The Observer had just finished dinner at Osteria Del Circo and we felt like having a cigarette. The restaurant, tucked into a sloping corner of midtown, was hosting a party for the new documentary The Man Nobody Knew, about the C.I.A. mystery man William Colby, and there was a perfectly fine little patio-like nook outside, so we went and lit up. The cigarette was a Marlboro Red and when it was done we stomped it out and walked through the revolving doors, to talk to the guest of honor, Katie Couric.
“I saw the screener on Friday and I thought it was really interesting!” Ms. Couric said of the movie.
“Did it give you any insight into how the C.I.A. works,” we asked. “In regard to the government in general or–”
“Have you been smoking?” Ms. Couric asked us.
“Have you been smoking?”
“I did just have a cigarette, I, um–”
“Because you smell like cigarettes!”
“Is that because–”
“You’ve gotta stop doing that,” Ms. Couric said. “You’re a young person, you have healthy lungs, why are you doing that to yourself?”
“It’s a really bad habit, I should really–”
“And you’re so young,” she said. “How old are you?”
“Yes,” we said. “Very young.”
“So stop smoking, seriously, it’s so uncool. It’s such a turnoff. Girls don’t like it either!”
“You don’t like it, Katie?” we said. “Really, it’s a turn off?”
“Yes, it is, for sure.”
“That’s probably true.”
“But really I have to go,” she said as she put on her coat. “I thought the movie was really interesting and I’m glad I got you to stop smoking.”
Ms. Couric, we must admit that that is not exactly the case. But maybe we’ll try harder.