The setting of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is Waterbury (undoubtedly Connecticut, although it is not mentioned specifically in the story). Among the conflicts that arise during Walter's time in the city (and not in his fantasies):
- Walter's wife nags him for driving too fast.
"You were up to fifty-five... You know I don't like to go more than forty." She seemed grossly unfamiliar, like a strange woman who had yelled at him in a crowd.
- Next, she reminds him to get overshoes and to put on his gloves.
"I don't need overshoes," said Mitty... "We've been all through that," she said, getting out of the car. "You're not a young man any longer." He raced the engine a little. "Why don't you wear your gloves? Have you lost your gloves?" Walter Mitty reached in a pocket and brought out the gloves. He put them on, but after she had turned and gone into the building and he had driven on to a red light, he took them off again.
- A cop ordered Walter to "Pick it up" when he was slow to proceed through a green light.
- A parking lot attendant next growled at Walter, warning him to "Look out for that Buick!" Walter "muttered" at him and tried to back out of the exit, but the attendant demanded to do it himself.
- When Walter next met up with his wife, she complained about him hiding in the hotel lobby where they had agreed to meet.
- When Walter tried to defend himself, telling her
"Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?" She looked at him. "I'm going to take your temperature when I get you home," she said.