The other night on my way downtown, I was sitting on a Q train that was sitting at Times Square, not in any hurry to go anywhere, and filling up with people. I sat down across from a couple of young men just in time to hear them resume their casual conversation. "So, I don't think this one is even mine," said the first guy, off-handedly. "I didn't see her for, like, three months, and now she say she pregnant."
His friend nodded sagely, the way you might if someone made a completely unsurprising observation about urban life, e.g., "The Duane Reade in my neighborhood is poorly organized." We've all been there, haven't we? And he said, "You dealing with women," and then paused for just a moment, apparently to adjust what he was about to say, having noticed that the car in which he was sitting was very crowded, and that crowd included many representatives of the sex in question. I, for one, was on the edge of my seat: teach me, O wise one!
"Men lie a lot," he observed -- no argument from his friend -- "but women lie better." And his friend (the putative baby daddy) concurred, nodding as if to say, "What are you gonna do."
I don't know whether they would have continued the conversation -- they'd exhausted the topic, really -- but a third fellow apparently traveling with them began, at that moment, to play a very large conga drum and make up a song about other people on the train. Seriously. I got off the train at that point, because it didn't seem likely to leave any time soon. Also, I wasn't sure the guy seated across from conga-drum-man was going to like the verse about his dreadlocks, and I didn't want to find out what might happen if he took offense. So I took a different train to my destination, which happened to be The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, but really I should have just turned around and headed home, because I'd already had my fill of domestic drama for the evening, and honestly, a scene like that is hard to top. Still, who knows? Perhaps the baby whose parentage is in question will grow up to be a great playwright some day. The next William Inge.