This particular party took place during the height of the pre-rut, and I'd been in the woods until the end of legal light, when I found myself pinned in my tree stand by a doe with two yearlings in tow. Not wanting to burn out the stand by announcing a human presence, I let my bow down on the rope and banged it softly in the leaves a few times. They didn't snort, just stiffened up and moved slowly away. Satisfied, I descended and crept silently out of the darkening woods. I raced across town to the address Jane had given me, crouched down in the shadows between my car and a hedge, and changed into khakis, a button-down shirt, and loafers. Immediately upon entering, I identified this as a classic disaster-in-the-making: many people, bright lights, the din of forced merriment. Also, I noticed that all the other men not wearing ties had on shirts that buttoned all the way up to the neck. Where I grew up, wearing a shirt buttoned up to the neck without a tie sent out an urgent nonverbal signal: Please beat me up. Evidently this has changed, because none of the men seemed the least bit embarrassed by how they were dressed. I grabbed a beer and saw to my chagrin that Jane was engaged in a lively conversation on the far side of the room. Like many women, my wife finds talking to people she has never met invigorating. I sat down on one end of a sofa and tried hard to make myself invisible. But it didn't work, and I soon found myself face to face with a brightly smiling woman wearing a turquoise necklace. She introduced herself, saying she taught mythology at the local university. "I understand from your wife that you're a writer," she said. "What were you working on today?" I told her that I hadn't been writing at all today, I'd been in the woods hunting deer. The smile dimmed a few watts, and I could see the wheels turning inside her head. She was having what psychologists call an "Aha!" moment: She'd heard of people who hunted deer, and now she was actually talking to one. "And what do you use," she asked, "some kind of rifle?" I told her that at this time of year, I hunted with a bow. This completely flummoxed her. "Like a Robin Hood bow?" she asked. Sort of, I told her. A compound has wheels on it and is a bit more powerful and more compact than Robin Hood's. "Is it electric?" she asked. No, I explained, you pull the string back with your arm just like other bows. I was trying to be helpful, just as she was trying to be cordial, but I was beginning to wish I'd said I was in software.