NoraBot! Now she's programmed to help Rod with his wardrobe. Does he have any preference in designers? Swatches and photos are laid out all over the couch. He's, as always, uncomfortable with the situation and clears his throat: "I'm not sure now is the time -- it's kind of inappropriate." NoraBot continues unfazed, "Because they are going to be coming after you. You're the first First Gentleman. You'll be affecting styles for years to come!" He suggests Zegna. NoraBot: "Oh! No." Do not argue with NoraBot! "Do you remember what happened when Clinton wore Armani?" He had it unzipped by someone that wasn't Hillary? Whoops, wrong answer. Rod: "You know, I don't really remember." NoraBot: "American designers ONLY, thank you." Rod is continually stunned by this woman, but he seems to know not to cross her. She might immobilize him with her Freezing Glare of No Foreign Designers. There's a knock at the door. A guy enters, and as NoraBot acts as though she's in charge, greeting him with a brusque "yes," Rod pretends he's his own man and heads around her to greet his friend Steve warmly. Steve gives a sideways glance at the couch o'swatches. NoraBot interrupts to tell Rod he's got the curators at 4:40, which did seem only to be some sort of power play on her part. For all of her robotic bravado, does she sense resistance in this young man? Steve looks surprised and asks, as she walks out, "New assistant, huh?" "Something like that," Rod replies. They get down to brass tacks: Steve wants to talk about the Governor of New Mexico, and goes on about how great his testing has been for VP, etc. After he wraps up, Rod responds, "Well, it's a good name, it's bold. I'll run it up the flagpole." Oh Rod, don't invoke the flagpole. I dated a guy who told me that, in his first job, where his boss kept sending him into much higher-level meetings than he was qualified for, that was his trademark response. You might as well just say, "Well, I'll pass that along to people who can actually make the important decisions." Steve looks a bit taken aback (and duck-lipped) and asks doubtfully, "You're still in the thick of it, right?" Rod answers way too quickly with a swaggering "Yeah!" Rod, please: either give up and tattoo "I'm with her" on your forehead or practice your answers in front of the mirror at night before you try to convince people that you're still involved.
Rod runs into Jim in the kitchen, eating the "famous navy bean soup." He explains that he likes the kitchen because it's quiet, while radiating "and it's less quiet when you're here" vibes. Rod brings up the conversation with Steve, and Jim guesses Steve's suggestion before Rod can even make it. He tries to recover by telling Jim that this got him thinking, but he's cut off: "Can I stop you?" (I think you just did.) Jim tells Rod to sit back and take a deep breath, because as First Spouse, he's going to have a lot of people trying to take advantage of him. Rod doesn't take this well, and asserts, "They don't see me as a spouse. They see me as an advisor." I'm curious as to whether this is his idea or the actual public opinion, but so far we don't know beyond this conversation. Jim tells him that's even worse: "Do yourself a favor, Rod. Stay in your lane." With that, he crumples crackers into his famous navy bean soup, just like he's just crushed Rod's spirit. Rod, pissy, starts in about if he has an idea...but Jim cuts him off to remind him that he's got Mac's ear at bedside. Rod trails off.