I started this project called A Stranger A Day to overcome my shyness and talk to people. The challenge: talk to a stranger a day for a year of my life and try to convince them to let me take a picture and share a story. Since most tattoos have a story behind them, this will be my conversation starter and a common thread that links them all. Every week I will be sharing one of my favourite findings here on Vancouver Is Awesome.
Join me in this Stranger a Day adventure and let me know what you think!
Location: Elysian Coffee on Ash and Broadway
Story originally collected: Friday Jan. 14th
I went into the shop earlier to have a drink as I waited for a friend to hand me some books. I had skipped strangering yesterday, it was my birthday and although I talked to three lovely strangers (really cool people, with small conversations each time), none of them had ink. Then, early random celebrations kept me away from strangers, and surrounded me by (somewhat) known people. So anyways, I was at the Elysian when I decided to talk to the guy that was sitting right next to me. He had a very nice and calm vibe, he later would tell me that it wasn’t odd that people approached him. This was interesting.
I told him about the project, he jumped right into it (and I paraphrase, I always paraphrase…).
“When I was younger my parents got divorced. My dad moved to Victoria and I stayed with my mom in North Van. She had to work from really early in the morning ‘till about six in the evening or later. So many afternoons after school I spent with two of my mom’s good friends and their kids. I grew up with their kids, whom I consider my brothers, you know, my family. Then we grew up, and like you do with siblings and friends, you go on different directions in life, but you still keep in touch. So we were always close.
Well, a few years ago one of those good friends passed away in a car accident. His name was David Stevens. Three out of four people that were in the car passed away. Dave was this big loving guy, football player at SFU, great great guy. He wanted to be Prime Minister of Canada, that was his goal. He was studying Political Science, he was very dedicated. So anyways, the only person that survived recovered from a coma, he is all recovered now. He was sitting behind Dave, so we always joke about how if it wasn’t for Dave (who was huge), he wouldn’t be here, Dave took all the impact. Haha. So yeah, then I had a somewhat hard time dealing with all of this. I would see Dave’s passing away just as if he had gone somewhere and I’d never seen him again. I found myself forgetting about him, then I would remember and it would hit me that he hadn’t gone anywhere, he had died. So I thought, what would be a better way to remember him, than having him with me all the time, here on my hand… DSDS, Dave Samuel Driver Stevens…”
We spent some more time talking, talking about friends and the very interesting connections that life makes, and how things go around Vancouver —at least, how we perceive them to be, perception is the key word.
“Do you find your friends to be symmetrical or more of complementaries?” He meant, symmetrical as in they are all the same, or complementaries, as in you don’t know how or why, but you get along… I told him my folks were oddly different, but with subtle symmetries here and there, not much of an answer, I guess. I shared an anecdote from last night, where friends showed up to a lil’ bday get together, but none of them knew each other —at least that’s what they thought at first. Only to find out a few minutes later, that they had ALL met before in some way. Our theme for the night? “I think I know you from somewhere”. 3 (or less) degrees of separation in Vancouver. I just found it fascinating.
We talked. My friend came in with the books and left them on the table. It was a lovely encounter. I scribbled the details of his tattoo story, hoping to get the names right. He scribbled the blog address. Then it was time for me to go. I thanked him a lot and then we waved from the outside, after I had unlocked my bike.
Beautiful friday over all, and it is barely 6ish. Keep enjoying it, y’all!
And thank you stranger! I hope our paths coincide again sometime in the future.
To check out the daily strangers, click here: astrangeraday.com