Thwarted Negative Stereotypes

Who's Scruffy Lookin'

So, I scoffed about installing a carseat, but it turns out that it’s more challenging than I thought; I was told this unequivocally by the person who inspected it for us. The gauge on the side, telling you how straight it should be? It’s crap, it’s inaccurate. And you need way more tension on those cables than I had. And I had to buy some cut-down pool noodles to lift up one end, so it was level.

I was told all this, in this very terse manner, by a fellow named Michael who installs carseats professionally. Michael is a black man, about six foot nine and maybe two hundred and eighty tightly-strung pounds.

You wouldn’t think this would qualify or disqualify him from installing childrens’ carseats, and aside from the fact that there’s a noticeable pause between when he starts climbing into your car and when the last part of him makes it all the way through the door, I don’t either. But a few weeks ago here we were in a lonely corner of a Toronto industrial park, getting lectured on the finer details of child automotive safety by a man who clearly cared intensely about the subject, and who was coincidentally the largest man I’ve ever seen who wasn’t involved in pro sports.

It was a little surreal, but only because of some shameful preconceptions, so I’m not sure if there’s a word for that? Something that means “surreal if you’re ignorant”? Screw you, negative stereotypes, you’re never right about anything.

But after he tightened those belts down, the day I need to get that thing out of there I’m going to need a saw.


  1. Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    You would think that someone would put some more effort into making it possible for normal humans to install a car seat correctly. I mean, it is protecting your *goddamned baby*, shouldn’t that be important?

  2. Mike Hoye
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I am prepared to believe that it’s a good idea to seek out some expertise and then defer to it, given the stakes involved.

  3. Posted May 22, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    That is an awesome picture.

    Chad did not actually need a saw to get the infant car seat bases out of our cars when he installed the new ones, despite our local law enforcement officer doing basically what your inspector did, so don’t worry too much.

    And yes, I know what you mean.

  4. Melanie
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Just wait until you have to go traveling with the darned thing. Or have your regular carseat get lost by an airline and have to borrow one from the airline of dubious quality and origins. After the SECOND time that happened, I learned to check it “at the door” to the airplane and NEVER EVER let them convince me it had to be checked in the “oversize baggage” department, which is airline speak for “we’ll make sure maybe half these items get to your destination on time”. If your parents/in-laws are willing to buy/install their own for visits, GO FOR IT.

  5. Bobbi
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Love the photo, Mike. You are obviously Dad material.