Friday, May 9, 2008

Everyday Life: One strange duck

Wisconsin Rapids is home to some 18,000 people. It's really not that small of a town, so you'd think the people there would have seen a babywearer before. Well, the folks I ran into had never seen anyone use such a "contraption" to carry her baby.
"Don't you have strollers where you come from?" one older lady wearing a hat that looked like a bird's nest asked.
This was the first thing she said to us -- she didn't even know we were from out of town, but I guess I must have looked like I didn't belong somehow. Maybe it was the way in which I said "hello." Or maybe it was the baby strapped to my chest.
A middle-aged gentleman fishing by the river asked me if it took more time to put the baby into "that thing" than it took to go on the actual walk.
I took both of these opportunities to explain that G was, indeed, a very content baby while he's being worn. I cannot say so much for when he's running around loose and squawking like a pterodactyl.
Another older lady said I was treating G like "a bunch of books" because I put him in a "backpack." I could only try to hold back my laugh when I responded that G was lighter than my college book bag and therefore, much more portable.
My favorite experience, though, occurred while I was walking across the river on the bridge. A sputtering, rusty red, old-style truck carrying two strapped down mattress on the top and some oddly shaped fountain slowed almost to a halt as it passed us. The two men inside the truck, both smoking cigarettes, wearing sleeveless shirts and sporting baseball hats, stared at us with their mouths hanging open. The truck was almost literally stopped in the middle of the street. The windows were open, so I heard them explain to each other about that "strange duck." I, of course, looked around to see if there were any ducks near the river, and then I quickly figured out that they were referring to me.
As I looked back at them, the driver accelerated and the rust bucket of a truck and its old crummy mattresses sped away.
And I'm the strange duck?

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