I apologize to all the people who are offended by my pregnancy. You are happy to finally get a seat on the rush-hour train, and then I come waddling in with my Buick-sized uterus and my swollen feet of entitlement. You shoot me resentful glances as I try to maneuver around the immovable passengers standing in front of the train doors. You raise your newspapers to half-mast in order to block the sight of my unwieldiness. You become fascinated with finding a song on your iPhone, finding something in your bag, or pretending to sleep. After all, if you can’t see me, then you won’t feel any shame for staying put.
Now, why don’t I just ask someone for a seat, if I need one so badly. I tried that, once. A man beat me to an empty seat, and when I explained that I was 7 months pregnant and pretty tired, he raised up his pants leg to show me he had a prosthetic leg. Before getting up and giving me his seat. Which I took, because I am a jerk.
“I didn’t realize you’re pregnant,” explain a few genuinely sorry people who offer me their seats one stop before I need to get off the train. I get it. It’s hard to tell if my belly is filled with baby, or mini-muffins. I will give you a hint: it’s both.
Thank you, sir, for placing your backpack on the seat I was about to sit in. I know your backpack has had a rough day, what with having to snuggle on your sweaty back all day, and by night, in some dive bar stuffed under a beer-pong table. But it is hard to watch your backpack sit like a king while I cling to and flop around the subway pole like a hippo moonlighting as an exotic dancer.
And to the few (usually older) women who offer me their seats, along with unsolicited advice and commentary, thank you for the seat. No, I am not carrying twins, and yes, I am sure. I am indeed aware of how much longer I need to gestate, and how big I am. No, I have no other means of getting to work, what with my private chauffeur out on maternity leave, and my helipad on the fritz. I love it when random acts of kindness come with heaping sides of awkwardness.
Dear, dear, fellow straphangers, we are in this together. We all have to get to work; we all want a peaceful journey on that marvelous underground fairytale of a subway. Let’s make a deal: if, for the duration of my pregnancy, you offer me your seat on the train, I promise to make my children get up and offer you their seat on the inevitable day when you too are unable to stand.
Because you were kicked in the legs repeatedly for being a jerk.