Didion's "year" begins on Dec. 30, 2003 when her husband of 40 years suddenly dies of a heart attack, just after they have returned from visiting their only child, Quintana, in an Intensive Care Unit. Although her daughter eventually recovers, she becomes dangeroulsy ill again several months later. Her daughter is a newlywed and travels to California with her husband and collapses shortly after arriving at the airport. After several more months in ICU at UCLA Medical Center Didion flies home to New York with her daughter in a medivac airplane. The plane stops once in Kansas to refuel, where one of the crew runs to McDonald's to get food for everyone. She shares a hamburger with her daughter who cannot yet eat much. When they arrive in New York, Didion's son-in-law asks about the flight: "I said that we had shared a Big Mac in a cornfield in Kansas. 'It wasn't a Big Mac' Quintana said. 'It was a Quarter Pounder'.
This is exactly the kind of exchange I have with my 11-year old daughter on a regular basis. She is always correcting trivial information, which drives my huband and me crazy. I am guessing that in the anecdote Didion relates here that her daughter must have been about 40 years old. At least now I know I can stop waiting.