This chapter takes place before the Flu. It begins with Elizabeth Colton calling Clark to notify him of the impending publication of the book Dear V. Apparently, she says, Arthur talks about his friends and marriages in detail in his letters. Clark and Elizabeth plan to meet in New York.
Jumping from letters in the book, Mandel jumps to those who will be affected by its publication.
After the phone call ends, Clark runs to a meeting. He is doing executive consulting for a company near Grand Central Station, but he keeps getting frustrated by iPhone “zombies” in his way, people who walk slowly and are absorbed in their phones, completely unaware of the world around them. At the meeting, he interviews a young woman named Dahlia about her boss Dan. Dahlia complains that Dan is wandering through his life like a high functioning-sleepwalker. Clark realizes that he himself has been simply going through the motions of his life.
The iPhone “zombies” and Dahlia’s description of high functioning sleepwalkers are clear criticisms of modern civilization and the detachment from other humans and from reality that technology enables. After hearing Dahlia’s testimony, Clark realizes that he too has fallen prey to this degenerative force of civilization and technology.