Man, this is the best Metropolitan Diary story in a while.

Dear Diary:

After picking up my wife's dry cleaning, I boarded a crowded but not crammed N train at 57th Street to join the evening rush hour. To keep my wife's sweaters above the fray, I held them aloft in the same hand I used to grip the train's center pole.

We left the station and the car was quiet until a large, dreadlocked man in the seat nearest to me said to his similarly styled friend in a lilting Jamaican accent, "You, my friend, are soft and cuddly as a kitten."

To which the man replied, "No, it is you who are soft and cuddly as a kitten."

This being New York, no one stared or turned their heads even as this repartee repeated itself. Back and forth they went, each kindly demurring to the other. "No, no, you are the softest and cuddliest kitten I know."

Looking for a place to train my eye, I stared at the dry cleaning I was holding aloft, and saw that the plastic bag covering my wife's sweaters bore a picture of a small cat playing with a ball of yarn, beneath which read the words, "Prepared just for you, soft and cuddly as a kitten."

I turned to the two men, who were smiling back at me.

"Ha, ha, we got you, man!" They clapped their hands and then, along with most of the folks in our car, burst into laughter.