Outward appearances can be very deceiving. Patrick knows this, and always has been able to see beyond it. Don't get me wrong- he's not so open that he would ignore the signal a person sends out and put himself in danger. He just has a way of knowing when the person is different than what they appear to be.
Patrick himself, can be a victim of pre-judgement from time to time. He is just under 6 feet tall and has a natural muscular build. When he worked out, he was downright cut. (see his physique in the 1st picture of my gallery to see what I mean.) His usual dress attire is either a t-shirt or some kind of athletic wear. But, Patrick is also into music and so a concert shirt and a black leather biker jacket would not be out of the question, either. Couple all this with his 3 rather large tattoos, and he could come across in a very intimidating way. The great, big, smile would be what could put any person at ease. That and his enormous sense of humor.
Patrick's ability to make friends- virtually anywhere- has usually been a blessing for me. I am fine at work, but put me in a social situation and I clam up. It's like my brain has been cleared of anything intelligent to say, including simple phrases like "My name is Kristen, I am a friend of the bride, and you?..." or whatever. He has been the one to meet our neighbors and get us aquainted with them. I make sure I take him with anytime we are meeting a potential landlord. We always get the house.
If you were to gather up all of Patrick's friends in one room (better make it a convention hall), one might be shocked at the different walks of life and different ethnicities that would be represented.
Some dear friends that come to mind would be:
Clyde. The elderly man Patrick met while living in Geneseo. Patrick met him when he was 18 years old and living in an apartment next to him. He was fascinated by Clyde's stories, and Clyde was happy to tell them. Patrick kept in touch with him even long after moving away. And even though Clyde passed on over six years ago, his number is still in our cell phone.
And then there's Marty. Marty has CP. Patrick worked for an organization that helped handicapped citizens in their daily lives. Patrick would take him fishing, or take him to his appointments or job, whatever was the agenda for the day. Marty was married to a woman with CP as well, and from time to time, Patrick would arrive to pick up Marty at let's say, an inconvenient time. Protocol was that he was to MAKE THEM STOP- if it meant that Marty would be late for whatever. Patrick wouldn't though, he would walk back out until they were finished and then take Marty where ever he needed to go. The organization did not agree with Patrick's desire to be respectful of the rights of a man and his wife. He was repremanded several times (and I believe FIRED, eventually) for not interrupting Marty and 'teaching him self-responsibility and time-management'. I think Patrick was one of the few people who didn't treat Marty as a child. He made Marty feel like a man, and like a friend. And he was.
And we couldn't forget his best friend, Kevin. Kevin is a big man with the face of a bull dog (I don't find this comparison to be an insult- I love the bull dog's face) who fits right in with those at a Stergis Rally. All he has to do is look at you and you are inclined to say "Yes, sir." But in truth, he is a big teddy bear, is one of the most loyal people I've ever met, and has the heart of a lion. He will protect you and anyone he loves at the cost of himself. He has had many health issues of his own- obesity for many years of his life, and a back injury from an accident while working. And even though he shouldn't lift, he can't say no to those "friends" who ask for his help- it's just not in his nature. Kevin was a great source of comfort for me when Patrick was teetering on the edge of life and death. I knew Kevin was the one other person in the world who truly knew who Patrick is, and what the world would be losing if he didn't make it. This tough man cried right along with me without reservation.
I could go on and on about the different people he has befriended; rich, poor, young, old, handicapped, tough, blue collar, white collar, straight, gay, and of every color and every size. The one thing they all have in common-besides being Patrick's friend- is that they are all decent, caring people, who taught especially me, not too judge a person by their appearance.