"You know that Allen Ginsberg poem 'A Supermarket in California'?" she begins. "There's a throwaway kind of line about 'the lost America of love,' and to me, the Marquis de Lafayette is just all about love." She elaborates, telling his story in some detail, mentioning his idealism, his being "such a continual friend to this nation when we really didn't have any," his desire to be buried under dirt from Bunker Hill.
And what, exactly, does this have to do with a life in the 21st century?
"I just find it makes me happier," Sarah Vowell says, "that when I go to the grocery store, I can think about the Marquis de Lafayette."
I wish I had her grace - to balance deep fury with an undying optimism.