Gordon and Penny decide to have a night out at a fancy restaurant. Gordon tells her about the colloquium, which has been eating at him ever since.
Penny tries to get him to stop brooding and gives him joking gifts from her purse to cheer him up.
One of the gifts—a bumper sticker promoting Goldwater—prompts another political argument between the two.
Gordon discovers the waiter is gay and is surprised at how nonchalant Penny is about it (remember: we're in 1962). He is amazed that someone could be comfortable with homosexuality, read Philip K. Dick, and vote for a conservative like Goldwater and yet be the same person. What can we say? Nobody puts Penny in a corner.
He thinks back to a time when he walked in on Penny going to the bathroom and how they both realized how domesticated they had become.
Penny pulls Gordon out of his thoughts. He tells her that Saul and Frank Drake will be looking for a signal to prove Saul's message theory; Penny thinks it is good they are doing something.
She points out that scientists can be pretty rigid in the way they think with their equations. Gordon realizes she has a point: The others could be wrong about his data "simply because of habits of mind" (19.90).