Beer something at the frontwindow of a bar with old friends Davey Moore and Jeddy Huxtable et alia, when a severely cerebral palsy black man wheels mechanically swerves to a stop. Davey says he knows the guy, names Kevin , comes in for services at his clinic, likes to chat using his laminated sheet of common words, phrases, letters, numbers to point at with wild hands. I want a cigarette and Jeddy against his Ayurvedic wisdom decides to join. So we stand outside because this is Berkeley and smoking is murder even "in" open-air patios, with Kevin. He posts up next to us. His cornrows are frizzy. He's drooling down his beard onto his coat. He posts up and swings his hands around. We say hello, honestly hello because we are all good and equal people here and he has a good cv from our dood inside, Davey. He wants to speak but cannot. So I try to pass him his speak-sheet. But fail. And he does it after some struggle. This is a way of life. He points slowly and with difficulty. The body does not accord the mind in its brain. Kevin (we know his name but it doesn't feel fair to use it, kind of like recognizing Gary Sinise in a record shop) points the phrase: "Hello." Then: "How are you?" And we say well, man, well. You? He doesn't answer that cuz it would take time and dood is kinda clearly a little worried about something. He points: A-S-K. And we say ask. He nods angly. He points: "Man." We say Man. "White." White. B-A-L-D. Bald. White bald dood? Nods. Work. Dood works here? I don't see one. I see a black bald dood. Kevin raises his hand. Davey joins us, "Hey Kevin, I work at the clinic, do you remember me? I'm Dave." We all introduce. Kevin doesn't care to say if he remembers. Long story, I know. But it has a sweet payoff. So I go ask the bald black door guy if there's another "close-cropped" man working there cuz Kevin's asking and it seems important, but this lil fuks and fahk, I can see it in his mouth. Okay. So I go back. They've figured out dood is white, bald, short, works here, wears a blue shirt. Too many facts to be crazy. I'm going back in. I holler at our very stoned looking server guy. "Is there a shortish bald white dood in a blue shirt working here?" "Yeah, E.J. the manager." "Shit yeah, cuz Kevin out front is asking for him and it seems important." He smiles, "All right, I'll have him come out." Back outside, I'm fucking pumped, I can feel the love, "Allright Kevin, is his name E.J.?" Huge nods and sounds and smile and waving arms. And we all laugh. "He's on his way out." Promptly comes E.J. "Hey Kevin, what's up man?" Kevin looks nervous, E.J. looks totally happy to be dealing with Kevin. All love, leans over to watch Kevin talk. A-M. "Am." I. "I." B-A-~~~~. "Am I what?" 7. "Seven." No. 8. "Eight." 5. Then me and E.J. say together "Eighty-six?!" And E.J. "What you think I'm gonna eighty-six you for spilling a coke?! No way man no way, come inside! You're a regular." We're all laughing hard. Kevin laughs deep and waves his arms around and gets pats on the backs and smiles real good. And we kept drinking very very happy.
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