In my gentrified neighborhood, Strollercizing has taken off. Strollercize is probably the biggest fitness innovation since Zumba. Basically, it incorporates rigorous exercise with the act of pushing your kid (or one you rented from the gym) in a stroller.
I can no longer step out my front gate without almost getting mowed down by a peloton of strollercizing yummy-mummies and stay-at-home dads clad in lycra. They’ve all named their kids after US states or brands of mineral water, and all they talk about is where to buy the best quiche in Melbourne.
Anyway, never being one to pass up on a gimmick, I decided the other day to get in on the strollercize action.
I dug a stroller out from my parent’s garage. Though what I found would probably be more suitable in a museum. It was one of those wicker and cane buggy numbers, with a fabric hood, perched on four large wheels. You know the ones demonic children are pushed around in by their suicidal nannies in horror movies.
Next I needed a baby, it would be creepy, after all, to just push around an old stroller. Pushing around a doll, on the other hand, now that’ normal. I pulled a doll out of a pile of my sisters’ old toys. It had little plastic feet and hands and a hollow head with a disturbingly adult face. Its eyes closed and opened depending on how you held it. I threw it into the antique stroller, covered it with a towel and got into my workout gear.
I decided to take Peggy, my badly trained Jack Russell along also. We made our way to the nearby foreshore, a prime strollercizing spot… when it is sunny. It happened to be a bitterly cold and overcast day, frigid sheets of wind whipped off the sea. Besides an ancient Russian couple walking their cat and a longhaired drug addict dancing around on the shore (gotta love inner city beaches) the place was empty.
I put my hood up and forged on, pushing the rattling, squeaking carriage in front of me and pulling Peggy behind me. She kept stopping suddenly to sniff something before urinating on it, wrenching me to a jarring halt when she did. “Come on Peggy,” I ordered, she didn’t listen, I yanked on the leash, she hacked but didn’t budge. Two strollercizing women appeared from nowhere, passing us as I pulled on Peggy’s leash again, they looked at me and shook their heads.
“Damn it, Peggy,” I gave up trying to make her cooperate; instead I picked her up and put her in the stroller. She seemed happy to be out of the wind, she let her head dangle over the side of the carriage with her tongue lolling as I pushed her along. The stroller’s wheels were fixed so it would tilt from side to side, almost toppling over several times. I went the direction of the two strollercizers.
I rounded a corner, in the distance I saw a little beach café and about a dozen youngish people milling about with their strollers. It was a strollercize meet. I removed Peggy from the carriage and we approached.
It was like something out of that cinematic masterpiece 2 Fast 2 Furious only with less tattoos. About a dozen yuppies stood dressed in Lycra, they were scoping out each others’ strollers, testing the buckles, kicking the rims, and discussing the pros and cons of carbon handle grips. A couple of them were running sprints, weaving in and out of traffic cones. They all made ‘vroom vroom’ sounds whenever they moved their strollers, the children squealed with delight.
“Vroom, vroom, vroom,” a woman approached me. “Hi, welcome,” she said, “that’s a nice vintage model you’ve got there, what is it a Rock-A-Bye-Baby, I’m thinking 1930s?”
“1920s,” I corrected her without any idea what I was saying. She gave the carriage a flick, “Heirloom cane, very classy.”
“Thanks, I did a lot of the restoration myself,” I lied again. She seemed impressed.
Peggy wandered around sniffing at her pram, “That’s my MacLaren Duo with custom hydraulics,” she said turning towards her pram, and those are my kids, “Perrier and Memphis.” Memphis looked about 10 years old, the stroller’s buckles bit into her. I thought about the considerable amount of psychological damage she was suffering.
“And this must be your little one,” the woman said approaching my stroller. Before I could stop her, she reached into the carriage, but then withdrew her hand quickly, “Oh I think she has had an accident.”
“What? That’s not possible.” I peered in. There was a little damp patch on the towel. “Bad dog, Peggy!” I growled.
“Woah,” the woman looked alarmed, “you shouldn’t call your daughter a dog.”
“Oh, no no no,” I assured her, “Peggy is my dog’s name, this is just a doll.” Not thinking I removed the doll from the carriage. Holding it by its leg I swung it in her face, the eyes opened and closed wildly. The woman stepped back.
“Jesus! What is wrong with you?”
I dropped the doll; Peggy ran over and started chewing on it like a maniac. Perrier burst into tears, Memphis just laughed.
“Get away from us, psycho!” the woman yelled. The other strollercizers approached. They closed in on me; I threw the doll back into the stroller and began briskly strollercizing away from them.
They gave chase, I could hear the vrooming sounds on the wind. As I ran the stroller pitched violently, I lost control and it toppled onto its side the doll flew out onto the sand. The drug addict danced over, picked it up, blamed it for something and threw it away into the ocean.
It wasn’t until I had reached my front gate that I felt safe enough to look back.
It was only Peggy, she was dripping wet and holding the doll in her mouth. She dropped it, sniffed it, then urinated on it.