"Uh-huh," he said.
"No," I said, "I still have a problem."
"I can't remember what the book's about."
"Give me a moment," he said. He didn't even try to hide it: I was boring him. I was boring the emergency rescue worker! I must have fallen asleep, as the next thing I knew I was looking up not at an emergency rescue worker but a lady doctor. "I hear you're a writer," she said, making conversation. "What do you write about?"
She was soon sorry she had asked. For it was then I remembered: baseball! I was writing a book about baseball. As she stitched me back together I offered her, free of charge, my literary autobiography. Every last detail, including the various articles I'd written for this magazine. I told her, for instance, I'd written about the birth of my child, which had occurred in this very hospital. I told her I'd lived in Paris, and written a letter from Paris. It was then that she perked up.
"I read those!" she said.
Inexplicably, I feel better.
"I loved those descriptions of you with your son in the Luxembourg Gardens."
"That was Adam Gopnik," I said. For the first time I felt something I knew I had always felt. The surge of irritation, the choking back of indignation—oh the horror, oh, the smallness of existence—was so breathtakingly familiar that I couldn't deny it: I was still me.