PLACE: A playground
LADY: My daughter Lucy said the cutest thing the other day. She was eating some applesauce, and she looked at me and said, “Mommy, how do they get the applesauce out of the apple?”
ME: My cat eats constantly. It’s getting a little concerning, honestly.
LADY: Oh. Yes … I, um …
ME: He has this meowing routine. He meows from the other room like six times per day. Right? And I just know that when he starts meowing, he’s hungry again. And I’m like, “Didn’t you just eat?”
LADY: I … uh …
ME: But he just keeps meowing, and I just keep feeding him. Mostly just to shut him up.
LADY: I see.
GUY: My son, Nate, took his first step the other day. I’m kicking myself because I didn’t manage to film it. What’s the point of having all these cameras around if we don’t capture these moments?
ME: My cat, William, has been walking since he was born, basically. He’s pretty nimble too. He walks on the upstairs banister a lot, and I’m like, “William, be careful!” But he’s usually just fine.
ME: Sometimes I watch my cat’s feet, the way his paws move. It’s really transfixing, you know? I’m sure it’s the same with your son.
GUY: You’re saying I should watch my son’s feet?
ME: [Not listening, staring at my phone] You want to see a few videos of William walking around?
GUY: I, uh … I suppose.
ME: [Scrolling through more than 2,000 cat videos and photos] Here, check this one out. Look how beautiful it is when four paws work in tandem, like a fancy watch.
LADY: Not to brag, but my daughter is incredibly bright. The other day, we were in the backyard, and she pointed to a butterfly—
ME: My cat loves butterflies!
LADY: Does he? That’s … great. Anyway, my daughter—Kylie—she looked up and pointed at a butterfly and said, “That used to be a caterpillar, Mommy.” I’m not even joking.
ME: My cat, William, caught a caterpillar once. He chewed on the thing until it was completely mangled. But he was so proud of it, and I wanted to support him, not publicly shame him. Right? So I said, “Good job, William.” Even though I was pretty grossed out.
LADY: Well … [Pretending to check her watch] I should be going …
ME: William is pretty darned brilliant too. How old is Kylie?
LADY: She’s three.
ME: Yeah, William is definitely as smart as a three-year-old. They’re probably about the same level of intelligence right now, my cat and your daughter. Isn’t that amazing?
LADY: That’s actually really rude.
LADY: I like to bring my son, William, to this park to get some exercise.
ME: [Stunned silence, my mouth agape, my eyes widened]
LADY: What is it?
ME: Your son’s name is William?
LADY: Yes … Why?
ME: That’s my cat’s name!
LADY: Oh. That’s, uh … Wow.
ME: Who was he named after?
LADY: His grandfather.
ME: Same with my cat! His grandfather cat is named William too! He belongs to my cousin. “William the Grandfather,” we call him. He’s three.
LADY: [Nervous laughter]
ME: What a day. Two Williams in one park. What are the odds?
LADY: Your cat is here?