#9 In Roads-Pat
I learn something new everyday and today’s lesson was heard loud and clear. My new friend is a journalist from Canada. We met at the airport and from the jump he was cracking sarcastic one-liners and chattering away. I viewed it as nervous energy but was glad the whole of the conversation didn’t fall on my shoulders. He shares that he worked for the Toronto Star for 45-years, but contributes to a different publication now and is known as the “one-armed photographer,” a reference to the empty shirt sleeve that hangs from the left side of his body. The result of a pretty nasty car accident at 19, he tells about his friends who came together for support after the crash. They eventually tried to get him to go out with them and return to the life he knew before he was the kid with one arm. Instead Pat buried himself in depression. The turning point was the day his buddies let him know they were fed up with his pity party.
“You know, you’re right, you should just stay home. It was only your left arm that we liked hanging around with, anyway. We liked it best. Now that it’s gone, well, we don’t really want you around either so go ahead, forget it. We can’t be friends without that left arm,” his friends told him. That seemed to do the trick. These days he’s a quick study, knows something about almost everything and has a great sense of humor. He has some doozies for pick up lines, too. As we shared stories, he asks if I’m familiar with the runs held in Port Dover, Canada every time the 13th falls on a Friday before he asks how long I’ve been riding. I tell him 40 years. “Wow,” he quips, “you mean they license 6-year olds in your state?” I catch myself blushing as I thank him for the compliment. Later I see him wrestling with trying to open a sealed packet with his teeth. He finally puts it down in frustration. “Here, let me help you with that,” I offer as I snatch up the offending package. Immediately he cheerfully counters with “Sure, and while you’re at it, my fly is unzipped. Could you help me with that, too?” I got an instant lesson in understanding boundaries and respecting other’s space.