1001 Black Men–#475

This highly symmetrical gentleman with perfectly straight teeth was seated at a booth diagonal to me at the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest (EBABZ). How do I know his teeth were so straight? Because he and his table-mate were laughing and smiling the entire day. It was nice having them on the same aisle, because every time I looked over at them it put me in a happy mood. The day before EBABZ, I was fighting off a cold. The day of the event, I woke up barely able to speak. I exercised my voice in the car, all the way from Oakland, until I was able to croak out a few words. As the day went on, talking became increasingly difficult and painful for me. It was frustrating to be meeting such friendly and interesting people, but to be unable to use my voice in the way that I wanted. Every time I started feeling despondent, though, I would look at the smiling happy guys across the way and remember that, voice or no voice, it was great to be surrounded by so many other independent artists and writers. It really boosted my spirits.

Ajuan Mance

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