This quote comes from a dialogue between Erica and Changez after her father commented on how Pakistanis "have a problem with fundamentalism" (54). Erica was wondering if that had offended her friend because she knows that he is "touchy," or sensitive, to his homeland, culture, family, and religion. It is good that the girl he loves notices his sensitivity to being a Pakistani living in America, but it makes it no less difficult to organize in his mind. Erica goes on to say that it is fine with her that he is "touchy" because that shows that he cares about something important to him. She wasn't being rude by asking this question; she was being a good friend and discussing it with him so he wouldn't feel uncomfortable. It might also have been a bit of an apology for her father's insensitive remarks and behavior to her friend.