I’m free again after my training, and Dave takes me to his favourite restaurant in Nashua to meet up with Sid and his girlfriend. It’s a small, family-owned Mexican joint with bright colours and an appropriately accented waitress.
Over dinner, we compare our regional differences. I ask them what it means when someone says “A quarter of one” (12:45), because they don’t say “a quarter to one”. I ask them if they take their shoes off when they get in the house (sometimes, depending on the host), because I noticed no one did when I was in a house. I ask them if they have bubble tea (there’s one Vietnamese restaurant that serves it), because it’s all over Canada now. I tell them New York Fries serves poutine (What’s New York Fries?). I pull out some Canadian bills and show them the braille (Oooooooh). At one point, Sid calls me on my “eh”, contrasted from their “huh” used at the end of a sentence to emphasize a point.
Dave and I drive to downtown Manchester, the biggest city in New Hampshire, to a bar/café called Republic. Every month, Dave organizes the Collective, a group of creative people with a certain energy, and a void in their lives when it comes to someone with whom to discuss their endeavors on a practical, nonthreatening, philanthropic level.
I repeat a person’s name after being introduced to them, a trick I learned from the client specialist course I took in New Hampshire four years ago.
At one point, Ed asks us how we know each other, and Dave explains, along with a story:
When my sister and I were kids, we imagined what it would be like if we were more of us, so we needed an older sister and a younger brother to round out the sibling experience. As the oldest brother, I needed to know what having an older sister was like. And we also chose personalities to go with them. I think the older sister was a heavyset, strong girl with a determined, mothering tendency toward us. Her name was Daphne, and she was the type to play field hockey or lacrosse when she went to college had we known what that was back when we were kids. The younger brother would be a slender, artistic type that was a stylish and careful dresser; “metrosexual” was the term we’d have used, my sister commented recently, had we known the word. His name was Leland.
And when he met me yesterday, he thought, “That’s Leland!”. Now he’s wondering if he’s going to run into Daphne in the future.
After two hours of brilliant conversation and exchange of energy, we go our separate ways. These are my people, and I feel the need to start something similar in Ottawa.
I take a picture of us because I leave tomorrow, shortly after the end of the course, and won’t have a chance to see him again. I offer my house if he ever wants to get away and change up his frame of mind, and he returns the offer.
In 24 hours, I’ll be home sweet home again, but certainly wishing I had more time to talk, and relate, and feel as if there was another kindred soul in the world.