The lady in the latrine, Julie DuBois, and I were on our first date after three weeks of shameless flirting. I’m about forty, Julie’s about thirty—a PhD in English lit, a professor at American University, learned, tenured, brilliant, blonde, blue-eyed—and, not that it matters, also quite attractive. I had been looking forward to this date for a week; I really wanted to get Julie’s take on Marcel Proust’s persistent use of subordinate clauses, a literary mystery I can never seem to get out of my mind—and yes, Julie was having trouble believing that, too. But men who date women for their looks alone are pigs.
Predictably, Katherine’s car was a leased Toyota Prius, what they call a hybrid, and, though I consider myself as sensitive to the assassination of our environment as anybody, Sean Drummond was not the least bit happy with this choice. The car didn’t even require a key to get started, just this stupid button you push, then you can’t even hear the engine, so after the fifth time I punched the button, Katherine said, “Stop that, Sean. The damned car is already started.