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« Periods are in short supply »

First she wanted to know whether I thought her baby would have naturally curling hair, as she had, and then she wanted, without pausing, to enumerate the many faults of the woman who did the laundry, among which was the latter’s excessive and intimidating size, which I had naively taken for a point of recommendation in a laundress, and then she moved rapidly, in a series of more or less inelegant segues, and meanwhile inspecting and dismissing one item after another in my small study, picking them up and making little faces or pretending to dust them with her fingertips and stretching her eyebrows skeptically, through a list of things I ought to have already done that day, but seeing that I could not hope to accomplish them in the time that remained, I would have to satisfy myself with being a disappointment and a vexation to her; and of things I needed to come to realize about her needs and prerogatives; and of things no woman should ever be obliged to explain to a man, however self-obsessed and impenetrable he might be.