Seems that making videos is frowned on by the admin folks in malls (which is where we’ve been finding people to interview, given this chilly spring). So we settled into a Starbucks, where the WIFI is free and the manager was open to us doing interviews.
The first person we approached was sitting in a corner working furiously on his laptop and making frantic calls on his cell. John (no last name please) didn’t want to be interviewed—he had “no love for anything right now.” He described his life as being like the movie Trading Places—one day in an $800,000 mansion and the next on the street.
“When things fall apart, you find out who your friends really are," he said. "Even my family. They have millions, and they wouldn’t give me a peanut butter sandwich.”
There was talk of gambling and being "emotionally screwed up" after his mother's death 11 years ago. In his own words, John was at the end of his rope.
This was a story about love too--loss of love. A very distressed man.
Only minutes after this encounter, a life preserver landed next to us in the form of a woman named Cathleen Hjalmarson. She gave us a heartfelt interview about how love is morphing in her life as she transitions to retirement. We made a true connection with her.
In the evening, we interviewed Marilyn Ekelund, who talked about transforming her post-marital grief and disillusionment into a new independence and hopefulness. We enjoyed dinner with Marilyn at a restaurant called Stella's (wish Ottawa had something like that!) and joined a Couchsurfing event at Toad in the Hole pub. Met folks from around the world.
Today, on the nine-hour bus ride to Regina, we saw the effects of the spring flooding on the Prairies. In Brandon, for example, chunks of the town, including a huge park and sports field, had become lakes. But at least there seems to be very little snow left in this part of the country.
A different demographic on the bus, making it like a microcosm of Babel. In front of us were seven members of an Eritrean family, behind us a Hispanic couple, across the aisle an Aboriginal woman with her young daughter. And somewhere further back a conversation in Inuktitut.
We are now at the home of our Regina hosts, Al and Anna, ready to call it a day. But before I say goodnight, here are two more snippets of interviews: Susan Hawke and Rob McIntyre.