parents said the same things. I can still picture him in his platform shoes the first day of high school.

lisa said...

Yeah, by they time they're in high school, they'll be French kissing strangers on the bus! ;)

T.C. O'Rourke said...

$200 pants indeed-- only it will be $1300 in 2018 dollars.

Michael did a pretty good job with this post, but I hear next week's guest blogger will be arch conservative David Horowitz.


Eve said...

As an alternative to socialist day camp you could always have a house rule against asking for anything advertised on TV.

So he can ask you for $200 pants, but no brand names. This is also a good way to avoid the lur of "slice em, dice em" appliances, too.