Sunday, January 28, 2018


I had fourteen messages piled up on the phone and it didn't ring even once. It is my family suddenly burst into conversation. Only a few of them identify with a name, the rest show only as numbers so I don't know who's doing the talking until they fit into a pattern,  but I see they are talking about Daniel being adorable. Whatever they're referring to isn't showing. I resist pressing buttons to explore and dig deeper because when I do the phone calls people right up and I cannot make it stop once it's started. I end up calling my sister at 3:00 in the morning.

Then today on my laptop this message showed up. Twice. This must have been what they were talking about. Daniel made a card and sent it to his relatives.

So I made one and sent it to Daniel. 

The boys are learning this at their school. In the van, they showed me what they know without any prompting. They imagined they'd have me stumped with their secret language by springing it on me. And my brother never mentioned it. This is not how you say "I love you back." The real way is too easy, at this point, too universal. As you know yourself, it's the letters "i" and "L" and "y" all at once. And "back to you" is to push that configuration forward. Very eloquent. Very simple. 

And I never spell "b.a.c.k." in your direction. For the word "back." Right or wrong, I copy what I saw the first time decades ago. A finger tip touching the base of a "b" and pushing it back to the shoulder. With exaggerated mouth saying "back." So the plosive bilabial  b and the voiceless velar stop k can be easily lipread.  I also saw the index fingers of both hands reach over a shoulder and touch the top of the back in the same spot, but that is rebus in English and done by a deaf man from a large family of mixed deaf and hearing and the most knowledgeable in English of any deaf person I know. He mixes a lot of English for advantage when talking to hearing people. He knows it will work even though "Go back (to Houston)" has nothing to with your scapula. 

I just thought it would be fun for Daniel to puzzle this out.

But about children. I love young people to death. They prove themselves everyday. Within minutes. Within a single half block. Three times. Allow me a simple anecdote that repeats what I've said often involving a very tight area. 

It's nighttime, near closing, and I cross Broadway to the bodega for a gallon of milk. On the sidewalk at the corner where sidewalks meet, I intersect a dark male in shadows concealed by his hood. I turn my head and say "Hi." He does not respond. 

As I reach for the large heavy wooden door, without me seeing, the man had rushed forward swiftly, spun around in a sheepdog maneuver behind me, his arm juts forward beside me and pushes the door, the young man slips past me and in front of me to step inside the store and pull the door open. I pass him inside the store and he departs. "Thank you for that." 

"You're welcome." His business is in the opposite direction to this. All that stepping up and speeding just to help me with a door. And I don't need any help with doors.

Although steps are a problem. There is nothing anyone can do to help with those. I'm on my own with steps. 

Then, back on my side of Broadway, into the bottle shop for a 12-pack of Coke. I have a gallon of milk and 12-pack of Coke in my backpack. The weight of it shoves my heels into the floor. The first time this day I can actually feel where the floor is. I like it. The doors back out onto sidewalk along Broadway are two sets of large double glass doors. Again, a young woman races though the set behind me to open the set in front of me. She holds it open, I go through and another man follows. The woman and the man step ahead of me. They're going to the same place as I am but they're well ahead of me. They're well within their rights with no social faux pas against them to ignore my coming and going. They could act like they don't even see me. They could be in the elevator down the hall well ahead of me. Instead, the woman yells back at me, "Are you coming through here?" I answer "Yes," and they both wait in the cold with the door opened until I catch up. 

I say to them as I pass through, "and there I was thinking, those two people shot ahead of me by their superior mobility." They cracked up laughing behind me. It wasn't that funny. Their mobility is not superior, it's normal, but it's superior to me, and apparently admitting that is funny to young people. My point is, my physical situation being visible affords young people to be spectacular citizens. And they show this to me directly every day by simple things like this, just crossing the street. And that's why I adore them. Again, nothing that I read online about young people matches my daily and intimate experience. 



ricpic said...

I guarantee that I LOVE YOU card, if it were blown up to 8' X 10', could get gallery representation. It fits all the art world criteria. The lettering is not only faux primitive it also breaks the frame. Cutting edge stuff. At the right gallery 50K at least.

edutcher said...

Kids, any age, can't wait to show you what they know.

It's one of the coolest things about them.