Margaret: “So, how do you know Gary?”
Me: “Um, we’ve exchanged a couple of emails and I’ve, uh, looked at pictures he’s taken on flickr.”
Baffled silence. Then, “I literally cannot image going on a vacation with someone I haven’t met. How do you know you’ll get along?”
“Oh, it’s obvious.”
“How do you know he’s not an axe murderer?”*
“He’s not an axe murderer.” I pretend this is an answer to the question. “He’s a friend of Cass.”
She gets that look that indicates she’s winning a debate. “How do you know Cass?”
“We’ve been writing back and forth for years. He scouted the racecourse that I did in India back when. And he was with us when I went riding with Lael and Nick. You know those guys.”
She shakes her head.
* * *
We’re sitting at camp. Cass says, “Nancy was making fun of me for internet bike dating.”
“Yeah, that’s what she calls it when you know someone only on the internet and then you plan a biking trip with them and go on it.”
“Coady was teasing me for that, too. She wondered if Gary was an axe murder.”
Gary laughs. We all shake our heads.
*Of course she didn’t actually say this cliché. It’s a metaphorical placeholder.