“Just look at this! This is just lovely, isn’t it?” Keira says, stroking her—or to put it more precisely, her son’s new buggy, all shiny metal with enormous wheels. Keira and I sometimes meet at the Almássy Park. The walk is inevitable. So is the meeting.
A whole year has passed since then. Keira’s one-and-a-half-year-old son, a neat and shy boy, is now sitting in a swing and breathing heavily. From time to time Keira gives him an encouraging glance, but then gets back to admiring the buggy.
My child is throwing sand around the sandpit, looking like a type of mini sandman making me want to sleep and dream good dreams.
“It goes so smoothly, and it’s so modern and quick,” Keira says tenderly, waking me. “And it will survive an earthquake or hurricane.”
Before kids, Keira whizzed around the world as a high tech consultant—whatever that means. She speaks several languages. Apparently, she made good money. She is no longer in a meeting room, but her mind resists believing this.
“I executed the following set of duties today,” Keira says. “Cook soup—check! Buy tights—check! Make a butterfly costume—check! Call a pediatrician—check! Study English with the girl—check! Learn colors and shapes with the boy—check! Clean the clay off the floor—check! Do the laundry—check! Wash the hair on two heads—check!”
She says all this, wearing pants perfectly ironed down to the mid-heel, and a wool sweater—as smooth as silk.
“How do you manage time to iron your pants?” I always want to ask her, but I never do.
“Here you can a find a compartment for used diapers. Here you can store pacifiers and bottles. This is a pocket for a feeding cup, and here is a spare wheel,” Keira says. “You can even store all of your electronics…everything has its place and nothing is left behind!
“It is so cool,” I admit.
“I mean—it has it all. I can recycle my garbage. I can put my banana here, in this organic waste compartment, and if I forget about my banana or apple peel, my buggy will remind me in twelve hours sharp! Can you believe it? It will literally say to me: ‘Throw it out before it starts to stink’.
The buggy will give you an alert and flash a red light. If water gets spilled or if the baby unfastens his belt, or a cookie gets crushed—you get a different notification from the buggy. You even get music!”
I see the woman from the bakery cleaning the front door. A group of elderly women congregate for their usual evening chat. I notice a couple of unhappy looking guys exchanging something small under a big tree. Sounds of an unsteady come from an open window of an upstairs apartment. Keira keeps talking.
“What it needs now is an extra secret pocket,” she demands releasing her boy from the swing. Then she looks up to the sky like a traveler before the journey.
“It’s time to run errands,” she says very seriously.
The next time we meet, Keira looks gloomy.
“Look at this,” Keira said with indignation, pointing at her daughter.
Her daughter was happily skipping about the playground toting a wooden dog with wheels.
“MY daughter! Of all the new toys and gadgets in the world she had to pick something from the Stone Age!”
Keira’s voice was trembling. I passed her a tiny bottle of whiskey I kept hidden in my regular old buggy.