That night, the family eats dinner with Violet. Dad is very proud that his son owns his own upcar. Violet suggests that she and Titus go driving in the forests near Jefferson Park, but Dad says that the forest has been removed to make way for an air factory. Violet is outraged, but Dad smiles condescendingly and says, “I remember when I was like you … but remember. People need a lot of air.”
Violet is the voice of reason in this scene, while Titus’s father, like almost every other adult in the book, has clearly made his peace with corporatism, rationalizing it as the only way to produce air—when, in reality, corporations are the reason there isn’t enough air in the first place. The irony of the passage is that forests—which are nature’s “air factories” in the sense that they produce oxygen—are being destroyed to make way for industrial air factories.
Titus asks his parents about the hacker, and Dad confirms that he’s dead, adding, “There wasn’t any reason for you to know.” While Dad and Titus argue, Smell Factor sings along to a song playing in his feed: “Intercrural or oral! Ain’t a question of moral!” Dad, annoyed, tells Titus, “We’re going to sue the nightclub” and then suggests that Titus take Violet home.
This is one of the few times in the book when Titus has in actual, face-to-face conversation with his father (though this conversation is, ironically, about their lack of communication). Meanwhile, Smell Factor sings a song whose highly sexual lyrics are inappropriate for a kid, though the words “intercrural” and “oral” may be too complex for Titus or his father to even understand.
Suddenly, Violet chats Titus that her foot isn’t working. This has happened a few times since being hacked—sometimes, she can’t move her hand for hours. However, she chats Titus telling him not to worry about it. A few minutes later, Violet is able to move her foot, and Titus drives her home. Before he lets Violet out, Titus wonders aloud if he chose the right car, or the right color.
Titus seems more concerned about the color of his car than about his girlfriend’s serious health problems—just one of the many examples of his emotional callousness. Titus’s behavior seems especially childish considering that this is one of the few passages in the novel in which a character (here, Violet) uses Titus’s real name—a sign, arguably, of Violet’s deep, sincere feelings for him.
The feed plays an inane song with the repeated lyrics, “Hold me tight.”
It’s no wonder Titus is so underdeveloped emotionally, considering how vapid everything in his culture is.