Continued from Part 4
Here I am, 25 years old and moving back in with my parents.
The thought was compounded by the fact that the only reason I’m here is because I fantastically screwed up my first attempt at living life on my own.
While I felt very inadequate as a human for having to move home, I was also thankful for the security my childhood home provided.
The first morning there I began hunting for a job. I knew this job wasn’t going to be anything special (I was wrong), but it was a necessary step in the rebuilding process.
I submitted an application with a job-finding organization. The nect morning they called me and told me that an auto parts store called Benson’s Auto Parts was looking for a delivery driver.
Well, I didn’t know the first thing about auto parts, but I would be a fool not to swing at every ball that was thrown at me. So I threw on a polo and some jeans and headed to the auto parts store.
I walked into a den of interesting characters. The energy was brilliant. Jokes were in the air.
I asked to speak to the manager. A tall guy named J (names changed to protect the innocent) said that he was the manager.
J would eventually become a good friend of mine. An extremely intelligent guy who I could talk to about all the deepest problems of the universe that no body else wants to talk about.
Right now though, J was just a stranger I was trying to get a job from.
There was another guy named T that worked there. He was about 5'2, 50 years old of pure rambunctious energy.
J made a joke that I could have the job if I beat up T. I laughed, kind of nervously.
They told me they would give me a call to let me know about the job, and I was out the door.
That afternoon I got the call from J. He asked me if I wanted the job, and I said yeah, for sure. I started the following Monday.
I mentioned that I don’t know the first thing about auto parts. Because of that I was nervous to start this new job. This environment was not my scene at all. I didn’t think it was my crowd either, but I would be proven wrong.
I showed up to work at 7:00 a.m on my first day as a delivery driver for Benson’s Auto Parts. T showed me how to check off the stock and get it ready for delivery in the quickest and most energized way possible. It was time to load up the delivery car.
I’ve noticed that in life, in order to build yourself up to the person you are meant to become, there are going to be moments that are very humbling. Like breaking a bone in order to rebuild it properly, we need to be hacked down in order to build ourselves back up.
I don’t mean humbling in the way actors misuse it when they win an award. Those moments aren’t actually humbling.
I mean humbling in the sense that my delivery car was a bright yellow smart car.
I’m about 6'4. At the time I was about 245 lbs.
Every single work day, I loaded up this bright yellow smart car (which also had a racing flag on the side) with auto parts, I’d slide the car on like a pair of pants, and drive from garage to garage delivering auto parts.
There was a time just prior to this when I thought I was pretty hot shit. I was a personal trainer, which to me was awesome. I was in great shape, living the dream and had a pretty sporty car.
Well I crashed the car and lost the personal training job. A smart car is what I deserved. Life gives you what you need at any given time. This is an important lesson that I took away from this experience.
While I understand that we have a ton of control over our decisions and what we do on a daily basis, life still has the ability to chop us down if necessary.
At least this time it was comical. As you can imagine, the big guy in the smart car was hilarious for everyone. It’s OK, this is what I needed.
When I wasn’t whipping around my tiny hometown in a yellow smart car, I was back at the store cracking jokes with the guys.
J was brilliant with his jokes, T was a character, and B (the other employee) was like the straight man in a sitcom.
Eventually another guy named X joined the team. X added an ingredient that just exploded the store dynamic. He had stories that would blow your mind. From his sexcapades in the small towns of the Ottawa Valley to his disturbing philosophies on women and relationships. I didn’t believe a single story, but I absolutely loved hearing them.
Working at this store was one of the most fun experiences of my life. While I still didn’t feel like much of a go-getter earning just above minimum wage and driving around in a smart car, I still had a blast at work.
I also got to know J better. While he was still my boss at the store, when we got together outside of work we could freely discuss the most taboo subjects around religion, spirituality and politics. We would sit in his garage trying to solve the most unsolvable problems late into the evening.
My parents were also very supportive through this period. They knew the auto parts store wasn’t my end game, and I still had that crippling fear that kept me from even attempting to reach my potential.
My dad had an idea. He suggested I go to fire fighting academy. There was a world renowned academy in Texas, and that looks like the perfect place to get a new start.
The very thought of this caused my heart rate to sky rocket. Fire fighting academy, in a different country. Texas no less.
This suggestion made perfect sense. I come from a line of police officers. Emergency response has been in my family and environment for generations. My dad said everyone hates cops, but everyone loves firefighters, so that’s the better choice.
My first reaction was to fight it. Not because it wasn’t a good idea, but because it scared me so much.
At this point in my life I wasn’t a subscriber to the philosophy of choosing the scariest option when presented with a choice. This is one of the experiences that made me a believer in this idea.
I put up a ton of resistance, but finally decided to do it. In four months from now I’ll be getting on a plane to a foreign land. One that is all about guns and BBQ (as far as I knew), and joining one of the best fire fighting academy’s in the world.
J was a great help in this process. He let me know I would still have my job when I returned three months later.
When the time came for me to get on the plane and fly to Texas, I was extremely nervous. I had no idea what to expect.
I was dropped off at the airport by my girlfriend who I would be seeing for the last time.
My flight went smooth, and my mind was racing the entire time.
I landed in Houston, and was introduced to the biggest and most confusing airport I’d ever been in. I had a shuttle bus to catch, and I almost missed it.
Luckily they waited for an extra few minutes and I caught them just before they pulled out. It was the hottest April temperature I had ever felt. I was pouring sweat from running through the humid George W. Bush airport, but I was on my way to College Station Texas.
This town would go on to hold a monumental place in my heart and mind for many reasons.
These reasons would be created later on. Tonight was going to be a tough.
I was dropped off at my new temporary apartment, checked in and got my keys.
I had rented furniture but it wouldn’t arrive for a few days. I bought electricity, but it wouldn’t be turned on for a few days either.
I had my cell phone plan adjusted so I could use my phone while in the USA, but, you guessed it, the plan didn’t kick in for a few more days.
This quickly became one of the loneliest nights of my life.
I walked around this empty apartment, just looking at random things to kill time. I had no idea where I was on a map, or in the town, or in relation to anyone or anything else.
I went to the computer lab to let my family know I arrived safely via Facebook. I also ordered a pizza and ate it in my empty apartment sitting cross legged on the floor.
Once the sun went down, I went into my room (which was actually pretty awesome) and laid down on the floor.
It was only about 8 p.m. but I had nothing else I could be doing. I laid there staring at the ceiling for what seemed like forever. My thoughts were racing, I questioned what I was doing, and wasn’t sure if I should even be here.
Before I knew it I was waking up to a sun beam shining across my eyes.
My life was about to change forever.
Continued in Part 6
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