Day 246 - Aden (1st person I approached)
September 03, 2014 - Aden was sitting out in the sun, reading a newspaper when I approached him. Sometimes, when I’m explaining to people what it is I’m doing, there is no response from them as I describe my project. Occasionally it triggers an inner dialogue for me. I start wondering what the ultimate reaction is going to be once I’m finished my explanation. Will they yell at me? Will they say they don’t speak English, or maybe even respond aggressively? Aden didn’t take his eyes off of me for even a second, and responded,
“Sure, that sounds great!”
Aden was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He has four siblings.
“I’m the middle child. The older two were the smart ones, the younger two were the babies. I’m the one that was just there. The one that my parents let do my own thing, unnoticed,” he says, with a wry smile.
“My father was an engineer and he liked to move, so we moved around a lot. All across Canada and a few places down in the States (USA) as well. Most of it here in BC (British Columbia) though. It was tough moving around so much. I was always the new kid. And never had a chance to bond with anyone or make long-lasting friendships. I did learn that when, on the first day at a new school, someone comes over and stands right in front of you and asks you a bunch of questions, they’re most likely the weird one in class. Happened a lot,” he says, shaking his head.
After graduating high-school, Aden went to university.
“I studied Physical Education (PE). How is anyone supposed to know what they want to do at eighteen years old? I liked sport, I was active so I thought it would be good. I spent five years getting my teaching degree. A Bachelor’s in Physical Education. When I got my degree, it was right at the start of the recession, and there weren’t any teaching jobs going. Certainly none in PE. So then I went to U of C (University of Calgary) and took some more science courses,” he said.
“I worked in construction and a number of other jobs.” Eighteen years ago, Aden moved to Vancouver.
“I like it here, except for the rain. I don’t like the rain. I prefer sunshine and heat. If I was able to, I'd live somewhere that was hot and sunny all year round. Maybe when I retire,” said Aden. He has also gone to UBC (the University of British Columbia) and upgraded and done more courses in science and research.
“I like learning. Lifelong learning is good.”
“I’ve never been married, and I don’t have any children, no. I have my two cats, Max and Charlie,” he says and then he pulls an iPod out of his backpack. Aden searches for pictures to show me. The sun is shining in our faces and his cats are black, so it’s hard to really see anything. He finds a number of pictures of his siblings, each of them posing with one of his cats.
“Oh, here we go, this is Max. I’ve had him for seventeen years. And this is my big boy, Charlie. I got him in 2007 when he was four months old.” Aden tells me that is is very close with all of his siblings.
"We talk all the time and visit. Yeah, I have lots of nieces and nephews."
He is a competitive power-lifter.
“I’ve alway been into sports. Every sport for as long as I can remember. My older brother is a sports fiend as well. I started power lifting so that I could lift things. For no other reason than to be able to lift things. I work out and I’m also a personal trainer. I don’t do any diet advice, I leave that to the nutritionists. I’ve been lifting things all day long at work today. I was just sitting here having a rest. Then I’m heading to the gym to work out, and then I’m training with a client after that,” says Aden. Some days he works out four times; once for himself and then three times with clients.
“Today I’m training a friend. And then we’re going to have dinner after that. I don’t feed all my clients, it’s just because he’s a good friend. I have to go get some salmon,” he says. Aden has a full gym set-up in his home. He pulls out his iPod to show me pictures of the equipment. It seems like he has hundreds of pictures on his iPod and as he is swiping at the pictures, one by one, we continue to chat.
“Ahh, here’s my gym,” he says, showing me two pictures before quickly putting the iPod back in his bag.
We talk for a few minutes about politics, wages, and fiscal management, or lack thereof in government. Aden is passionate and informed about the economy and the taxation of goods and services versus the essentials of life. He says that he imagines that everyone must talk to me about this.
“I bet you hear about this everyday though, right?” He is surprised, maybe even somewhat shocked when I tell him he is the first to want to discuss world finances with me.
“Well, that surprises me. With social media and everyone having their gadgets, you’d think more people would be talking about things that are happening in the world,” says Aden. I tell him that I usually talk more about the stories of the people I'm chatting with.
“Do you know who Studs Terkel was?” he asks me. I tell him that yes, I do.
“He walked around talking to people. Ordinary people, all the time. Kind of like you’re doing. It’s important for people to talk. Thats’s how community thrives. People need to connect and engage. Not run around in their own bubbles.” (*Fact Check - see link below.)
Aden works at UBC.
“I work in a science lab, doing research,” is all he wants to tell me. Our time is done and he has to get going. Aden offers me a summation of his story.
“I don’t have a car, I use transit. I recycle as much as I can. I read the newspaper everyday. I live a simple and modest life. I don’t have any interest in who is the latest movie star, or what is the latest movie that everyone is seeing. But I do care what is happening in Hollywood. I care about social media. I think it’s important. It’s how some people stay connected and connectivity is vital. It’s very important to feel connected.” #notastranger
*Fact Check - http://studsterkel.org