Sam and I had originally been matchmade by some shared friends and had spent a pleasant enough evening flirting over a laden dinner table. Nothing else might have happened if we hadn't bumped into each other at one of those CSE conferences where half the people are there to catch up on a year's theory and the other half to recuperate from a year's monogamy. I'd been trying to escape from an over-zealous and badly informed acquaintance, who was giving me a lecture on the mistakes of the Portuguese left. Sam had been so busy choosing between two workshops on widely differing subjects that he'd missed them both. Indecision seemed an underlying theme in Sam's life. A mathematician on the point of getting his PhD he'd got side-tracked down an alley of algebraic topology and couldn't figure out what to do about it. His solution had been - still was - to spend more time in writing poetry than in finishing his thesis.