Friends with benefits

By EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  September 24, 2010

But what if you get mad? If an ambulatory person gets pissed off at his friend, he can choose to stay away until the bad feelings blow over. Freeman can't keep a lousy mood secret — he could be stuck with someone for hours after a fight. As with everything else, he deals. "I tell people straight out when I'm upset," he said. "The amount of time you spend resenting someone you could be enjoying life."

We made our way over to the dining hall for another bite to eat. Once there, the trio loaded up on mozzarella sticks and some indeterminate variety of pasta with red sauce. Chiavarini got Freeman's food while Hunter scouted a table.

The girls sat across the table from each other with Freeman in the middle. Hunter hunted in Freeman's fanny pack for a straw — he carries the bendy kind in several colors. She cut up a mozzarella stick and readied a fork. Chiavarini took off Freeman's sweatshirt to reveal an Abbey Road T-shirt. "Sick shirt, dude," she said.

Another benefit to hiring friends as assistants: unlimited mozzarella sticks, free of judgment.

As I was leaving, Freeman started speaking in aphorisms, presumably for my benefit. "A disability is the ability to prove to the world that challenges do not make us incapable," he declaimed.

Hunter waited for him to finish, hovering with a forkful of fried mozzarella, ready to pop it into his mouth.

Eugenia Williamson can be reached at

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that Alex Freeman is 21; he is 23.

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