Yesterday, I shot one more scene in my Mission: Impossible movie. The movie stars my toddler, me, and my toddler’s stroller and it follows our adventures around the pot-holed and broken pavements of Hamra. Good times. This episode features my husband.
Pushing a stroller down a street in Beirut involves so many levels of difficulty, the experience is just like a Super Mario game (yeah, I’m an 80’s kid, get over it).
As we leave the house, we have to maneuver the stroller down a 30 cm high pavement with my poor girl having to endure the bumpy ride.
Just when you take a deep breath as you finish Level 1, you arrive at Level 2 which is even harder because you encounter two consecutive hurdles in the form of a high-pavement island. You have to jump across the island and save the princess. Mind you, while pushing the stroller.
Level 3 is tricky, because when you think that the high-pavement level is over, you discover that there is a twist at the end: there are two steps that you have to sort of roll the stroller down over without upsetting the baby too much. Tricky.
At level 4, where miraculously, the pavement is made low to allow for strollers to glide, one encounters a block; a car is parked all across that space dedicated to ‘wheeled’ citizens. If you find another space to access the pavement you get a bonus point.
We arrive at the bank which is our destination at Level 5, only to encounter a major obstacle: 6 steps of a sharp incline. My husband flexes his muscles and carries the stroller, baby and all, up the steps. He needs a fuel replenishment after this exercise.
At Level 6 on our way back, and just when we’re thinking that this side of the pavement is better than the other side, we encounter the final challenge: the huge pot hole. The pavement is broken due to some mysterious “construction” project that was never completed. We maneuver around it and gain more points for being so dexterous.
And now the million dollar question: if perfectly healthy and capable people struggle so much to push a stroller down a pavement on one of Beirut’s prestigious streets, then how do disabled people manage to get around? The obvious answer is that they just don’t. This is why we almost never see any disabled people anywhere in public, they simply can’t exist in such a crippling public space. Pun, unfortunately, intended.