From: Gail Heriot []  
Subject: Silly? Yes. But what's a girl to do? 
Sent: 1/13/02 10:05 PM 
Importance: Normal 

Hi Cutie--

  I'm on Exam No. 61--a landmark. I'm celebrating by taking a break. I figure I'll be done by Monday night, provided the raccoons in my back yard don't come back tonight. They're so darn cute, they're distracting.

  I've been ruminating about what you said on the telephone yesterday--that I'm insecure. If you mean that I'm insecure about you and me, of course you're right. I do feel insecure--although in the grand scheme of things my feelings signify less about me (or you) than they do about external circumstances. We live on opposite coasts; we're both busy, and we don't know each other very well. I'd have to be daft not to feel insecure; I've not done anything to earn security. There are a lot of women out there who can spend one night a month with you and do a little sightseeing just as well as I can. Some even better .... (I would give you their phone numbers, but I'm not yet convinced that it's in my interest.)

  I'm amused by your statement that you *do* know me. It's the journalist in you. You are paid to make quick judgments about people and situations, drawing mostly on the public record. It's your job to have the first word on a topic, and you're very good at it.

  As an academic, I'm paid to have the last word on a subject. It makes me slower to form opinions about people and things. Academics are ruminant creatures.

  My fear is that I will remain insecure about us. We see each other so seldom that we may never really get a sense of each other. If true, it will be a shame. It's possible that we'd make a good pair, maybe even a great pair. I am not inclined to turn loose of you until that possibility has been explored. On the other hand, I'd prefer not to die of old age still wondering.

  So allow me to introduce myself. I am Gail Heriot, the woman whose hotel room you've found yourself in a few times over the last six weeks.

  First, for whatever reason, you get to me. There aren't that many men who do ....

  My four best qualities are that I'm smart, brave, true and industrious. There are many things I'm insecure about; these are not among them.

  Smart--Yes, there are smarter women in the world, but the objective indicators suggest that they are pretty darn rare, even in the rarified circles in which you travel. If you decide to dump me because I'm not smart enough for you, you'd better be prepared for a long period of celibacy.

  Brave--This is actually an illusion. I'm not brave at all; I'm really just dutiful, but that's usually the case with people who are called brave. I'd have make a good Army Ranger if I weren't such a klutz.

  True--Well, Diogenes, you were the one who said you wanted an honest woman. Be careful what you wish for. Honest women can be too blunt sometimes. They don't always say things the way they intended. And they require honesty in return. It's not a universal taste.

  Industrious--Nobody works harder than I do. A lot of people are more efficient. I wish I understood why.

  My worst qualities (among those I'm aware of) are that I'm impatient, disorganized and slovenly about the office.

  Impatient--I would explain this in greater detail, but I simply lack the patience. It manifests itself most often around idiots and bureaucrats. So far, I've never gotten violent, but I suppose there's always a first time ....

  Disorganized--I can only do one thing at a time. When I get really interested in something, I forget to eat, sleep or attend to the ordinary duties of modern existence. Not everyone is amused.

  Slovenly--My desk is a mess. I worry about this with you. I know that ethnic stereotypes are a terrible, terrible thing, but you were reared by a German mother. If she's trained you to be like her countrymen, you won't like my desk. Curiously, my house is not messy (except the refrigerator). There are two reasons for this. First, I take a lot of care in decorating and I don't want it all to go to waste. Second, our country's immigration policies allow me to hire household help cheaply.

  I'm sure I have other bad qualities, which you will figure out if you hang around long enough. I'm not sure if it signifies anything, but those who have been around me longest tend to like me best. I'm not sure if it's
because I grow on people or because those that figure me out do so early and flee for their lives

  This is getting too long. I'm going out to forage for food. It's your turn.


p.s. My favorite book is Alice in Wonderland. My second favorite book is Through the Looking Glass. I don't have a third or fourth favorite book, but my fifth favorite book is Paul Johnson's Modern Times.

Email John Fund received from Gail Heriot, left on Morgan's computer for her to find while the two were living together at his home in Jersey City in 2002