It is Spring Break here at my school, and the cafeteria is closed all week long (an adventure all of its own). I’ve been hanging out a lot with two of my friends and the family of one of my professors.
This morning, they called me and invited me to meet them at the Barnes and Noble, something I had been wanting to do sometime this week. After they showed up there, Courtney and Allison and I sat in one enclosure with two tables and our books we were interested in.
I was in the middle of a book about Jewish traditions, when a man came and sat down over at Courtney’s table. He began to talk to her, so I somehow thought they knew each other. Nope. After a few minutes, Allison and I realized this and quietly smiled to each other.
He began to vent about a statistic he had just heard, that 70% of America’s food is imported from third-world countries, though we could very well grow all of the food we needed ourselves. My professor gave her an escape by calling her on the phone, so she could pretend that she needed to take the call in another room. Allison was safe from the conversation, as she didn’t lift her eyes. The man then turned his attention to me.
He was hefty, white, ex-Navy, probably in his late sixties, and had big earlobes. He continued in his rantings, covering his negative beliefs about the president, the president’s latest decisions, immigration, and how the United Nations was trying to control the world. I listened and tried to look like I agreed with him so that he might end sooner, feeling that he didn’t need to convince me of anything.
I had hoped that maybe an occasional glance down at my book might let him know that I was more interested in my book than listening to a stranger vent with frustration about the world. My professor walked around the book alcove and smiled at me, also laughing to himself about my predicament.
After twenty minutes or so, the man (who has still not introduced himself at all) apologized a couple of times and reiterated his advice that I go buy a house with a plot of land so that I could grow all of my own food.
After few moments of silence, I made the comment aloud that I was going to throw away my coffee cup, said “It was nice to talk with you,” and rendezvoused with the other people of my group nearer to the front of the store.
Let’s not do that again.