Today we met up with a good friend of mine from university. She was coming into town from the east and us from the west so we needed a suitable meeting point.
Since having baby number two I’ve been a total wimp about using the tube. I’ve got a double pushchair because George still likes to be pushed around if we are going any sort of distance. The few times I have braved it, I have been happily surprised about how helpful people are on the stairs. Without fail, someone has always stopped to help me either by carrying the pushchair or a child for me and that always warms my heart a bit.
However, I find those moments soooo awkward! I’m approaching the stairs which I know full well I can’t get up unless someone stops to help. I get closer and closer and glance around wondering who the poor Samaritan will be who will save me from my fate. Then, it happens. “Do you need a hand up the stairs?” “Oh, yes please!” I reply, sounding like I’m really surprised to be asked and was totally intending to march on up the steps by myself.
Then comes the next stage of this tricky encounter. I take George out of the pushchair, as he can walk up the stairs himself, but I’ll usually leave Sophie in situ. The kind soul (willing to help but clearly in a rush) then grabs one end of the pushchair and starts striding. I’ve silently been praying that they go for the handle bar end but this is a rarity. I am now going up the stairs carrying the full weight of the pushchair and desperately trying to keep up with my new friend. There is no way on earth I could, or would, exclaim a ‘hang on a sec’ or ‘slow down a bit.’ I am, after all, indebted to this hero without whom I’d still be at the bottom of the stairs. I just make it to the top and I go overboard with the gratitude. “Ah, thank you SO much. I’m really grateful, thank you.” By which time, they’ve already tapped their oyster and disappeared through the barrier safe in the knowledge that they’ve done something good in the world. I really am genuinely grateful to this person but also very glad this sweaty, weightlifting experience is over.
As, I’m sure, are they.
So, today I chose outbound and inbound stations that both had lifts. Problem solved.