September sixteenth doesn’t mean anything special to me. An old friend celebrated his birthday a few days ago. My brother celebrated his birthday two days ago. I connected with each of them and I’m sure they appreciated it but 47 and 52 aren’t exactly milestones.
But there was something about today that I liked. And I don’t know why.
Yesterday, as I stood in line at the pharmacy, I witnessed a clearly demented woman shouting profanities at another woman, the kind of stuff that might traumatize a child. Immediately, the man standing in line ahead of me grabbed a magazine that for some reason had John Wayne on the cover and did his best Radar O’Reilly impersonation, “I’m not gonna hit ya, I’m not gonna hit ya…” and then he fake swung at me. Another guy in line was asked if he had aeroplan miles and he proudly proclaimed he was a working man and didn’t have time for a vacation. The things you hear when you need stamps and bandaids.
I cut my left index finger slicing a red pepper so I can’t play guitar. It makes me appreciate it more than ever and when I will be able to play again, I’ll take it less for granted.
I hopped on my bike and headed to a fundraiser in a nearby neighbourhood. I look pretty dorky on my bike. Goofy helmet, dad clothes, glasses. I usually take off my glasses when I ride because I don’t need them to ride a bike and even as a fifty-one year old, I still think I look cooler without them. So I put them in my pocket and when I arrived at my destination, they were gone. They must have fallen out of my shorts. So not only could I not play guitar, I couldn’t read or look at my phone. I had to talk to people and make real conversation. It was freeing. A refreshing change of pace.
The place I’d been headed to was a backyard fundraiser for a music school associated with the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. I knew a few people there and it’s a cause I could really get behind. My father was always an advocate for the OBC because he was underprivileged and it’s these kinds of organizations that give some kids a chance to go to camp or have guidance or instruction that they might never have the opportunity to experience otherwise. It is for this reason, as my wife and I were making our wills this week, that I’ve chosen to give them some money. To honour my father.
As I got near the house with the fundraising band, I could hear the music but I was on the wrong street. There was an eight year old kid cycling with his brother and his dad and I asked him where the band was. My wife always tells me not to talk to strange children lest I be deemed a perv but she wasn’t around and the kid and I had the same helmet and we both looked like dorks. He said, take a right and a right and then all you have to do is follow the music.
Best advice I’ve ever received. Maybe that’s why I liked this day.