The late Kurt Vonnegut lived in Manhattan as if it were a village in which nobody was a stranger to him, and he arranged his days to increase his chances of running into all sorts of people. He wrote in Technology and Me (Harper's, September 1996) that he refused to draft his stories and novels on a computer, and typed his rough drafts using a typewriter, then blue-penciled the pages, because it meant he'd have to depend on a typist to produce final drafts.

He'd call his typist to check on her availability, and on the phone they'd digress into the pleasures of idle conversation. Then, needing to buy an envelope in which to mail her the draft, he'd visit the newsstand across the street where, he wrote, "I have to get in line because there are people buying candy and all that sort of thing, and I talk to them."

After sealing his draft in the envelope he'd amble over to the post office annex down the block. "One time I had my pocket picked in there and got to meet a cop and tell him about it," he fondly reminisced. "And I go home. And I've had a hell of a good time. I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different."