He crept from bed and dressed in the half-light of the bedroom, putting on corduroys and a wool flannel shirt the wife had laid out for him. He put on his slippers and tiptoed out of the bedroom, palming the door shut so as not to wake the wife. Then he remembered that the wife was gone to Monterey, or was it Santa Barbara? Anyway, she wasn't home. Still, he continued his morning routine with the usual stealth.
In the kitchen he put on the water for his morning cup of decaf. Outside the kitchen window the hummingbirds were already hovering up to the feeder, stopping for drinks of red sugar water on their route through the wife's fuchias and honeysuckle. He thought of the hummingbirds as the wife's pets. They moved too fast for his tastes. He had seen a nature show on television that said that their metabolism was so fast that they might not even be able to see humans. The whole world had gone the way of the hummingbirds as far as Effrom was concerned. Everything and everybody was too fast, and sometimes he felt invisible.
He couldn't drive anymore. The last time he had tried, the police had stopped him for obstructing traffic. He had told the cop to stop and smell the flowers. He told the cop that he had been driving since before the cop was a glimmer in his daddy's eye. It had been the wrong approach. The policeman took his license. The wife did all the driving now. Imagine it - when he had taught her to drive, he had to keep grabbing the wheel to keep her from putting the Model T into the ditch. What would the snot-nosed cop say about that?