One of my favorite scenes of the book.
“Now the ominous finger-pointing of street-aggression, this Roy fellow pointing first at Erdedy’s chest and then at his own: ‘So man what you say you saying I’m a hugger? You saying you think I go around like to hug?’
Both Erdedy’s hands were now up palms-out and waggling in a like bon-hommic gesture of heading off all possible misunderstanding: ‘No but see the whole point is that I wouldn’t presume to call you either a hugger or a nonhugger because I don’t know you. I only meant to say it’s nothing personal having to do with you as an individual, and I’d be more than happy to shake hands, even one of those intricate multiple-handed ethnic handshakes if you’ll bear with my inexperience with that sort of handshake, but I’m simply uncomfortable with the whole idea of hugging.’
By the time Johnette Foltz could break away and get over to them, the fellow had Erdedy by his anorak’s insulated lapels and was leaning him way back over the edge of the Literature table so that Erdedy’s waterproof lodge boots were off the ground, and the fellow’s face was right up in Erdedy’s face in a show of naked aggression:
‘You think I fucking like to go around and hug on folks? You think any of us like this shit? We fucking do what they tell us. They tell us Hugs Not Drugs in here. We done motherfucking surrendered our wills in here,’ Roy said….I done had to give four hugs my first night here and then I gone ran in the fucking can and fucking puked. Puked, he said. ‘Not comfortable? Who the fuck are you? Don’t even try and tell me I’m coming over feeling comfortable about trying to hug on your James-River-Traders-weartng-Calvin-Klein-aftershave-smelling-goofy-ass motherfucking ass'” (506).