The imaginary subway ride

Almost by instinct, her husband and I started riffing back and forth.

Took the Daughter to the New York State Museum a couple of weekends ago. Actually, it was on a Saturday, since the museum was closed at the time on Sunday, for budgetary reasons, despite the fact that it was the second most popular visiting day. (Happy day: starting September 16, the museum will be open on Sunday, and closed on Monday, the least used day.)

The Daughter and I, in addition to seeing the exhibits, got to ride on the carousel. She rode about four times; I was satisfied with one trek.

We stopped at Discovery Place for kids. The displays noted that the world was hundreds of millions of years old. Given some recent conversation with relatives who believe that the Earth is only 7,000 years old, I was wondering how it would have gone down had we all been visiting this room.

One of the features of the permanent exhibit of the Museum is a subway car, not unlike the one shown here. There was this lovely older couple, who we had seen earlier elsewhere in the museum. She asked if the Daughter had taken dance lessons – she had – because of the way the Daughter moved. He said his wife was a great dance teacher, though she demurred over the description.

Then the woman asked why the train wasn’t moving. Almost by instinct, her husband and I started riffing back and forth: The train’s stopped because the new conductor is late for his shift. He was out drinking last night. But he’s very good at making up time. Though he tends to ride right past scheduled stops. He was late last month too. His supervisor is very understanding.

Though it was her joke that started the dialogue between her husband and me, she becomes quite bemused by it all. How did we know all of this information about the conductor? And how did we start to chat about him, as though we had rehearsed it? Her reaction puzzled me unless she too was acting. Or I thought of a totally different, sadder, scenario, after the fact.

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