see. it's better when I don't read the fiction.
"Sitting at the table next to mine in a small Moroccan coffee shop on the Upper West Side, they were discussing “Wuthering Heights,” too loudly, having the kind of reference-laden conversation that unfortunately never fails to attract me."
"Jacob looked about forty-five; he was overweight, he was munching obsessively on these unappetizing green leaf-shaped cookies, and he kept saying 'obviously.' "
Ha ha. We had a joke once about "clearly."
"And a bearded young man next to them moved to a more distant table."
Get it? The young man was so pretentious that he had a beard, and yet even he had to move to a more distant table. Oh, I'm dying.
"Ilan added, 'But since Jane Austen’s usually the token woman on university syllabi, it’s understandable if your average undergraduate has a hard time shaking the idea that women are half-wits, moved only by the terror that a man might not be as rich as he seems.' Ilan laughed. Jacob refined Ilan’s statement to 'straight women.' Then to straight women 'in the Western tradition.' "
It happens in JUST THIS WAY.
"He had a great deal to say, with a steady gaze into my eyes, about my reading the New York Post, which he interpreted as a sign of a highly satiric yet demotically moral intelligence. Jacob nodded. I let the flattery go straight to my heart [...]"
This too happens. One blushes modestly and then . . .
"The only thing that came to my mind was the old joke that time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana. I couldn’t bear to say it, so I remained silent."
Under similar conditions, I have said it.