Canada

Meeting Stephen Hawking


Location: St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market (hours before our flight back to Edmonton)

Date: September 13, 2012

This is a direct transcript of the series of events that led to my meeting Stephen Hawking. Text in italics is my internal dialogue. My mother, my girlfriend Elizabeth and I are heading to the farmers market for some old world charm.

Me (walking around farmer’s market)

I remember there being way more Mennonites here. Wouldn’t it be funny if I set up a booth, dressed like a Mennonite and just sold truck nuts? That would be hilarious. Hey that guy looks like Stephen Hawking. 

Ten minutes later…

Mom

Trent, is that Stephen Hawking?

Me

Mom! No it’s not.

My mother is going to chase down some guy in a wheelchair and ask him if he is Stephen Hawking. I’m 36 and my mother is going to embarrass me again. 

Mom

I’m going to go ask him!

Me

Jesus! Don’t mom…try to have some tact!

Elizabeth

I’m going to go do something on my phone…

(Elizabeth excuses herself from what could be an uncomfortable situation and finalizes our seats on the afternoon flight as my mom scampers away)

Me

What the hell would Stephen Hawking be doing in Edmonton? Oh yeah…I’m in Ontario…but what the hell would Stephen Hawking be doing at a farmer’s market? That’s probably the most contradictory term that I’ve ever thought...

(Mom scampers back)

Mom

It is him!

Me

Whut?

Mom

Stephen Hawking! I talked to him! He didn’t talk back because he couldn’t but I did and it is him!

Me

Whut?

I should go and get my picture taken with him because this is like meeting Einstein or Zeus or Zombie Babe Ruth.

Mom

Glee!

Me (to Mr. Hawkings aide)

Would it be possible to get a photo with Mr. Hawking?

Aide

I’m not sure…we don’t want a crowd to come and…we were just…

Me

I totally understand. No worries at…

Aide (Realizing that no one at the farmers market besides my mother, my girlfriend and myself know who Stephen Hawking is)

No, it’s fine. Give me your camera, I’ll take it.

Me (nervously)

‘A Brief History of Time’ was the first book I ever read.

Aide (looking at me confused)

It was the first book you ever read?

Me

No, sorry, I mean it was the first book I ever read that I wasn’t forced to read in school. I think I understood %5 percent of it.

Aide

Oh….and make sure I got the picture before you go. I don’t want to have a blonde moment…

Me (Standing, beside him)

Hello Stephen. I mean, Hello Mr. Hawking.

Hawking

(Smiles.)

Camera flash.

Rose and Trent Wilkie, Stephen Hawking

Story in the local newspaper of his visit.

Stephen Hawking’s Wiki page.

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