Paul Ryan Hiebert On The Back Of A Motorcycle


I’ve known Paul for many years. I can tell you this: Paul Hiebert is simultaneously very very wise but also clueless at the same time.

Paul needed to get from Vancouver to his hometown halfway across Canada on before he left to got to NYU. Andrew and I decided to drive him there on our motorcycles. My dad lent me his huge Harley Style Bike, I drove it and Paul sat behind me on the back of it. This bike was super heavy, and at the first stop light we got to, I slowed to a stop but then the bike slowly began to tip over. It was so heavy, I put my foot down to hold it up but it was too much, it just fell to the ground. So Paul and I scrambled out from under the bike and tried to lift it up. We were barely able to, it’s super hard on our backs. Cars behind us honking impatient. So next stop light, I was already rattled, and low and behold, slowly begin to tip over, same thing happened again. Then next stop light, rattled even more, the bike falling over was in my head and my confidence shot, so it tips again. I put my foot down and try as hard as I can to stop it tipping over but it’s so heavy! Straining, veins popping, leg about to snap, it’s so heavy, slowly unceasingly moving toward the ground, how can it be this heavy? I look over my shoulder back at Paul... and he’s just sitting on the back, rigid, back straight, calm, both feet still on the pegs, every time it’s been tipping over, he hasn’t been putting his foot down to hold up the bike, he was just sitting there rigidly, back straight, as we tip over. Classic.

Everybody who met Paul thought he was very unique, I always thought of him as poetic, in his interesting life goals, his really bad clothing style, how he was always asking philosophical deep questions about the purpose of existence, many people felt disarmed by and endeared to him. And, like me, Paul was kind of a lost soul…

Before Paul moved away, for many years he worked with addicted, homeless, and mentally ill people as part of the Portland Hotel Society on Vancouvers Troubled Downtown East Side. He had so much compassion and care for those less fortunate than him. One day he got the idea for him and I to get a flight to Toronto and Montreal to experience being homeless for 2 weeks straight. First night we got into downtown Toronto and were like, now what. Then we went to a construction site, climbed the scaffolding on the side of the building, and passed out 3 stories above the sidewalk. Next day we were a mess. Woke up damp. Tired. Hungry. Dirty.  We layed on the ground on the sidewalk most of the day, scared our bags were going to get jacked if we didn’t loop our legs through the straps. We played a tiny travel guitar to get change and made about 2 bucks over 4 hours. Bought some yogurts and chocolate milks. That night we slept in a park. After having trouble falling asleep for maybe 3 hours we finally passed out, thats when about 20 sprinklers turned on and soaked us completely as we scrambled out of there. We went and tried to sleep in a church backyard but got kicked out by a security guard. Etc etc so on and so forth. Paul was the best guy to go through this kind of stuff with, because with Paul, instead of it being rough or being a hassle or a nightmare, instead... all this tough stuff was very significant, metaphorically speaking.. It was meaningful on Paul’s quest to understand and enjoy life in a deeply caring way.

For years 4 of us lived in a single room studio apartment. We had a Triple Decker bunk bed, Paul slept in the middle shelf and it had some cubby hole shelves built into the space between his bed and the bed above him, and he had all of his possessions to his name stashed on like 4 tiny shelves. Actually he had possesions on only maybe 2 shelves and the other 2 shelves he had reserved for… basically he had taped up magazine cut outs of gorgeous new york fashion models, high end New York and european runway fashion models. It was an interesting contrast, on the one hand this extremely high end fashion, style, and makeup fascination... but then on the other hand was Paul... this guy who wore grey sweatpants and a stained dress shirt to the casino to play blackjack trying to make his rent money, then when he’d lose all his everything in blackjack he would come home super depressed and frustrated and eat a whole McCain Deep and Delicious Chocolate Cake then watch America’s Next Top Model for 48 hours days straight. Then he’d go through a motivational upswing and wake me up at 5 am to ride on a bus for an hour up the mountain to our University gym where we didn’t really know what to do, so we’d just work out randomly for maybe ten-fifteen minutes then sped probably 2 full hours buck naked in the sauna talking heavy philosophy and big dreams. And most of the time, Paul’s big dream in Life was about one day somehow meeting an amazing woman who is specifically interested in very high end fashion and style, but is also very down to earth, highly intelligent, and is very social and very loving, and shares his curiousity about the world, and is somehow interested in him too. Well... your dream came true Paul.

When I first met Christiana very briefly several years ago I was initially rattled by the beauty, and the confidence, and I was very confused how Paul managed to pull this off… Christiana, you have such an open compassionate spirit, Lisa and I thought, you have an amazing ability to make everyone in the room feel good and feel comfortable, and believe in themselves. I couldn’t imagine a better partner for Paul. We love you.

So I’d like to raise my glass to Paul and Christiana.

Congratulations you two lovebirds. So happy for you. Can’t wait to see the amazing stuff you guys accomplish together!!!