By Ali Solomon
Is she even pregnant? It’s so hard to tell. From the angle of your seat, she doesn’t really look it. Maybe she’s just wearing a puffy coat. You’d be insulting her if you offered your seat and it turns out she wasn’t pregnant, but just had a huge breakfast.
Huh. She’s reading a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
Maybe she’s reading it for her friend, who’s pregnant and not on the train?
That is definitely what she’s doing: she’s just a non-pregnant woman in a puffy coat, holding a pregnancy book for a friend.
Okay, she just unzipped her coat and her bloated torso is reading more like “mini-person” than “mini-muffins.” Time to make your move and relinquish your seat to her.
But really, should you?
She probably doesn’t even want to sit. Bouncing around the subway pole like an unwieldy exotic dancer is probably the only exercise she gets all day. And standing for an hour really opens up her blood vessels and keeps her circulation strong. It’s probably easier for her to remain upright, rather than sitting and then having to get up when it’s her stop. Her sciatic nerve withstands enough pressure without dealing with all that up-and-down movement. You’re only thinking of what’s best for her health.
Besides, if this woman really wanted a seat, she’d just ask for one. People are at their most approachable during their Monday-morning commutes; the fact that two middle-aged ladies almost came to blows when one’s handbag brushed against the other’s arm shouldn’t deter her. Despite living in a city that considers pregnancy a “disability,” and having insurance that only covers the first three hours of labor, she can expect total strangers to be sympathetic to her plight.
If she asks you for your seat directly, you’d totally give it to her. You’re not a monster.
Someone else will get up for her. She’s so obviously with child!
Wow. Seriously? No one is offering her a seat? Ridiculous. Her belly button is literally poking that teenager in the eye. This is a sad testament to how low we’ve fallen as a community – nay, as a country! – where we won’t rise up to help someone who’s struggling to carry both the gift of life, and a suitcase the size of a refrigerator.
Look at the row of young men sitting in front of her, absorbed in their true-crime podcasts, intentionally oblivious. Chivalry hasn’t just died; it’s been drawn-and-quartered, then set ablaze by the flames of self-absorption.
You’d totally offer her your seat, but she’s not facing your direction, so.
It’s weird that she’s avoiding making eye contact, no?
How dare she judge you! What if you also have a perfectly legitimate reason for needing a seat on the train? You could have a prosthetic leg, or be recovering from mono, or suffer from crowd-induced vertigo? What if you’re pregnant too??!!
You are none of those things, but your new boots are a bit pinchy. Thank goodness you beat out those nurses to that available seat.
Snrzzzzzz….oof! You just dozed off! Yesterday was a long night; you stayed up ’til 4am drinking scotch and watching both Neighbors movies again. Seth Rogan is too much. It’s no wonder the rhythmic sloshing of that lady’s amniotic fluid keeps lulling you to sleep. And with your eyes closed, you can’t possible notice her, with her legs planted like tripods to keep from pitching onto your lap. If anyone understands what it’s like to have sleepless nights, it’s someone with a 6 lb. succubus draining her nutrients and kickboxing her urethra round-the-clock.
Wait, this is your stop! Get off the train, but not before graciously offering your newly-vacated seat to the glowering expectant mom who’s been standing in front of you for the past 45 minutes, popping Tums, swaying on her swollen, entitled feet, and willing her cervix to stay closed for two more stops. Self-congratulations! You are indeed a spectacular human being, and karma will repay you when this woman’s child grows up and someday contemplates offering her seat on the train to your grizzled, geriatric corpse.
About the Author
Ali Solomon is a teacher and cartoonist living in Queens, New York with her husband, two daughters, and an insane amount of comic books. Her work can be seen in the New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Huffington Post, and Belladonna, among others. Find more of her nonsense on Instagram @alisolomain, or Twitter at @Alicoaster.