It was a foolish argument . . . the worst kind of argument too, over food. And not even food exactly, but over salad dressing.

She'd left his dinner on the table while she was out shopping for groceries. There was a bowl of yakisoba noodles and a plate of gyoza dumplings to heat up in the microwave. And there was a salad. Not a very fancy salad, just lettuce, tomato wedges, grated carrot, cucumber and slices of hard-boiled egg. The salad was in a medium-size bowl, an individual serving. Next to the salad was a small plastic pitcher of dressing. It looked and smelled like one of her homemade concoctions of olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, diced tofu and a dollop of Caspian yogurt. It looked like a lot of dressing for one salad, but then again it might not have just been for a single serving.

It presented a classic avoidance-avoidance conflict: avoid her displeasure if he didn't eat everything she so painstakingly prepared for him; avoid her anger if he didn't leave her half the dressing.