The young female architect is going to see a new installation by a semi-famous structural artist. He may not be famous but he's not insignificant, either. This Nora reminds herself several times. The structural artist has what has been described in certain influential periodicals as a florid potentiality. This florid potentiality hums in her nostrils. She hangs dreams upon it.
Tonight, her appetite for the scent draws her to a dark farm field somewhere in Alabama, where the semi-famous structural artist has created an installation. In the passenger seat, she watches her own face, dark and lovely in the side-view mirror.
Phillip is drunk and driving. He is brilliant and handsome and he is a senior architect. The road is empty and he drives like a maniac. His fist swings out the window as he curses the state legislature’s recent expenditure on the four-lane highway.
“Pork-barrel fuckery. Infrastructural flab. It’s ruined this beautiful, genuine landscape!”
Phillip finds all progress a tragedy. His round, sweaty face shines in the dark: a sour moon. “This place used to be good and real,” he says, his Cambridge pedigree roiling in his eye. “Now look at it. Everywhere wants to be New fucking Jersey. No one around here needs to travel between Demopolis and Tuscaloosa at eighty miles an hour on a state-of-the-art, Portland cement, four-lane, Botts’ dotted freeway. Ninety grand a mile. In the middle of bum-fuck Ala-fucking-bama.”
The windows are all rolled down, and night pours into the car like a thin bath. The air conditioner, Phillip tells her, has been broken for a long time.