I start talking to other writers about how much Kevin got paid versus how much I got paid versus hey do you want to tell me what you get paid? Some of them happily do and some do not. One woman tells me she thinks contractors tend to have higher salaries than full-time employees to make up for the lack of benefits. When I tell her that Kevin was FTE and I am a contractor, all she says is, Oh, I see. Are you FTE? I ask. She avoids eye contact. She fusses with her hair. I can tell she is deeply uncomfortable with my questions. I don’t care. I feel like I’ve shed a layer of tact and social sensitivity, and underneath is all rough, abrasive matter. I ask again. She says things like, she doesn’t know who makes these rules. It doesn’t make sense. She’s sorry. Was there anything she could do to help? Could she take me out to lunch?