A simple test: Sit down at the counter of Courtesy Diner. Close your eyes and listen. Eggs and bacon sizzling on the flattop grill. Coffee sloshing into a mug. A newspaper rustling as the pages are turned. Classic rock or old country music humming from the jukebox. What time is it? It doesn't matter. That's the point. The Courtesy Diner is a perpetual-motion machine, the same restaurant at three in the afternoon and at three in the morning. That is what the lonely and the sleepless want: a place where, for a few bucks, you can get coffee, eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns and the comfort of not being alone — for a few hours, at least, until you return to the Courtesy Diner the next day (or night or early morning), and nothing at all has changed.
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