The trip was going to be a stronzo. It was reminding her of a Rome traffic jam once near Ponte Vittorio when a man in sun-glasses and an open shirt had gotten out of his blocked Fiat 500 and, from all the hundreds of jammed cars to choose from, had directed his clenched fist at her, screaming,“Stronzo!”

Connie had told Giorgio about it that night.

“Do you know why he chose me in all that mess to call a shit?” she said.

“No, why,” Giorgio had asked, idly attentive, getting out of bed to find an ashtray.

“Because he was an elephant!” said Connie.

“Now what do you mean?” Giorgio’s forehead had creased with impatience.

“That guy was like the elephant they use in log-jams in India or somewhere to pick the one log out of thousands that has to be removed to unblock the jam. But I didn’t realize it until after. If I had caught on in time, I would have taken the whole thing differently.”

“What would you have done differently?” he had asked, back in bed with her, smoking, more interested now.

“Instead of just sitting there, or giving him horns, I’d have waved and said, grazie. It was a kind of satori between us. You see what I mean?”

“It sounds like the same kind of rationalization that analysis leads to,” Giorgio had said. For he was a physicist, full of a logic that she never knew what to do with—that meant he didn’t take her seriously.