Yesterday, while I was on the way to the bus stop, I noticed across the street from me that a disoriented middle-aged woman left the sidewalk to amble along the driver’s side of a parked car and vacantly stare at the vehicle’s exterior. Then she returned to the sidewalk and approached a baby stroller a few feet away. At first, I couldn’t see what was inside—knowing Waikiki, it could have been groceries, keepsakes, a dog, or a baby. As the woman navigated the stroller closer to me, I saw an infant heavily wrapped in a blanket.
I was outraged that the woman had left the baby alone while she gazed at the car. At the same time, I was relieved that the infant was still there, despite her careless protector.
After a few paces, the woman stopped at some stairs leading to a house. She vainly tried to hoist the stroller up on the first stair. Unsuccessful, she lethargically pushed the baby carriage further along the street.
I hoped that the baby would be safe in the hands of this distracted and perhaps disturbed woman. I even thought of calling the cops. But before taking this drastic action, I wanted to confirm my fears. Unfortunately, I had a sudden surge of stomach distress. I quickly rushed to a restroom at a nearby hotel. When I returned to the street, I lost sight of the woman and child.
After taking a few steps, I saw some police aimlessly milling about. I fantasized that they were going to arrest the woman for child neglect and possibly endangerment.
Was I over-reacting throughout this unnerving across-the-street feel-bad encounter with a stranger? I fervently hope so. I do know this: the woman is a problematic caretaker.