We were having brunch at the food court. Gay men can brunch anywhere. I had picked up my tempeh wrap and was taking my seat. One table over there was a guy, about 30, with Down Syndrome. His head was down and he was shaking it slowly.
Two tables on the other side were a husband, a wife and a family friend. They saw the fellow, head down, sadly shaking his head. And wow did they go to town on him:
how sad he must be to be Down Syndrome
how difficult things must be for him
how his parents must be such brave and special people
how lonely and desolate he looks and therefore how lonely and desolate his life must be
they called him a boy when they spoke of him, even though he was clearly a man
They were eating burgers but gorging on pity. And they were loving it, loving basting their words in prejudice and preconceptions.
Then, and this was magical, his wife returned from the bathroom. She saw him with his head down and shaking it. "What's wrong my honey?" she asked.
He looked up from the paper in his lap and said, "I don't think the Leafs have a chance again this year."
I couldn't help it.
I burst out laughing.
I glanced over at the table from which waves of pity had come. They looked confused. Really, really confused.
I love that kind of shit.
Really love it.