Written for http://www.852mamas.com
OK Hong Kong Mamas, I’m going to take a confident position here and assume we’ve all experienced what I like to call ‘Silent Lift Anger‘. Please entertain me as I explain:
I’ve lived in Hong Kong for over two years before experiencing Silent Lift Anger (yes, my fellow Americans – it’s elevator…but when in Rome). Once you have a baby, and in my case two, everything changes!
My first experience with SLA was with my husband and newborn baby in the MTR at Hong Kong Station. I didn’t realize at the time that this would become a regular occurrence.
I was discharged from Queen Mary Hospital on Friday night. Yet, I was requested – well actually firmly instructed to visit the hospital the NEXT morning after discharge, which I thought was completely bizarre! Saturday morning we go to the hospital and they instruct us to return yet again on Monday morning. So now it’s Monday, and Mama is exhausted! We decide to skip yet another $600 Uber ride and take the train from Lantau to Queen Mary. As we exit the train and make our way to the lift we notice people (able-bodied people) rushing to the lift. We make it in time with our stroller (buggy) to stand behind 3 adults. Behind us is a little old lady in a wheel chair with her relative or caretaker. My husband passively makes a comment about lift priority which goes either completely ignored or, they didn’t hear him or, don’t speak English. We push ourselves onto the lift and proceed to make our way to the Central MTR to transfer trains. This is where it gets quite annoying, the Central lift is TINY and only so many of us can fit, let alone with a stroller. Again, able-bodies push through to make it in front of us on the lift.
Here enters my Silent Lift Anger!
Inside, I’m furious, frustrated, annoyed….can’t they see we have a baby? Don’t they understand the lifts should be for people like us and wheelchairs? Why can’t they just take the escalators? Shouldn’t they at least offer for us to go first considering the signage painted at their feet tells them so?
I’m not bold enough to call out strangers. I also sometimes struggle with impostor syndrome since, well, I’m a foreigner in this country. Still, I want them to follow my cultural etiquette when it comes to lifts! That’s a bit arrogant of me right? I mean, I’m in Hong Kong and this is obviously what seems to be the norm here. When I look around, everyone else seems to just accept it. So, I just scream and yell on the inside…Silent Lift Anger!
This has now gone on for over 8 months. When you have a stroller in Hong Kong – these experiences happen weekly! I’ve had so many moments of Silent Lift Anger – to the point where I’m walking out of the lift and having full conversations in my head of what I wanted to say, witty things I should have said and dirty looks that are universal. I’m sure people passing me on the street thought I was a sleep deprived psycho mom with my crazy facial expressions and my mouth murmuring slowly with no words exiting!
A few times I found myself bold enough to say, “the escalators are working!!“. Usually, this boldness is proceeded by a play-date or lunch-date with other Mamas and they embolden me with that wonderful Mama Power that comes after a simple coffee and teething chat. It’s amazing how a little time with other Mamas makes us feel empowered (or, like a failure depending on the group…but that’s another blog post, eek).
My Silent Lift Anger now lasts a good 30 seconds or so. I’m over it quite quickly because I know what to expect. I have to plan to leave earlier, avoid rush hour, get on the train car directly across from the lift if possible, push my way past people – don’t make eye contact (or do, depending on the situation), and simply adjust to lift etiquette that exists. I make sure to say thank you and extend a warm appreciative smile to the people who do show great kindness and consideration.
So Mamas, when you’re experiencing your Silent Lift Anger, just know you’re not alone! And eventually, you won’t need the lift at all!