Crazy Wayne was one of the most outspoken, bigoted, loud-mouthed, opinionated people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Why “pleasure” you ask? because he was also incredibly generous, loving, caring (in a “street” sort-of-way), and a good solid friend.
I met Wayne roughly 5-6 years ago, and it was definitely not your typical beginning of a close friendship. Let’s just sum it up by saying that we both told each other where to go and how to get there. Why? I still can’t remember. We were both being very pig-headed about something and neither of us gave an inch. For the next 6 months, if he came into our drop-in, I left; if I came into the drop-in, he left. It was not pretty. After 6 months something inside me was telling me to settle the account because he wasn’t going anywhere. So, I went up to him, apologized for being a stubborn [mule], and asked him to forgive me.
Well, he didn’t.
He instead scolded me for asking for forgiveness because he appreciated my stubbornness as it showed him that I had beliefs and I was willing to stick with them.
Over the course of the next 5-6 years, we had countless more yelling matches (sorry fellow staff members and thank you for your patience with us!), and while I did have beliefs, and he had his, we were able to speak to each other in ways that, even if the other person didn’t change their view, they at least understood the other’s view and could live with it. There were also many times where Wayne educated me and opened my eyes to things that I am forever grateful for.
One of my favorite times with Wayne was attending the Fringe show “Green” by Beaver Theatre Co….
It started out like any other day with Jenn and the boys away, getting into work a little earlier than normal, making plans to see a play in the afternoon and then getting home after supper time. I’m in the office and I hear a knock at the door and I open it. Who was it? good ol’ Wayne. He stood there and went on and on and on and on about something (he did that a lot…we let him just vent for the most part, at least until it got too rowdy, then we asked him to calm down and he would). After about 10 minutes of ranty-ranty talk, he asked me if I had time for a coffee? I tell him that I’m heading out anyway and that I have time for more than a coffee, I have time for a walk. So we walk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and…well, you get the point. We end up at the venue for my friends’ show and, well, I don’t know what possessed me, but something must have for the next words out of my mouth once we got there was, “Hey Wayne. Wanna join me?”
What the [bleep] was I thinking?!?!?! Well, I was honestly thinking that he wouldn’t accept as these events were usually too “artsy” “leftist” bull for him. But what does he say…”Sure Lyf.” WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!
Well, I think to myself, “ok.” We bought the tickets, during which I noticed that it was an audience participation piece (inside I was weeping), and then we sat on the steps and chatted some more.
The doors opened, we took our seats and the show began. The show ended and Wayne, well, Wayne LOVED IT! I was surprised. He enjoyed it so much, that from time to time he would mention it again and reflect on how much fun it was. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a sappy remembrance, it was a true Wayne-remembrance! After the show, I asked him what he wanted to do; you see, Jenn and the boys were out of town and so I didn’t have any plans that night and I decided to spend some more time with Wayne. The next 3 hours ended up being the most relaxing, enjoyable 3 hours I had ever spent with Wayne. You see, I think it was that he got his ranty-rants out by the time we got to the play that, afterwards, he was able to talk about more “normal” things and take me on a tour of Toronto – Crazy Wayne-style. It was good.
So, that’s my fondest memory of Wayne. A 6-hour long afternoon date.
He was a good man. He was an honest man.
One thing I regret though, about my friendship with Wayne, is that I didn’t poke around too much into his past, his personal life. I know he lost his wife some time ago to a disease that took her very slowly away from him. I know that he has a daughter. I don’t know their names. I don’t know much about them. I do know that he loved them with all of his heart, that I am absolutely sure of. I hope that I get to meet his daughter, and I wish I could have met his wife.
Personally, I just hope that when they greet him wherever he lands, they don’t put him in the time-out box too quickly 😉
Wayne, I love ya man. I’ll miss you.
Go get ’em!