"You aren't getting toast, you always order toast and you never eat it."
"I said, 'No' forget the toast."
"Drop it, no toast."
I had to look. They were at the next table. A woman of about 20 with a much older man of about my age. He sat in a chair that looked like it was designed by NASA. A big blue seat that cradled his body. He sat upright glaring at the young woman. Beside him on a board underneath clear plastic was a communication board. He was tapping something on the board. That something, I'd guess from the conversation was, "Toast."
She was having none of it. she gave him a lecture about waste and about how he shouldn't order things that he doesn't eat. Forgive me for poking fun at a fellow porker but it looked like she should maybe pick up that habit a bit. When she finished her little speach, he simply lifted his finger in a mammoth act of will and of defiance.
I looked over at Joe who looked back at me and said, "Don't."
She was so angered at his defiance, she went after him with a laundry list of complaints about his behaviour and his attitude and his very being. Finally she said, "If you keep this up, there will be no television for you tonight."
He was in his 50's.
She was a kid.
Joe said, "Go."
"Excuse me, ma'am," I said, I've always loved calling the young 'ma'am' or 'sir'. She glanced up at me surprised at the intrustion. He looked over and saw that I was also in a wheelchair and smiled greeting. "If he wants fucking toast, he should be able to have toast." Forgive the foul language but I had just gotten off an airplane after a 5 hour flight, there was a 3 hour time change, and this deal about the toast symbolized everything I hate about the helper / helpee relationship.
"How dare you speak to me that way!"
"Well the whole restaurant has heard how you speak to him. Good heavens, you are arguing about toast. Toast. do you realize how ridiculous that is. Why are you making an issue about toast? Why do you even care about toast? And further, I wouldn't have said anything but the 'You won't be able to watch television' thing ... he's not a 4 year old, you're not his mother. If I get this right, and I'm guessing, you work for him. Get that YOU work for HIM."
At that there was a loud Whoop! from the guy in the chair. Everyone in the restaurant turned and smiled. They had no idea of the subject of our conversation but they saw a happy guy, a triumphant guy, in a wheelchair. She must have felt surrounded.
"Fine, if he want's toast he can have his damned toast."
"Thankyou, when you wake up in the middle of the night, you'll feel better about yourself."
He, waved me over. Carefully, he flipped the page of his communication board over to the side that simply had an alphabet.
Carefully, he tapped out, "My name is Charlie."
"My name is Dave."
He gave me a thumbs up.
I went back to my breakfast.
I heard them order him toast.