Changing views changes lives

Moving from your customary perch can help you see things from a different perspective

I was sitting in a waiting room, waiting for a friend I had taken to an appointment. The room was full. People of various ages and ethnic backgrounds sat quietly; some dozing, some staring at the floor or ceiling and some reading.

Some had obviously been here before because they had brought their own novels, while the rest of us had to choose from the typical waiting room library of scattered dog-eared magazines. I’m sure the medical offices have an exchange program  that just circulates the same material around from community to community.

The Sports Illustrated is two years old and it’s interesting reading their predictions of Super Bowls and Stanley Cups that have already been played. The National Geographic looks suspiciously like the one in my dentist’s office, which looked like one we had in the library back in high school. The Reader’s Digest fortunately is the one I was reading somewhere else, so I get to finish the amazing survival story I started two years ago in another office.

Then Max and Bob come in. Bob apologizes for being late and the nurse takes him in right away, which raises a few waiting eyebrows.

Max strolls over and sits beside me and strikes up a conversation. “Traffic was bad today, that’s why we’re late. I’m 80 so I don’t hurry but Bob doesn’t drive so I bring him in.”

I tell him I am driving a friend today too. I ask him if he and Bob have been friends for a long time.

“No we haven’t, but it’s an interesting story. I have lived in the same apartment for over 25 years. One of my favourite things to do was sit out on my west facing balcony and watch the sun set with my evening coffee. Then one day they start building a tower across the street and by the time they get to the fourth floor, I can’t see the sun from the place anymore.

“No use complaining, what’s done is done. I could sit there and feel sorry for myself but instead, one day I take my coffee across the street to the park. I can see the sunset fine and drink my coffee. That’s where I met Bill, on the same bench.

“Turns out we like chess, crib and the Blue Jays, so we start spending some time together. He shows me a community centre about five blocks away I didn’t even know was there, and he finds out I can still drive. So we came up with a plan and we keep each other company.

“Funny thing is all I had to do was change my point of view. Instead of viewing from the balcony, I started viewing from the park. Bill and I talk often about how our lives might have changed if we had changed our point of view on other things along the way.”

My friend was ready to go and I shook Max’s hand and wished him and Bob good luck. I have thought about that conversation a few times. How many sunset moments have I missed in my lifetime because I was too stubborn to change my point of view on something? Maybe all I had to do was move one way or the other a bit.

Maybe it’s not a full-blown Reader’s Digest story, but it certainly might provoke some thoughts from you folks. At least that’s what McGregor says.