Day 192 - Aaron (1st person I approached)
July 11, 2014 - I had to buy some sunscreen today while I was out running errands. I stood at the edge of the sidewalk coating my lily white skin with SPF 60. No matter how careful I am, it gets everywhere, so I ducked into Whole Foods to wash my hands, like you do. I spotted Aaron eating lunch, and asked him if he’d chat with me. He said
“Sure why not,” and let me know that he was on a quick break from work. We chatted intensely for the next ten minutes!
Aaron was born in the Kitsilano neighbourhood, here in Vancouver.
“I’m an only child and was raised by my mother. My parents split-up when I was about two and for a number of years, my father was out of the picture,” said Aaron. He went on to tell me that he did have some anger issues around growing up in that situation.
“Not because it was only my mother and me, I never felt I was lacking a male figure in my life. I guess I just had some resentment that it was that way. When I was 16, my father showed up. I hadn’t seen him since I was two. By that time I had learned enough and processed things to know that life happens. We went for a walk on the beach and then we sat and talked. There were tears and explanations. And hugs. We’ve worked on our relationship and it’s pretty good now. We’ve only had two real arguments, so I guess for father and son, we’re doing okay,” he said, laughing.
In his high school years, Aaron struggled with school.
“I was smoking pot and skipping school. In Grade eight I switched schools and went to an alternative school. It was called a Bridge program, and was to help students that struggled with a attendance and staying in school. Then in Grade nine I went to a different ‘regular’ high school. My focus was just on getting through and being able to graduate. I finished high school in another alternative program. My mother was aware of the challenges I was having. Her take on it was more about allowing me to find my way and try different things, rather than trying to force me to conform. Of course she didn’t want me smoking pot, but I think if it had been any different, or more rigidly enforced, the outcome might have been worse. I wasn’t a bad kid, I was just struggling,” said Aaron.
After graduating Aaron went travelling.
“I got a visa and headed to southeast Asia. I had some friends that were traveling as well and I’d meet up with them from time to time, but I went around on my own agenda. After being away for a year, I came back to Vancouver. I realized that I wasn’t done yet. I didn’t want to stay here so I got a working visa and went to England and Australia. I traveled around and worked in restaurants and did odd jobs. After being away in total for about two and a half years I was ready to come home. I remember clearly, going down to Jericho beach one day and sitting there looking at the mountains and the city. And thinking ‘wow, this city is incredible’ and I knew I was ready to be back. I hadn’t ever really appreciated Vancouver until after traveling for those two and a half years. We are so lucky to live here. It’s beautiful,” he said with a sense of real pride in his voice.
Aaron went back to school.
“I studied Business Management at BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) for two years," he said. Aaron now works for a company that helps businesses get started.
“Our clients might have gone to university for seven years and are ready to start their own business, but don’t know how. We provide the support and guidance to help companies get set up. We also help to train their staff. I’ve been doing that for about four years now,“ he told me. In his spare time Aaron has a number of creative interests.
"I’ve been thinking lately about the creative side of my life and what I do to fulfil that. I’m interested in art, and acting. I like music production and was really big into hip hop music. I’m also a dancer. Dancing is my release. I’ve been breakdancing for years and I’m pretty good at it too. It’s funny, in getting to know my father, I found out that dancing plays a big part in his life as well. We have that in common which is pretty cool.” I joked with Aaron and asked if he carried around a large sheet of cardboard with him to breakdance.
"Yeah, that’s right, doing battles and things, for sure,” he said laughing.
He’s currently single.
“I’ve been in a few relationships. The longest was probably about one and a half years. A few short term ones as well. I’m 32, so I’ve still got time. I’m single for the summer,“ he says. Then he laughs loudly and says
“or maybe even longer, who knows?!” #notastranger