Today was busy, but productive. I started by taking a trip to Toronto:
The PEI version was much less populated than the city I’m used to. My first real stop of the day was in Montague to see Jonathan Charlton of the Eastern Graphic:
The reporters out east I have talked to ask good questions. I don’t remember exactly what was asked today, but I do remember that it prompted me to describe this trip as being the emotional equivalent of getting dragged behind a slow moving truck through a prickle bush. Talking about Joey’s death again and again is draining in a way that I can’t fully articulate. When I talk about it, I think about it. When I think about it, I have to live it again. After I’m through with the talking, I am tapped out and can’t shake the images, but for the most part I know it’s good that I am spreading awareness about CF and the importance of registering to be an organ donor. Hopefully it helps other people not have to go through what those of us who lost Joey are going through.
Another reporter I talked to in New Brunswick asked me what Joey was like. This caught me off guard. It’s been a while since anybody has asked me that question. I’m glad she did, but it made me miss him more, if that’s even possible. Here’s why I’m glad she asked: Joey was more than just his death. He was more than just a person with Cystic Fibrosis. He was my favorite person in the world. For those of you who are just tuning in and didn’t get a chance to know him, here are a few Joey stories, so that you can get the idea:
Joey always knew what the line was and although he did not shy away from it, he was careful when he crossed it. Whether it was during a game of scrabble when he subtly added an “I.S.” to the word “pen” while in mixed company, doing a strip tease with a tear away thong for Emily at her staggette (his pants remained on, people!), or whistling at a girl on the street while he and Richard were driving by so that Richard and the girl would make eye contact and she would think that it was Richard, not Joey, who had done the whistling, he loved to stir up trouble. He could do stuff like that and get away with it.
When we went to the CN tower in Toronto with Brendan to check out the glass floor that was 342 meters above the ground, Joey took notice of a man standing just off of the glass on the regular floor. It was obvious that the guy was working up the nerve to step onto the glass floor, as evidenced by the fact that every time his wife would try to coax him on, he would get a wild-eyed “back off” look on his face, and recoil away from her. Finally, after a 5 minute build up, the man timidly stepped on the glass portion of the floor. That’s when Joey struck. He casually said to Brendan and I “Yeah, it’s a good thing that they replaced the glass after that guy fell through it last week”. The man’s eyes widened with fear and darted over to Joey instantly, where they were met with a chuckle and a wink. As usual.
As a general rule, Joey didn’t get embarrassed, or care what other people thought. This gave him the freedom to act a little silly: singing along to funny songs (I still have a vivid memory of him doing the Ken voice for the Barbie Girl song for Siarah when she was little), dressing in drag for a ladies fashion show at a golf course he used to work at (according to him, he owned that runway), and the dancing. Don’t even get me started on the dancing. We owned that floor for a time. And when his breathing got worse and he was too tired to strut, he developed moves like “the belt buckle” and his classic “Mick Jagger” lips face. He found ways to get around things. The man was resilient.
When Joey got sick with liver disease and his eyes started to yellow, he joked that the solution was to take up smoking so that his fingers and teeth would match his eyes. He was the man who, when the hockey stick scar that would result from a liver transplant was described to him, pointed out that, in conjunction with his lung transplant scar, it would essentially look like someone had carved a giant “J” on the front of his body, so how could there be anything to worry about? Joey was a man who could take any, crappy, situation, and spin it around into a positive. That was my Joey, our Joey.
Here’s what he looked like:
Thanks for asking. I wish more of you got to meet him.
Okay, enough of that for now. I’ll just push all of those emotions down a little more and jam the cork in a little tighter. That’s healthy.
I found the Welcome to PEI sign. The province as a whole is now officially glad to have me:
Although, I find it suspect that their sign is positioned awkwardly high for a photo with me in it. I’ll try not to take it personally.
I also met Kate Ross in Wood Islands and gave her a new movie:
Kate said she’d love to have it. I love it when people love to have it. Two thumbs up for your enthusiasm Kate!
Here’s some pics from around Wood Islands and of course some road shots:
Cut me some slack, it’s been a while since I’ve posted any highway pics.
When I got back to Charlottetown, I met up with Mike Smith to give him a free movie:
It’s true what they say about East Coasters: they are friendly. So far, my experiences in both New Brunswick and PEI have been overwhelmingly positive. That’s a big relief. It makes it a lot easier to do what I’m doing when people are receptive to what I’m saying. Mike also told me that the local shinerama crew are planning a celebration called moonshinerama. Grandpa Isvik would be proud.
Before I left Charlottetown, I went on a little walk:
Then I hit the road again:
About to pass out for the night (fingers are crossed). At the very least, I plan to lounge around in my complimentary robe. I feel like the sandman.