Terry grew up as a city kid, and it seemed as if the boys had always been after her. She was warm, and engaging, and as a teenager, she liked dating and kissing but she was never promiscuous. Indeed, even as an adult, sexual arousal came slowly to her, even in the few intimate relationships she had stumbled into and out of. She could respond, and even seize the initiative, but it took hours, every time, and this circumstance frustrated her partners.
Although she enjoyed sex, despite “the problem,” Terry preferred conversation. She was a skilled debater and interrogator, and at work she could be cutting in staff meetings. It was not merely the logic – which was really apparent to her and handy to her mind – it was the sheer radicality of her questions that made her feared and loved, in roughly equal proportion, in every project team she had ever been on.
Terry had recently unearthed a conversational ability that at once troubled, intrigued, and amused her. She had been talking with her boss, Deb. Deb was a fellow data wonk of about 50 who had been with the firm for about 12 years. The topic was budgets and costing. Terry had offered a point on a set-aside for “innovation initative” – $200K for unspecified projects, essentially a pool that staff could bring their ideas to and apply for. They were hashing out the inevitable tradeoffs. Terry said, “And we could take it out of Bob’s travel, he didn’t use it all this year…” As soon as she said it, she wished intently she could take it back, looking at the frown that crept over Deb’s brow. “Sorry, Deb, scratch that.” “Scratch what?” Deb said blankly. “The Bob thing. My bad.” “We weren’t talking about Bob,” Deb said. Terry glanced down and saw that Deb had drawn a line through “Bob Travel” in her notes, yet was still looking confused. Terry made a mental note and pressed on.
That night, she tried it again on her steady date. This time it worked, but it didn’t go so well.