Last week I was riding the 1 train down with Clara strapped to my chest in her Ergo to visit her Nana. I was seated next to an older man with a stern expression on his face. Clara decided that she was delighted by him and proceeded to stare at him with her wide, two-toothed smile. He kept trying not to look at her but Clara and her smile were relentless, He finally cracked a smile in her direction.
He looked at me and said gruffly: "I can't tell if its a boy or a girl."
Clara was wearing a blue striped fleece suit and a pink hat. I understood. Here is the rest of our conversation.
Me: A girl.
Me: Her name is Clara.
Him: I'm 76 years old. When I was a kid there was a double decker bus down fifth avenue you could ride for five cents. And if you got on and didn't have the five cents the bus driver would let you on and just ask you to pay next time you rode. Times have changed.
Me: I didn't know there were double decker buses.
Him: There are a lot of single mothers these days, having babies and not married. Times have changed.
Him: There are also a lot of mothers now who work. Can you imagine? Things were different in my day. Women stayed home with the children. Now they're working. Times have changed.
(A long pause while Clara reaches out her mittened hand to him.)
Him: Do you work?
Me: Well, actually I work two days a week, then I'm home with her the rest of the week. Her father takes care of her while I am at work.
Him: (thinks for a minute) Times have changed.
Yes, they have.