I was walking to the subway this morning and overheard the following conversation between and mother, father and young daughter:
Father: That’s what happened to Daddy’s ring.
Daughter: But how did you lose it?
Mother: Daddy misplaced it. He didn’t lose it.
Father: Daddy found it in his pant pocket. (seemingly directed to the mother) I was washing the dishes so I took off the ring and slipped it into my pocket and must have forgotten it there.
Daughter: And then what happened?
Mother: And then Mommy found it.
Daughter (after a moment of contemplation): But why did he put it there if he was going to lose it?
Mother: He didn’t do it on purpose. Lose the ring, I mean. He just forgot that he had put it in his pocket.
Father: Exactly. Daddy has to be more careful.
The rest of the conversation trailed off in the blustery wind that wrapped itself around me and the cacophony of the morning traffic that assailed my ears.
I thought about the exchange as I descended the stairs into the station. It was hard not to let my imagination run wild with scenarios of deception and cynicism. I tried to remember if the mommy or daddy had betrayed any stress in the tone of their voice. I decided to conclude my thoughts on the more positive note that I had just witnessed a very cute vignette in which a distracted father explained to his curious daughter the most common of scenarios in which an object was sadly lost and then happily found, albeit not just any object, as the inflection in the daughter’s “how” clearly underscored.