The short story is by definition almost no more than a sidelong glance at people who disappear before you manage to remember their names -- like Laurie Colwin's almost always attractive characters who are ""on the verge"" of their lives and may not get any place at all. Or just move on some place else with someone else. This is a first collection with nothing unfinished about it at all (a good many of the stories have had New Yorker or Mademoiselle or Redbook appearances). ""Animal Behavior"" features the doomed Darwinian romance between a young man who watches finches and a girl who studies bird songs in a museum; a mild, celibate, professor with a regulated existence wonders about the ""Dangerous French Mistress"" who keeps dropping in and out of his apartment and his bed; a young couple appear in two of the stories, a man with a wife who is ""frequent hell to live with,"" in variously attached and semi-attached states; the most amusing is ""The Elite Viewer"" whose organically wholesome wife leaves him to the incandescent vulgarities of television watching-and-eating with a gift called Greenie in blue plastic shoes. Most of these experiences just faintly crease the surface -- but there are sharper touches (""The Water Rats"" -- obsession, and ""The Man Who Jumped Into the Water""-- a suicide). Conventional modern, you might say, but among the short-term pleasures -a casually stylish touch and a genuine compatibility.