Day 29 - Phil

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Day 29 - Phil (1st person I approached)

January 29, 2014 -Today’s story is a little bit unique. I was at home waiting for a telecommunications technician. After some internal debate, I decided to see if I could get the tech guy to tell me his story. After all, he was a stranger. 

Phil was was born and raised in Vancouver, and enrolled in the Studio 58 acting program at Langara College, after high school. “I was pretty good at it, but I soon realized I didn’t have what it takes to make a living. You’ve got to have passion, and drive to make it, and a certain look. I reevaluated what I was doing and decided to change direction.” Phil worked at various jobs and spent time with a technical supply company, doing set-up of equipment at Artisan events and fairs. It was at one such event that Phil met his future wife. In his mid-twenties, Phil decided to pursue his passion for electronics and technology, enrolling in a two-year telecommunications course at BCIT. “I knew what I wanted to do, and had a good idea of what I’d end up doing after graduating. I got into the game just after the dot com bubble burst, and there were a lot of people vying for the same jobs. I was a junior technician and it was a no brainer that senior techs were going to take all the available jobs. So school and working wherever I could really helped to keep me going.”

Phil is the youngest of three children. “We’re a pretty close family. I speak with my family a couple of times a week. Everybody gets busy with their own lives, but it’s always nice to check in and see how things are going.” A fitness guy, Phil cycles a lot, and stays healthy and active with sport. “I like my hockey of course.” I asked if he was a Canucks fan, and he seemed hesitant, but said he was. We spoke about the ups and downs of being a fan of a team that doesn’t always have the most loyal fan base, and people jumping on and off the “bandwagon” or leaving games early, even when the Canucks are winning. 

What really interested me was the idea that Phil meets strangers all day, every day, in his line of work. “I go from big mansions on the Westside to single rooms on the Eastside. It runs the whole spectrum. Some people are friendly and talkative, others don’t even talk.” An elderly gentleman that Phil had done some work for earlier today was ‘very talkative” Phil told me. “He was some kind of scientist, and at 81 years old, was very fit and sharp as a tack. He told me all about his work, and while it was interesting, it can certainly hinder getting the job done.” And there was the time a guy starting smoking opium, and having to ask the customer to refrain from doing drugs with a technician there. “The smell, and the idea that the next customer might think it was coming from me. That’s not good.” Phil was charming, funny and easy to talk with, and I wondered if he had ever been propositioned while in a customers home. “Oh yeah. That’s awkward. I mean. Really? I’m just here to do my job!” #notastranger