One last time from Nick Hornby's 1995 novel High Fidelity:
"You used to care more about things like Solomon Burke than you do now," I tell her. "When I first met you, and I made you that tape, you were really enthused. You said---and I quote---'It was so good that it made you ashamed of your record collection.'"
"Shameless, wasn't I?"
"What does that mean?"
"Well, I fancied you. You were a DJ, and I thought you were groovy, and I didn't have a boyfriend, and I wanted one."
"So you weren't interested in the music at all?"
"Well, yes. A bit. And more so then than I am now. That's life, though, isn't it?"
"But you see . . . That's all there is of me. There isn't anything else. If you've lost interest in that you've lost interest in everything. What's the point of us?"
"You really believe that?"
"Yes. Look at me. Look at the flat. What else has it got, apart from records and CDs and tapes?"
"And do you like it that way?"
I shrug. "Not really."
"That's the point of us. You have potential. I'm here to bring it out."
"Potential as what?"
"As a human being. You have all the basic ingredients. You're really very likable, when you put your mind to it. You make people laugh, when you can be bothered, and you're kind, and when you decide you like someone then that person feels as though she's the center of the whole world, and that's a very sexy feeling. It's just that most of the time you can't be bothered."
"No," is all I can thing of to say.
"You just . . . you just don't do anything. You get lost in your head, and you sit around thinking instead of getting on with something, and most of the time you think rubbish. You always seem to miss what's really happening."
"This is the second Simply Red song on this tape. One's unforgivable. Two's a war crime. Can I fast-forward?" I fast-forward without waiting for a reply. I stop on some terrible post-Motown Diana Ross thing, and I groan. Laura plows on regardless.
"Do you know the expression, 'Time on his hands and himself on his mind'? That's you."
"So what should I be doing?"
"I don't know. Something. Working. Seeing people. Running a scout troop, or running a club even. Something more than waiting for life to change and keeping your options open. You'd keep your options open for the rest of your life, if you could. You'll be lying on your deathbead, dying of some smoking-related disease, and you'll be thinking, 'Well, at least I've kept my options open. At least I never ended up doing something I couldn't back out of.' And all the time you're keeping your options open, you're closing them off."