Chapters 5-6 Summary
Milo meets Purdy for lunch at a steakhouse and decides to cash in on the experience, ordering a huge feast and downing lots of liquor. When Purdy is in the restroom, Milo even helps himself to some of Purdy’s steak and potatoes.
Once the catching-up has subsided, Purdy decides to get down to business: he is interested in doing a considerable give and Llewellyn has led him to believe that Mediocre University (as Milo calls it) is looking to step up their game. Like everything else, Purdy describes it in terms of cultural and financial cachet; in his world, everything seems to have some kind of value. He also notes Milo’s bitter, hyper-cynical attitude and chastises him for it.
Milo admits that he thinks Purdy was born into privilege and didn’t truly earn his money. Finally, Purdy reveals to the increasingly drunk Milo that his interest in the university stems from his wife. She attended the university’s art program and had a great experience (which Purdy financed, naturally).
When Milo asks why he requested him on the job, Purdy speaks vaguely about their shared history as well as some things that Purdy will need to ask of Milo at a later point. Purdy also notices that Milo ate his food and ascribes it to an overall need to grow up.
Milo blacks out and wakes up in a cab heading over the bridge to his home in Queens, with fare stuffed in his hand.
The next day finds Milo nursing a punishing hangover on his couch as his wife gets ready for work. Bernie’s school was abruptly canceled for the day, leaving his parents to arrange daycare for him. Bernie’s school is a small, art-oriented, and private one whose faculty are prone to lots of "navel-gazing retreats."
Maura asks what Milo is going to do that day, and he replies with the vaguest of explanations. Maura again seems to hint at his lack of drive before she heads off to work. Finally, Christine, Bernie’s babysitter, arrives. Milo notes that Christine’s extremely low rates for her services are indicative of the low quality of care she provides. Many of the kids in her “program” are rough around the edges, and their influence has started to rub off on Bernie.
When Milo straps Bernie into a woeful toddler seat, Christine plays The Passion of the Christ on the in-car DVD players, despite Milo’s voiced concerns.