The Great Leap Forward

Winnipeg to Sudbury (Pt. 1). DAY: 0.00km. ODO: 3,239km. AVS: 0.00km/h. MXS: 0.00km/h. ATM: 0:00:00.

Although the weather seems to be improving, I have decided to cheat and take the train the 1,500km or so to Sudbury, as I have heard nothing but negativity about the Trans-Canada highway above Lake Superior, and I’m not feeling all that enthusiastic about the US route. Given the choice between the possibility of a miserable two weeks fighting semi-trailers for space on a debris lined highway, or spending more time in Quebec and the Maritimes, the latter won out.

For the first hundred kilometres on the train, I was seated directly behind a woman with a baby. There were two babies in the car, nowhere near each other, naturally, but this one was asleep, and the other one was screaming – along with its’ two older siblings – so this one seemed like the lesser of two evils.

The baby was quite cute, for a baby, but his mother was irritating beyond measure. She talked to it constantly, cooing, gurgling, singing, and reading it books about steamrollers and garbage trucks (talk about gender role reinforcement!). Whatever happened to Curious George and Dr. Suess?

The worst part was that she was constantly asking him if his diaper was soiled. “Does Jayden have a stinky bum?” she would ask in sing-song fashion, followed by sniffing sounds. He never answered with anything resembling a coherent phrase (his age was apparently some days short of five months), but as she was feeding him breast milk very half hour, with snacks of oatmeal in between, the answer was inevitably affirmative. This would trigger regular rounds of diaper changing which, despite the presence of a Canadian taxpayer subsidised baby changing table in the lavatory, she insisted on performing at her seat – of which I and several other taxpayers were unfortunately downwind. A polite comment pointing out the presence of the lavatory changing table was met with “it’s much easier here” and continued colour commentary for the rest of us (“Ooh, little Jayden really has a poopy bum! Does baby want his stinky bum clean?”).

Happily, I was able to secure a seat well away from Jayden’s stinky bum and his moronic mother once we were passing above Kenora.

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