Day 244 - Mason (3rd person I approached)
September 01, 2014 - Sometimes, having been around the block a few times pays off. Other times, a willingness to walk around the block can be the answer.
My first approach got me a polite but firm ‘no thanks.’ The second person was intriguing. ‘I’m not willing to tell you anything about myself that you’d be able to write about. I’m a private person and my work requires me to remain so.’ Then this person spent twenty minutes telling me some fascinating things that made for a compelling story. Ex-military, now working in deep space research, well travelled and intelligent. ‘I’ve already said too much. I don’t know why I did that. I’m going to ask you to just sit on what we’ve talked about.’ And then some more talking. We shook hands, and bid each other goodbye. I didn’t even ask for a name. Then I went for a walk around the block.
Mason was sitting not even fifteen feet away from where I had my secret chat just minutes earlier. But I had taken a circuitous route to find him. As I was explaining to Mason what I am doing, he smiled the entire time. His smile is one of those that lights up his entire face, and makes you smile when you see it. Infectious. He agreed to chat, even though he hesitated when I talked about taking his photograph. His one stipulation was that he wanted to keep his hat on. Done deal!
His parents had immigrated long before he was born, from northern Philippines.
“I was born here in Vancouver. I’m not exactly sure where though. But I grew up in East Van(couver). I am my parents only child. It didn’t matter much to me when I was smaller, but as I got older, it bothered me more,” he said.
“I was kind of a loner as a kid. I didn’t have many friends and spent a lot of time on my own, playing video games. As I got older, in high school, it seemed that the main idea for most of the guys was partying and meeting girls. I’ve never been into the partying. I’m not saying it’s wrong and that there’s anything wrong with those that enjoy it, it just was never really my thing.” When I asked Mason if he was good in school, he wanted clarification.
“Do you mean behaviour or academically?” he asked with a slightly nervous laugh.
“Academically. No, not really. As I got older, I was more into things that got my adrenaline going. I’d rather be rock climbing the highest peak, doing Capoeira (Brazilian Martial Art) or wrestling. My favourite thing to do was play basketball,” said Mason.
After graduating from high-school, Mason went straight into the workforce.
“I had worked with my father a little bit. He’s an owner operator of a delivery service. I got a job working in a sporting goods store, then a large grocery store. I got fired from both of those jobs. I had an issue with punctuality. Being on time was an issue in school for me, as well. I had a couple of other jobs,” said Mason.
“Now I’m working for an auto-parts company. I’ve worked on my punctuality and I guess I got that all figured out. I’ve been in the job I have now for two years. I probably don’t want to do this forever. But I’m not interested in post-secondary school. At least I get to work with a great group of people.”
Mason has also been quietly working toward a long-held goal.
“I want to be a business man. I want to have my own business one day. I’m an entrepreneur. I met another kid when I was in high-school. We were on the same wrestling team. It’s like he was the answer to my prayer. He’s been training me to work with him in online marketing and advertising. We have some pretty big clients and we help drive online customers to their websites for shopping and great deals. It’s only part-time for now, but there’s lots of potential in it. I have another mentor that I’m working with and he does this full-time. This is his job. It’s not just sitting at a desk behind a computer. I'm getting out and meeting people, talking and networking. One day, I’ll be doing this full-time,” he said.
“My parents aren’t very sure about the direction I’ve chosen to go in. I have a lot of cousins and they’ve all gone the traditional route of going right into college or university. I’m not interested in post-secondary education. It just doesn’t appeal to me,” he said.
We talked about how it seems that Mason is no longer that quiet, shy, withdrawn kid. He flashes his impressive smile and tells me,
”I’ve found my own confidence now. When I was a kid, I had tree trunk legs and a skinny torso. I used to stay home a lot and play video games. Probably just in the last year, the last few months even, I’ve learned to be more confident. I have a sense of who I am and what I want to do with my future. I like who I am. It’s like a freedom.” #notastranger