Two more snips from TWITMWU, and a bit more context: it's a sci-fi story, and one of the groups in the world that it's based in is an isolated subculture of the intellectual elite - almost like an academic Amish. Children that grow up in that culture are required to participate in an extreme Rumspringa variant, leaving their hyperrational society for a time so that they can decide whether or not they want to return as adults. This is what Emmy is in the middle of doing.

Currently in Emmy's mind was a series of if-else statements detailing acceptable periods of roaming before different methods of going to her grandparents' house kicked in. If bus does not arrive within 18 minutes, hail taxi. If taxi does not appear on main street within 7 minutes, call taxi dispatcher. Multiple map overlays with various efficiencies of routes depending on the time of day and average expected traffic. And then: if lodging negotiations unsuccessful, repeat transport process to hostel by Fenway Park, purchase two hotdogs for dinner, cost $15.85 with tax.

Another bit. This one is Paul thinking; he's the high-school dropout son of a brilliant theoretical physicist who had a breakdown several years before the story starts; much of the attention of Paul's father's is consequently devoted to caring for Paul's mother.

If you showed up stone-faced but swaying on your feet, propped up by coffee, it was proof positive that you were on fire for something, even if you didn't show much of it otherwise. That was the way of it. You poured your life out away from people in the world and towards the things you thought would serve them better than your presence. Or alternatively, you pointed your mad scrabbles towards something that would be less damaged by the riot.

There is, of course, more backstory/context than I'm showing now. ;) The entire thing started out as a challenge from DJ for me to write a love story. I took him up on it, noting that a love story didn't have to mean a romance - there are plenty of things that someone can love, not just another person.