Strollers rule the road (or the sidewalk) in Stockholm, big sturdy strollers pushed by parents who feel they are entitled to right of way because they are dealing with a crying baby or whining toddler, and you, well, are not.
Before I had a baby, I hated walking in certain neighborhoods of downtown Stockholm for fear of being run off the sidewalk into heavy traffic by a pack of “latte” moms.
Now, of course, I am the one pushing the stroller, taking my space, cutting off people in the supermarkets with ridiculously narrow lanes, ummm, aisles.
But there is one place where the stroller loses all power — on buses.
People with strollers ride free on Stockholm buses. Many buses have only has two or three stroller spots. And there are often LOTS more people with strollers who want to ride the buses.
So you can wait an hour as bus after bus shows up, opens its doors, and reveals a wall of strollers, their owners looking haughty as snot runs down their child’s nose.
And, like most things built for power, strollers do not maneuver well. So you get cut off by high school kids and middle-aged women. And then there is the worst – when people could make room for you and your stroller on the bus. But they don’t. They leave their stroller parked diagonally or pull the uniquely Swedish move of standing right in front of a bus or subway door and refusing to move or acknowledge you.
It is enough to make one start cursing on a bus. If one raised one’s voice in Sweden, which one does not do.
Nope, better to just get that stroller on some open sidewalk and take out your aggressions on that distracted woman talking on her mobile phone and getting in your way.