This is a story of contrasts. A tale of two men, both the same age, both solidly working class dudes, both drinking coffee with a group next to where Joe and I were having tea. The first happened last weekend, we were enjoying a hot tea on a cold day. The weather was gray but the horizon promised a better day coming. We were both in a relaxed mood. We had a long trip ahead of us but were, in the 'now', we were just a couple of carefree guys with a bit of time on our hands.
Next to us was a fellow having what looked like really strong coffee. He was sitting with a friend and they were chatting 'old people style' about health and operations and the death of mutual friends. The guy nearest me was talking about losing his eyesight. His tone grew serious and, after a piece, he confessed to his friend that he's terrified of the onset of disability, that if death came soon - he'd welcome it. His friend was stuck for words but then quietly said, 'I'd feel the same way too.' I thought this very sad as it looked as if these two men had faced down many a danger and overcome many an obstacle in their lifetime. Shouldn't this just be one more?
Then days later ...
We are in Summerside on a rainy afternoon. It didn't take long to make a tour of the mall there but in that time we did some serious damage to the bank account. To end the visit we stopped for a cup of tea and a sandwich at a popular coffee shop. There was a large table of elderly folks on one side of us and a couple of older guys on the other. One of those guys was telling his friend about the fact he was losing his sight. It felt very much like deja vu ... only this time the tone didn't darken.
The man's friend asked what it was like losing his sight. The man, early in entrance to the world of disability, said, 'Well, I thought it would be interesting to feel my wife's breasts, without sight and all ...' The other guy chuckled and said, 'And?' He continued, 'Trouble was I kept feeling all over her chest, apparently they moved when I wasn't looking.' Then they both howled. Hankerchiefs came out and they wiped eyes.
The man's friend said, 'Oh, boy, we're going to get whole new set of jokes from you.'
He said, 'You've always got to laugh.'
Two men. Two lives. Two attitudes.
Life truly, is a matter of perspective.