Conversations with Kevin – Part #1 (July 3, 2009)

It’s sort of comforting in advance to know that Kevin has written such a heartwarming post about our first “business lunch,” it is not worth my while to try to top – emotionally speaking. The one thing I will say is that I thought I was the only one who secretly viewed our monthly meeting as a lifeline to our shared suffering, and our bond with Jesika.

That is however, not to say, that when we met at Kuma’s Corner on Wednesday at noon, the mood was at all somber or stuck in our recent grief. As a matter of fact, it would be tough to stay serious at a place like this. This was a find of Kevin’s, and to know my friend, the last place you would expect him to seek out is a heavy metal burger joint.

I arrived about ten minutes early, and before noon already, the place was hopping. I took two seats at the bar, and a good look around, while I waited for Kevin. The metal music was deafening – before lunch. More than that, I could tell it was, as my friend Pete might say, “real metal.” In other words, I had never heard any of the tunes before. Kuma’s Corner is unabashedly not radio friendly. They have a list of “rules” posted at the front of the restaurant that, at first glance, don’t seem very customer-friendly either: We Will Not Change the Music, We Will Not Put on the Game, We Do not Do Take-out Orders if the Patio is open. They do things their way, not your way – how rock and roll!

I do wish the list of rules had also included, We Do Not Keep Working Locks on Our Rest Room Doors. Perhaps this would have spared me the indignity of being exposed on the pot by a middle-aged lady, who took her sweet time about closing back up after discovering her error. It is a good thing Boop no longer has much pride left after a lifetime of humiliating herself.

But I digress – the longer I know Kevin, the more I realize that no matter how diverging our perspectives and viewpoints, we really enjoy talking to each other. We covered a variety of topics duing the course of our get together: naturally a bit about how much we miss Jesika, and what she might make of our current situations in life. But we also talked about the recent death of Michael Jackson, and what role his comfort level with his own blackness played in his downfall. I don’t think it is all crazy to remark that Mike obviously had issues with his appearance – strong enough that he was willing to disfigure himself through multiple plastic surgeries. So there you go, a small white woman and a huge African American man discussing what it meant to Michael Jackson to be black. Why not?

We parted on the unusually cool afternoon with a hug in the rain: me on my way to a meeting with a fellow freelance writer, Kevin, his head full with several missions confronting him (career development, finding a new apartment). We kept things loose on this first lunch. Next go around, I am to pick the place. How do I outdo a heavy metal burger joint? Any suggestions?

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