Monday August 15, 2016
Episode eight: Judy Wants Romance
While planning the third Sleepover things got chaotic. All the guests were confirmed and ready to go but at the last minute, one of them cancelled.
I understood why. Being a part of this curious social experiment means being vulnerable about very personal parts of life. It's a tall order to be stuck in a hotel room with a bunch of strangers for 24 hours opening up about intimate problems.
Behind-the-scenes, it left us scrambling to find a new stranger to complete the trio. We opened up the phone lines and solicited problems from the public —"Call our line, introduce yourself, and tell us about your problem."
Soon our voice mail was maxed-out with messages from an array of people telling us about their conundrums and wanting to sleep over. Our message box transformed into a capsule for the human condition.
Among them, Judy Kennedy. Her voice was tender, and strong with a clarity that I found beautiful. She captivated me as she described herself and her problem.
Judy is 61 years young and lives in a retirement home. She was diagnosed with a neurological disease that left her unable to walk. Confined to her electric wheelchair, Judy navigates the world with the speed and precision of a winning race-car driver. She's fiercely independent and funny. She can pop a mean wheelie!
Her problem is universal and specific, she wants romance but finds it difficult to meet people. Online dating led nowhere and she found the bar scene frustratingly wheelchair inaccessible.
Judy wants romance and companionship, but she is worried about being a burden to potential partners. Everyone at the senior's home seems incompatible. What's a modern woman to do?
Strangers politician Jagmeet Singh, boy math whiz Tai Poole, and I have all suffered from heartbreak in the search for love. Together we help Judy find new ways to connect with strangers, while encouraging her to be more proactive.
PHOTOS FROM THE EPISODE