1. The essayist will take pride in neuroses. He will go on an on about the joy of scratching his ear with a pencil or brag about how long he hasn’t driven a car.
2. Everyday outings, such as going to the grocery store, will become overwhelming adventures. Huge adventures, like swimming with whale sharks off the coast of the Yucatan, will sound like everyday activities.
3. You will never know where she is. She will insist on trying a diverse range of activities, from accordion lessons to firing a machine gun, claiming it is research for a “Never Have I Ever” column.
4. You will realize that your world is more bizarre than a postmodern short story. You will start anecdotes with, “You can’t make this stuff up!”
5. You will not know whom you’re with at any moment: the character, the narrator, the persona, or the person. You will begin to wonder if you are a character or a person and sometimes narrate the recent past as if a memory from childhood. He will hear you and violate your POV.
6. She will continually write about her mother or her days as an addict or some ethereal night in a place you do not know. You will think that she’s working through a trauma; she will say, no, she’s working on a book.
7. He will make wild claims about disparate subjects, just to test argumentative structure. You will leave each dinner party wondering what he really thinks about cannibals.
8. In conversation, she will meander through thoughts, and just when you’ve forgotten what you were discussing, she will surprise you with a point that brings it all together.
9. You will read the manuscript and ask, “Did I really say that?” Neither of you will know for sure.
10. Time will stop.