Thomas Noonan Peters is an entrepreneur down on his luck. He's living on the streets of New York City and his pants are ripped and he has a new friend. It could not get much worse for the self-proclaimed renaissance man, but in Hi, How Are You? it does. Usually Peters will flee from the slightest difficult situation; no problem was too small that he could not run away from it. But, Peters has an odd feeling about this friend. This person HAS to be his friend and no one else, he felt. It is that particular thought, like a lead bolt in the middle of his brain, that despite all his efforts to ignore it and to avoid it and to run away from it, causes Peters a lot of grief.
Others on the streets eventually call Peters' newly found friend the "moon man". It is an appropriate name for the tall, gangly, nearly mute creature that latches onto Peters, though Peters forever refers to him as "him" or "you", as if the moon man was simply an extension of himself. Together this pair gets into a lot of trouble. The friendship eventually leads to the destruction of Earth, but that comes at the end of the book. Before the Earth is destroyed Peters and the moon man tramp about the streets of New York, meeting other strange characters. They are nearly cast in an underground film, they sleep with dogs, cry over sewer plates, they are attacked by a mime, Peters pretends to be James Dean, the moon man begins to collect odd items from the garbage and drags them around in shopping bags and, they try to kill Santa Claus. In Hi, How Are You? a gift of a broken eggbeater is a sign of affection and the very sighting of a particular shopping mall sends Peters into deadly tailspin of despair.