This morning, Veronica boarded the bus at an earlier stop than usual.
"Yeah, I was walking M's dog," he said. "But right when I handed him off to my wife to take home, he managed to find an big chicken bone on the ground and eat it."
"Ah," I said.
"That's not good, right?"
"Ah, well, no, but--"
"I mean, my wife is watching him."
"Sure. I mean, in your shoes I would probably google 'what to do when dog eats chicken bone,' but of course you'd probably get a lot of alarmist advice..."
"Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to text my wife."
From the corner of my eye, I observed the beginnings of a guilt spiral.
"Or you could just call M's vet. I'm sure they get questions like this all the time. They'd give you some expert opinions."
"Yeah. My wife isn't responding. Maybe she didn't see the text? I'm going to call her."
"Hey, sweetheart. Have you considered calling the vet? This was the suggestion from Proust...who is shaking her head, because she doesn't want to be a part of this."
I told Veronica the story of Gosling and Lockwood.
ME: "I told Vidalia about it. And then I had to forbid him from e-mailing Gosling to ask him about his new best friend."
VERONICA: [laughing] "Vidalia! That's not how gossip works! You don't go straight to the source like that. Or maybe it speaks well of Vidalia. Maybe he just doesn't understand how gossip works."
ME: "Because he's never experienced it before? Oh, man, I don't think that was it, but it's an amazing theory."
VERONICA: "In high school, me and my friends never gossiped. We just said terrible things to one another's faces. I called it 'front-stabbing.'"
At work, Gosling had fled without notice, leaving behind a project that he had been given only because it was the only thing he could be trusted not to fuck up.
As such, I was somewhat suspicious when my boss, cajoling me into taking on the project, explained that I was "patient" and "detail-oriented" and so perfectly suited for said project.
"Ah, yes," I said slowly, "People often say that I'm...detail-oriented..."
Later, after I expressed some confusion to the sub-boss, she laughed and said, "Well, yesterday when she said that she was going to assign you to that thing, she said it was because you were 'persnickety.'"
"I'm persnickety?" I said. "What about Veronica?!"
"Hey, hey, I'm sensing some hostility here," Veronica said.
"It's just, out of the two of us, when one person finds an error in the catalogue, one of us just shrugs and keeps on trucking, and the other is all, 'Oh, no, we have to fix this entry, everything has to be perfect.'"
At lunch, my boss asked us about a mysterious restaurant "coming soon" that has been advertised on the side of a new building for the past six months, and Veronica waited the perfect amount of time before he said, "We'll just have to keep hoping that it'll be a Cracker Barrel."
Many hours later, Vidalia asked me how my stuff was going, and I told him at manic length, and he nodded sagely and said, "Well, I'm glad to see the flood gates have opened."