She was probably right. My doomed romance with character was the stuff of psychiatric couches. Is there, I wondered, a name for my dysfunction?

“We need to make a decision,” Jessica said, as we sat at a restaurant that evening, deep in uncommunicative thought punctuated by angst-ridden sighs. “If you really, really want to keep looking, we can.”

“Did I tell you that I don’t like the Metro?” I said.

She looked at me quizzically.

“It’s quiet and clean and safe and runs on time,” I said. “That’s not a subway. A subway is screechy and funky with guys on the platforms drumming on pickle jugs and playing saxophone and eateries serving pizza slices. A subway has character. The Metro has no character.”

“I understand what you’re saying,” Jessica said. “But we’re not buying a subway system. Wouldn’t it be OK to have a house where the water didn’t pour inside when it rained and the electricity didn’t go out when you plugged something in?”

I thought about it and recalled the house. It did have hardwood floors. They weren’t gouged, true. But they were old and scratched, so that was something.

“You’re right,” I said. “The house is great. So it’s in pretty good condition.” I sighed. “I’ll learn to love it."