Day 256 - Tyler (1st person I approached)
September 13, 2014 - I spotted Tyler outside a coffee shop, He was sitting in the shade, reading a newspaper when I approached him. I noticed that as I was explaining to him what I was doing, he folded and put down the newspaper. I took it as a sign of good manners, and a willingness to chat. I was correct on both counts!
Tyler was born in Uxbridge, about an hour’s drive from Toronto, in south-central Ontario.
“I have an older sister and a younger sister. There is about twenty-two months between each of us, so we’re close in age and grew up very close as well,” said Tyler.
“My father was the first person in his family to go to university. He went on to get his Master’s degree and became a school principal. Education was important in our family. I know for sure that I could have been a problem child growing up in a rural town in Canada. But in our house we were taught respect. We were raised to have good manners. Jeans were something that you wore for play time, after the school work was finished. The amount of television I watched in a day was measured equal to the amount of time I put into practising piano,” he said.
Tyler did all of his schooling in Uxbridge.
“I was always more of an outdoor kid. I played hockey, baseball, soccer, and football. The class ahead of mine was the first one that were able to go into French immersion. But it was like my peers were from a television show. I felt like I was surrounded by some of the most intelligent, good looking people around,” he said. After graduating from high-school, Tyler went to university.
“I did that because it was what was done. I went to Lakehead University. Out of all the schools I looked at, it was the one that was the furthest away from Uxbridge while still being in Ontario. I wasn't running away, I just wanted to be somewhere different from where I had lived all my life. And it was on Lake Superior so the outdoor activities were great,” he said.
“I was looking at becoming a Park Ranger, studying Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism. I was taking Psychology as well.” Tyler lived in residence on campus, his first time away from home.
“Surprisingly, I managed to pass my exams, despite the amount of classes I missed. I discovered rock climbing while I was there too. I did lots of that. But after the first year, I decided that university just wasn’t my thing. My parents aren’t what I'd call strict, but it was my first time saying ‘I think this is what I’m going to do,’ and then I quit school,” said Tyler.
“My uncle was living in northern Ontario and had a construction company. He offered me a job working with him on a few houses he was building. My father is Canada’s worst handyman. Seriously. His tool kit consisted of a hammer and a screwdriver, so I had no idea about construction. My uncle taught me everything, and it seemed like it took me a long time to learn. But after a while, it felt like I was a natural and I felt like I had found my thing. I really enjoyed building,” he said.
“I had a girlfriend and we had talked about travelling. It was my first ‘real, mature’ relationship,” he said, using his fingers to make gestures implying italics.
“I wanted to go to Australia, and she wanted to go somewhere else. In the end I went to Australia,” he said.
“It was amazing. I spent about eight months there, smoking pot and wearing very little clothing. That was a great trip!” After Australia, Tyler headed back to northern Ontario.
“I went back into construction, and got some more experience with a few other companies. I managed to work my way up and began working in management as a supervisor,” he said. In time, Tyler moved south and worked in the Toronto area.
“The construction industry was in a down turn and I was in between jobs. I had applied to go back to school and got accepted. I was satisfied knowing that I had what it would take to go back to school if I wanted, so I was okay to pass on that opportunity,” he said.
“I always knew that I’d like to live in BC (British Columbia) at some point. I got offered a job in Revelstoke, working on a major project that was planned to take a number of years. That was my move to BC,” said Tyler.
“I did that for a while. I didn’t want to stay forever in Revelstoke though. It was good, but it was another rural town. One day, I was sitting at my computer with my resume open and I landed on a website for windmill construction and installations. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the job opportunities and found one that seemed to fit my skill set. The deadline date had already passed three days before, but I thought ‘why not’ and sent my resume. A week later I had interviewed and then went through the necessary checks and got a job offer,” he said. Tyler has been working in the power-generating windmill industry for a few years now.
“I’ve travelled around with the job, from Alberta, down to California and some time in Palm Springs as well. I work on some of the largest and highest installations of windmills going,” he said. Tyler works on a project-driven schedule. He is in a longterm relationship.
“My girlfriend isn’t sure where she wants to end up and that’s okay. We’re on the same page. But if she asked me to stop travelling for work and stay home, I would. I’m thirty-eight now and thinking that it might be time to think about settling down.” Tyler had been waiting for his girlfriend while she was in a dentist’s appointment. She texted him to say she was finished.
“I don’t care for the things that come easily. It's the things you have to work for that mean more.”
“Looking back, I know that my childhood was an unusual one. It was unusual in that it doesn’t happen anymore, or, it’s not common place. My parents are still married. They live in the same house I was born in. We we’re like the Cleavers. I knew it was different than my friends and others around me. And I’m grateful for that.” #notastranger