Day 349 - Sid (2nd person I approached)
December 15, 2014 - It doesn’t matter how warm you’re dressed, sitting on a metal bench when it’s only 7C outside, gets you cold to the very core. At least it wasn’t raining. Sid told me he was waiting for his car, which, to tell the truth, I never did find out what that meant. Whether that meant it was being repaired, or someone had borrowed it, I do not know. Once Sid agreed to chat with me, we just got into it.
Sid was born in The Hague, in the Netherlands.
“That’s where my parents are from. We moved to Canada when I was two years old. My father had left the military as an engineer. They saw coming to Canada as an opportunity to create a better life for the family,” he said. Sid is the oldest of four children, all born within four years of each other.
“As the oldest, I didn’t really have any extra responsibility. We were all so close in age. My mother was a full-time housewife, so she was always there,” he told me.
The family moved around Canada. A lot. I don’t take notes when I’m chatting with the people I meet. Once I heard the eighth, ninth and then tenth city that Sid’s family had lived in, I resigned myself to not remembering them all. Suffice to say, he well and truly grew up all across Canada.
“It was hard moving around so much. I was always the new kid, at a new school. It never got any easier. Finally when I was starting high school, my parents realized that I needed to stay in one place for a while. So I did get to do all of my high-school grades in Edmonton. I probably wouldn’t have made it through another move,” said Sid.
In high-school, he became involved in sports.
“I volunteered with the local Police Cadets. I was in the Air Cadets as well, and I coached basketball and volleyball with youth teams. I wanted to be a police officer when I was older, but because of my eyesight, I wouldn't have made it through the selection process. They had different requirements back then,” he said. Sid was also involved in theatre and drama throughout high-school as well. Sid told me that he had gone to university right after high-school. We never got into what he studied though, our conversation just moved right along. We chatted about the difference between going to university right after high-school, versus getting some life experience in, and then going back to schooling later.
“My most favourite city that I lived in was right here in Vancouver. I wish we had stayed here, when I was younger. I was getting into acting and finding my way here, It felt good. I got married and my wife was from Winnipeg, so we moved there. I always knew that one day I’d come back,” he said.
“My marriage lasted seven years. We had three kids, so I stayed in Winnipeg. I didn't want to be moving around and uprooting the kids. I wanted them to have stability.”
Sid spent years working in casino’s.
“I started in security. Then I became a (card) dealer. After that I became the pit boss,” he said. The pit boss is one who oversees a number of areas. Staff, customer requests, payouts and administrative paperwork, as well as ensuring the local regulations are adhered to.
“I eventually became casino manager. I did that until it no longer felt safe to be there. I received a few threats,” Sid told me. Some regulations weren’t being adhered to, and it seemed that Sid wasn’t getting the support from his bosses to make the changes necessary.
“I sold everything and left,” he said.
“I always knew I would come back to Vancouver. I just didn’t plan on it taking twenty-five years. I wasn’t enjoying the job at the casino anymore. My kids were grown up and had their own life. I was single and wanted to pursue acting. It was like a second chance, a new beginning at life,” he said.
“I gave myself a year. I even managed to move back into the same building I lived in when I was here all those years ago. I’m living in the suite next door.”
"I turn fifty on Christmas Day. This is a significant milestone year for me. I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. This feels like home, and I'm happy. I’m doing what I can to get acting work. I’d love to do theatre but there’s just no money in it, so I’m pursuing film work. I’ve been entirely focused on the acting,” he said.
We chatted for a while about Sid’s three children.
“I have one daughter, one son and a child who is transitioning from male to female. So two daughters and one son,” he said proudly. Sid told me that he has a good relationship with each of his kids.
“I wouldn’t say we noticed a difference in my then son, as a young child. Not at first. As a boy, she was always more sensitive, and got picked on and bullied in school for being sensitive. As a young man, she got married and had a child. Then she started transitioning,” said Sid.
“She made a YouTube channel where she documented her transition. My son found it and at the time, wasn’t so understanding of what this was all about. My son called and told me about the videos, thinking it was some kind of joke. That’s when she told me about being a woman,” said Sid, calmly, with all the love of a father in his voice.
“She lives in a shelter right now. She has become an activist, and lives in Toronto. Which is good. She has a healthy network of supportive and caring people around her.”
“This time of year is a bit difficult to find film work. It seems that most productions are shutting down for the holidays. I turn fifty this month and then, come the new year, it’s a new start. Fifty, and pursuing what I want to do, acting. I feel like I’m in the right spot, at the right time. I knew that this might be a year of eating Kraft dinner, and I’ve been willing to do that,” said Sid.
“My children are very supportive of what I’m doing. They love it. They’re proud of me. They know that you have to keep chasing your dreams. I know if I wasn’t pursuing this, it would always be one of those ‘what if I had tried that?’ situations. It’s important to go after your dreams.” #notastranger