My friend Jaime told me to soak the golden raisins in brandy and place them around the Le Tur cheese after she saw me at a party glomming, grazing and not moving from the fromage platter.

The next time we were having company, I bought the fancy cheese. I soaked and I arranged. Even with the wrong crackers it was still delicious. But while I’m worrying about what should be served, my husband is worrying about the planet.

It has always been this way. In 1967, when we got engaged and I said I wanted to go to Bermuda for our honeymoon, he explained how much CO2 the plane would put out on the trip from Boston.

I joke when I say I’m married to the Energy Czar, but actually it’s no joke. He showers with a tiny stream of water, the setting on the washing machine is always cold, he won’t use big towels because it takes too much energy to wash them. The clothesline is the dryer. The list is long.

But lately this energy obsession has seeped into our social life. These days at dinner parties he wears a T-shirt that says “Ask Me About Thorium.”

Vineyard folks are educated and curious and someone invariably asks. And he invariably answers.

Thorium, he begins, is an element. It’s 90 on the periodic table. Uranium is 92.

If he weren’t my beloved I’d have left the area long before his next dry fact.

It’s equally found everywhere around the world so there can never be a war over it. It can be used in Molten salt reactors which can be made small, the size of trailer trucks, and within 10 to 12 years, 30,000 of them can be peppered around and power up the whole world.

You know how when you’re telling a story to a small group you look around to see how you’re doing? He’s not looking around.

Wind and solar can’t do the job, he says. If we continue the way we are now, we will have 10, maybe 12 years to survive as a species.

There is a quiet intake of collective breath.

There can never be a Fukushima type meltdown. The freeze plug melts, the liquid drains into a bunch of small tanks.

Now I’m looking around the table and eyes are glazing over. He’s so thrilled he doesn’t notice that we’re not thrilled. Someone tries to interrupt the moving train and says, if it’s such a great solution, why aren’t we doing it? Now they’ve hit pay dirt. He’s all but pounding on the table.

The fossil fuel industry, he yells. The lobby! The remaining Koch brother.

Now I’m sure we’ll never get invited back. He hasn’t touched his gold bud peach melba and it looks like everyone else is having trouble swallowing.

On the way home I try to temper his passion. Joel, I implore, can you edit the monologue down to a few words? It’s hard for people to take in all that. No one really wants to hear a doomsday lecture during dessert.

Because climate change creeps up in every walk of our lives these days, the minute we hear that John Kerry is coming to speak on global warming, I decide I’ll go because my husband can’t. And if I get up my nerve I will speak on his behalf. God knows I’ve heard the thorium rap enough times to be able to parrot the basic facts.

I get there early, grab a seat on an aisle and when the moderator asks if anyone has any questions, I beeline to the microphone.

I start out fine, channeling Joel. I tell them what it’s like to live with a guy who is ruining peoples’ Saturday nights with predictions of how if temperatures keep rising nothing will be able to grow and we will all die. Then suddenly it occurs to me that I am speaking in front of 500 people on a topic I only know by rote. And then my mind goes blank. So I ask my question: Why aren’t any of the candidates talking about thorium?

John Kerry’s answer doesn’t really satisfy me. Later I call The Energy Czar and say I was an utter failure. I forgot stuff, I stammered. I didn’t help the cause. But he is proud that at least I got up and spoke.

Later, when I saw someone who had been at the talk approaching me, I began to steel myself against the comment I was sure he’d say about how I shouldn’t try to talk about something I know nothing about. But instead he said, we went home and looked up thorium. And so did all our friends.

And the icing on the cake? No one has called and asked me how much brandy and how long the golden raisins should soak.

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing from the Heart. She teaches the Chilmark Writing Workshop.