Two shattered women and a bright-eyed child have just sat down at the window table in the cafe. Both women hope to talk, for their minds to meet; at the same time they are aware that the offs against this happening are about fifty to one. Still they have decided to back that dark horse Intimacy, somewhere out there muffledly galloping. [...] After all, it's important to put up a decent apologia for your life; well, it is to other people, mostly; to come up with a convincing defence, to argue your corner. It's nothing but healthy, the way the sanguine mind does leap around looking for the advantages of any new shift in situation. And if you can't, or won't, you will be shunned. You will appear to be a whiner or a malcontent.
Cafe Society, Helen Simpson, Hey Yeah Right Get a Life (2001: Vintage, London)