I have been living in Toronto for just over three months. I must confess that I am enjoying it more than I had predicted. It, much as I would assume any modern city does, has its ups and downs, sites and smells and more than its share of characters. In my first few months I have met one or two of these people who I cannot say that I know, rather I have encountered a few times in passing and had the fortunate opportunity of having a brief, but sometimes meaningful conversation with. The first character I would like to share is one who my girlfriend and I refer to as “Lawrence Fishburne in the Matrix”. I do not mean this in a derogatory way at all, simply that he is a very tall black man who seems to enjoy wearing a black trench coat and sunglasses in the elevator looks and like Morpheus… “I’m on the right side of the ground, not in the box,” he said the first time I spoke him a few weeks back. “That’s the first step, so I guess I am making progress” he continued. He offered a few more odds and ends, regarding the fact that one who is alive and well should be grateful for just that. As the elevator reached the ground floor, I thanked him for the chat and wished him well. After a few blocks of thinking about what he had said, the all encompassing simplicity as well as the realistic depth of his statement. He had changed my day. What appeared to be a simple dialogue between two strangers, was something more. He meant what he said, and I could sense that. In this truth, I found that it made me feel fortunate for being on the “right side of the ground”. We often forget how fortunate we are here in Canada, and I would urge any of my friends to think about this before “#firstworldprobleming” it. I have had the pleasure of sharing the elevator as well as a few more conversations with Morpheus. I enjoy conversations with strangers, as you never know what you’re going to learn.
On a side note regarding Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, I have not had the opportunity to study your life in great detail but what I have understood is that you were a great man who promoted equality, peace and a democratic system. All three things I agree with 100%. Also, your recognition of the importance of sport in society, as both a tool to break down barriers and one to build stronger bridges is one that I believe we can, and should use today. May you rest in peace and may your ideas live on forever.