Bizarre Conversations Dept.

SCENE: The bench in front of Common Grounds, the area’s best coffehouse. Upon noticing NATE sitting out front watching the rain fall, BOB (not his real name) emerges to join him. Having conversed with BOB before, NATE knows it’s going to be strange. He is not disappointed.

BOB: I went to the grocery store and bought me a whole bunch of rice.
NATE: Um, cool. I like rice.
BOB: Rice is good for the digestion, man. You got stomach problems? You just eat a cup of rice and they’ll go right away.
NATE: I grew up on rice. More than potatoes, anyway.
BOB: Yeah, yeah, potatoes’ll do that too. I don’t eat rice every day or nothing. I mean, this ain’t Vietnam. I’m an American, I gotta have my hamburger, you know?
NATE: Uh . . . sure.
(long pause)
BOB: You a vegetarian?
NATE: Nope.
BOB: Me either. I gotta eat meat. But some days I go vegetarian. Twenty-four hours without meat, I can do that.
BOB: Say what you want about America, at least we got our civil rights.

You just don’t meet people like that at Starbuck’s. The coffee’s better here, too.