A pod of people had gathered around a clean-cut, Rob Lowe-looking guy, standing in front of an empty fireplace, telling a story through copious references to technology.
“I didn’t have my BlackBerry, so I had to login to my mail using my iPhone. Have you ever tried that? Not using the mail app, but actually logging into a client you haven’t actually set up? It’s so slow if you don’t have the 3G enabled! I have to upgrade this summer when they release the iPhone OS4, because it’s just hellish using my first generation iPhone these days. It’s like I’m living in the Stone Age, although I did just finally order an iPad. I can’t wait to get it. I got a Kindle for Christmas, but I never use it. Our IT girl has an iPad, and she swears by it. I really think it’s the future.”
Wow, Paul thought. They’ve replaced that guy’s brain with advertisements.
He found an attractive girl who looked about twenty-five, laughing at something an old gentleman beside her had said while the two of them perused the table of expensive snacks. There were slices of peppercorn-encrusted salami, a wheel of brie, assorted crackers, a fruit plate, and an assortment of dips. Paul thought the salami looked good and took a few slices.
“I love this stuff,” he said.
The young brunette’s eyes immediately went to his gut. “And what do you do?”
He loved getting asked that before being asked his name. It was how he knew he was in New York City. “I’m a lumberjack,” he said. “What about you?”
“I work for a hedge fund.”
“Oh,” he said, and he smiled and walked off, realizing that he was judging everyone there even more harshly than they were judging him.
He took another long pull from the IPA. It really tasted delicious on top of all that peppercorn salami.