I had breakfast with some guys today. It started out as breakfast anyway but due to the late night last night (in bed at 2 a.m.) I begged for brunch instead. So at 10 a.m. I found myself with a crew of 8 gathered around a too small table to have a bite. For those keeping track, I had tea, I haven’t returned to the Bean.
Beside me was my friend George. Our previous plans to go to New York for a trip are on hold. George is 65 and he doesn’t have a passport, drivers license or any other form of I.D. that would get us across the border legally. A couple weeks ago I was talking to another friend who moved here to the Island 2 years ago. I told him I was picking some stuff up for George for Christmas, just some mits and a pair of boots, and he told me he’d heard some interesting news about my friend George. Turns out, he had heard, that he’s one of the richest men on P.E.I. He has money hidden away in shoe boxes and goes around town pushing his shopping cart and collecting empty bottles by choice. Truth is, he’s not just filthy, he’s filthy rich.
When my friend told me the news it was, and I’m estimating here, the 15th time someone has told me this about George. The truth from a friend of a friend. It’s surprising you haven’t heard about it yourself.
It’s a great deal but unfortunately for George it’s not true. His social service worker said they’ll buy him his usual Christmas present this year: can of shaving cream and some new razors. Nice. They might even get him a new pair of flannel pajamas.
Here are some true things I’ve learned about my friend George. He’s never been off P.E.I. He’s skeptical that subway trains actually exist and he thinks airplanes are the favoured mode of transport for the village idiot. He blows kisses at my wife and I don’t mind. If you tie a couple balloons you were going to throw out to his cart that he pushes around town, he’ll try to kiss your cheek. He loves sugar. He REALLY loves sugar. His father died when he was young. His mother took care of him best she could until she passed away. He loves his friend Joe and would do absolutely anything he could for him, even when Joe’s been drinking. He wears plastic bags over his socks so his feet stay dry in his old shoes. He can’t sit still for very long. He has an amazing sense of humour. He has a good singing voice. He makes me uncomfortable when he loves me back so shamelessly and unselfconsciously.
The other guys around the table were great too, each one a story and from my perspective their friendship with me makes me one of the richest men in town.