Last week I ended with my new job and this week I fully intended to continue along that journey but as it always happens with me life has gotten in the way.
My daughter has gone back to work. She has been home looking after her babies for 3 years and I have been what she called a pain in the butt. Ok I call regularly, shoot me. She would say that if I asked a different question when I called it may make a difference. I always ask, ‘how are the babes’. Sometimes I would not call and guess what she would call me and ask me why I didn’t call her. So I would just call 3 or 4 times a day, just in case I forgot something.
Generally I would talk the my granddaughter K the 3 year old. Our conversations like my question to J would be the same, and would be something like this:
K. ‘hi Granpappy, where are you?’
Me. ‘Im home’
K. ‘im home too’. Where is grandmammy?’
Me. ‘she is at work’
And this could go on for 5 minutes or so, most of the rest of the conversation would go over my head. I would then ask to talk to P her two year old brother and if he is in the mood he would come on the phone and as always the conversation would go like this.
Me. ‘hey Buddy’, we called him Buddy.
Me.’ How are you’
This could go on for 20 or so ‘whats’, then I would say push the red button. Click.
How could you not like that? God I miss them. I think I will get K a cell phone.
You probably know I also have a 2 year old granddaughter AJ in Toronto. My ‘relationship’ with her is different. When I get her on the phone, she tells me a quick story, generally I have no clue what she is talking about and they she puts down the phone and disappear, with me going ‘hello’ ‘hello’. These sessions lasts about 30 seconds. AJ is quite precocious and she comes out with the amazing insights, so my daughter texts me regular ‘AJ sayings’.
On Friday on her way home from daycare they were caught in a huge traffic backup caused by an accident. As they were driving by the accident she looked over and said, ‘Yes that is so crazy’. Simple words, makes my day.
Ok enough about my offspring.
One of the most important things about becoming a programmer back in the 70’s was you had to have good access to a computer. Today you can program on your cell phone. The courses I was taking for the most part were introductory courses, where you punch some holes on a card and sent the cards to the computer ‘in the big sky’. If you were lucky it would comeback with something like ‘hello world’ on a long role of paper. Taking the next step in understanding what the computer could be used for or how you could interact with it meant that you needed a mentor and access to a computer.
At York I had both, a mentor and access to a computer. After I got fired I lost both. I needed to get close to a computer.
In the mean time I made another decision about my career; just in case the programming thing did not work out, after all computers could have been a fad. I needed a back up career so I registered in the CGA (Certified General Accounting) program. See how confused I was. I wanted to be a psychologist, but in case that did not work I stared taking computer courses and just in case that did not work I started taking accounting courses, confused? So was I.
Do you know that at age 23 some people already have kids? They say a man does not mature sufficiently until age 25 to make big decisions. Good excuse eh, I can be excused for constantly changing my mind, I had research on my side.
So here I was at ages 20 to 23 and 5000km away from home muddling through life without any real plan. I had some support. My sister was around, but she was dealing with her own life, my dad really protected his daughters and now she had to fend for herself. I also had two uncles in Toronto, both had girls and although I love them to death, they are girls and they had lots of boundaries.
My dad had reluctantly seen me off to get an education. I had no clue what that would be like, remember I wanted to play soccer, that was my first choice. My dad had great expectation for his children. I felt like I was failing him. Growing up he would always tell me, ‘get an education’, ‘do not work for anyone’, ‘never go into debt’ and his examples were from his own life experiences. With very little education and even less material things, he travelled to St Kitts and built his little ‘empire’ with his sweat and blood.
Three years in Canada and I had broken all the rules he set for me. I had several jobs and was fired ‘by the guy I should not be working for’ and was in debt. I thought about chucking it but I really could not go home, that was my past.
I was going in the wrong direction and fast.
In addition to my career and job indecisions there was tremendous peer pressure. Being in Toronto was like being in a candy store, so many options. What to do?
I grew up in a rum shop. I don’t recall my dad ever giving me a drink of alcohol and he preached never to drink. But it was in front of you all the time. You may recall from one of my earlier posts that I had to work in the backroom in my dad’s business bottling wine and duke from a really early age. I would ‘sample’ the alcohol to the point of being wobbly when I was done. What is duke anyway? I remember it tasted awfully good.
As I got older I would drink rum and scotch on the weekend when I hung out with my buddies and I do remember the first time I got drunk. I was at a dance and had too much to drink, well perhaps too much variety. In those days when we were out late at night, me and my siblings had a ‘move the key’ system to indicate that you were the last one out, so make sure you bring the key in the house. We only had one key, passed down from the oldest to the youngest.
That night when I got home drunk I forgot the key rule and could not get into the house and a good thing to. I started to vomit as I sat on the front step. My mom heard me and came and got me. She was such a gentle soul. She assisted me to get rid of my stomach contents and then said simply, ‘now you know what it feels like, please don’t do it again’.
I found out that night that mixing drinks is not the smartest thing to do and I should try to vomit before I get home. It took a while but I got back on that horse.
Buying alcohol in Toronto was not cheap affair, so that was my control, plus I was so busy. When I was with my homies, we did not drink much. I had a good friend at the university that knew everyone on campus. He knew where all the residence parties were and he would invite me along. Sometimes I would tag along but I must admit they were not my favourite hangouts.
This was back in the early 70’s and I was still trying to get used to a lot of things especially being on my own. I had no limits really except my conscious and proper upbringing. At these parties there would always be marijuana and other drugs mostly in the form of pills. In those days I smoked cigarettes and I hate to say this but it was my saviour. Whenever it was my turn to take the weed I would show my cigarette so they would pass me. I lied about not being able to swallow pills.
I have to thank my parents and educators for my restraints. Whenever I was tempted, I would think of Miss Williams Strap, Mr Ribeiro Rod, my mom fish tail and my dad’s strap. If my temptations were really compelling, I would think of the little red guy with horns, I grew up in the church.
Do you know what I remember most about those parties? How lonely I was for home, it was a culture shock. I would have to listen to music by singers like Janis Joplin, Cat Stevens and others. While everyone was having fun I was feeling alone.
Ok the truth about the marijuana? I am a bit of a Germaphobe. (Any person who is obsessed with cleanliness and defeating bacteria).
The people pass the pipe or weed from mouth to mouth. I was totally disgusted.
But still I want to try this thing. One day I was telling this friend of my sister that I had been smoking weed for years and I was never affected by it. I lied, must be the Trafalgar thing. He suggested that we try his ‘good stuff’ together. So one Saturday we sat in his car and he rolled and lit the weed. Immediately my thoughts turned to Miss Williams Strap, Mr Ribeiro Rod, my mom fish tail and my dad’s strap. Oh and the red guy with horns and if I am not mistaken he was holding a pitch fork.
Then, he put the thing in his mouth first. I saw some spittle. Damn what do I do now? That did it. I needed a way out. Ah my cigarette, I lit one and told him I was feeling a sudden urge to smoke and stepped out of the car. Phew that was close.
Maybe one day when they make it legal ill buy some.
Haha maybe not.
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