Alfred had known two girls during his time in London. One was a lawyer who liked to talk about her IT contract law cases. The other one was an art historian who liked to talk about which gallery would pay her to sell paintings. Alfred wanted to marry, therefore had to find a woman. He searched his conscience, and went for the one with the widest ass.

Curves weren’t just the cardinal criterion of his matrimonial quests, they were also the main ingredient of his daily cycling commute. A daily total of 43 left turns and 31 right turns, plus a mile along the winding Thames, and consider the fact that few of his London roads were perfectly straight.

He had chosen to move into a flat a solid 8 miles away from the office because of the plentiful cycling commute it would impart, and because the quietest itinerary would involve the 43 left turns and 31 right turns, tracing a decidedly curved path into his workplace.

Zig zags, curves, arcs. Alfred sought them in his conquests on the asphalt and on the dating scene. In certain circles they knew him as Alfa Romeo: for how he dealt with curves, road- wise and hip-wise.

And that was the thing about Alfred “Alfa” Romeo; he literally didn’t generally operate in a straightforward way. The shortest path between two points may be a straight line, he claimed, but it’s also the most boring, he added, and it implies doing Fleet Street at rush hour, he noted, so this morning I’ll go along Smithfield the market, he felt, despite the nasty light at the bottom of Charterhouse Street, he thought, and it was at that red light, using a near miss between an electric scooter and a wheelchair as a pretext, that he struck up a conversation with a young lady whose bicycle was covered in stickers of classical art paintings.

“Should have used the zebra crossing, really, if a lorry runs you over, and you’re in a wheelchair, you’ll be turned into a proper waffle. Kinda like that fellow.” He pointed at a sticker of Rubens’s painting of Medusa’s severed head, live twisting snakes emanating from it, stuck on her rear mudguard.

His itinerary would total 48 left turns that morning. Twisting more than usual around the city; as the conversation with the sticker’s owner was worth the slight deviation, which ultimately resulted in an increase in the length of the arc of his path, and in a volatile marriage that lasted 3 years.