At the table next to me, three people were sitting around, talking about their plans to move to the desert.
The first one wanted to buy camels, and get the camels accustomed to walking in the city, then go out into the desert, and commute every day. It would save him rent.
The second one planned to buy himself a large steel pod, large enough for a home, and bury it forty feet under the Sahara, below the level where the sands shift. He didn't seem to be worried about food, water or air. Spooky guy.
The third one wanted to get a tent and a radio, and telecommute from the dry and dusty moon.
Then they leaned over to me, and all smiled at once. "Hey, Ted?"
I don't know how they knew my name.
"Can you name a religion that didn't start out in a desert?"
I stammered a bit. I can think of a few now (Buddhism, Siberian paganism, Afro-Caribbean synchretism), but at the time, I was at a loss for words. I sat there, looking thoughtful but actually just sort of spinning idly, when the police came and dragged the three people away.
The restaurant owner said I could have their phô.
Mmmmm. Free phô.