Cultural Clash

Guy Fawkes

In each minority group, there are always one or more fanatics who can lead themselves, their faction, and society, into trouble. It’s what got Guy Fawkes tortured and executed.

Here in Kitchener, in Toronto, and in many other cities, the (What are they calling themselves today?? Negroes?  Blacks?  Colored?  African- Americans/Canadians?) are upset, and calling for an end to ‘Carding,’ – random stops of people by police, to identify themselves.

Black spokesmen claim that this practice unfairly focuses on people of color, yet statistically, it is ‘people of color’ – usually young black males – who are proven to commit more crimes, especially against other Negroes, than white folks.

The Toronto Police Force has CROs – Community Relations Officers – who hang out in various schools, helping out, coaching or refereeing sports, and generally showing that the Police are ‘good guys’. Black citizens’ representatives demanded that they be removed, because black children felt threatened, harassed and oppressed.  If you don’t do the crime, you won’t do the time.

Black Lives Matter. All lives matter, including the black, and the white, cops who are trying to protect all the population.  In Toronto, a rabble-rousing female spokeswoman for BLM, has high-jacked this year’s Gay Pride Parade.  It’s unclear just how she gained control – perhaps sheer volume.

At first, she and her cabal – and these aren’t even home-grown Negroes; they’re immigrants – demanded that the police not be allowed to march in the parade. After a large public hue and cry of protest, the demand has been modified.  The police may march as a group, but will not be allowed to wear their uniforms – symbols of authority and control.  A similar ‘activist’ has exacted a similar demand in Winnipeg.

I recently took the daughter shopping. I often check out through the ‘12 Items Or Less – Express lane’.  This day, I only had 1 item, but the daughter had 16 or 18.  In all honesty and fairness, we decided to use a regular lane.  Besides the Express, there were only 2 open.  The line from one extended back into the bread department, but the other….  I could see a man at the front with 2 or 3 items.  Behind him were only two women, both like the daughter, with a few items on the bottoms of their carts.

Nearby, jammed against the rack with the gum, candy, and National Enquirers, was another, fully-loaded cart, but no-one around. I motioned at it, and raised an eyebrow.  The daughter shrugged, and we quickly got in line behind the second woman.  The man at the front cashed out.  We moved up.  When the first woman’s items were almost all scanned, the second started to unload her stuff, and we moved up again.

Now, a 20ish black football player showed up and grabbed the cart.  He started to push toward the checkout, and the daughter moved the front of her cart a bit, so that he wouldn’t drive it into her.  When we didn’t move any further than that, he looked at me, pointed to the checkout, and said, “I was there.” I replied, “Yes, you were – then you abandoned your cart, blocking people, and went away, to do some more shopping.”  “I wasn’t shopping. I just went to get some more items.”
“THAT’S SHOPPING!”

“Well, I don’t think I should have to stand and wait. Your wife was going to let me in line”  “She’s my daughter, and she’s handicapped.  She doesn’t want to stand in line and wait for you.  You’re a big, strong, healthy guy, (I pointed at his tree-trunk legs.) you can do it.

“Oh, she’s handicapped?? I didn’t notice.”  The daughter said, “And the big shiny crutch didn’t give you an idea??”, and shook it at him.  Now he tried a different tack. “I’m going to tell you something.” “No shit!  Could I stop you?” “I’m from Jamaica; you know what I’m saying?” “Sometimes!  Vaguely!”  (That went right over his head.)

“You people say, (What people?  White people?) that Canada is a welcoming country, and Canadians are kind and well-mannered, but I see people swearing at the clerk at Tim Horton’s, and arguing with the checkouts here, because there’s a back-up, and they have to wait.” I said, “That’s probably because of guys like you, who butt into line and hold things up.”  Game!  Set!  Match!

What a case of creeping entitlement! If you want to be welcomed by kind, well-mannered Canadians, you gotta show some respect and good manners of your own.  Not all of us are apologising doormats, and some of us do not suffer arrogant fools well.

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Flash Fiction #134

Pop Can Tabs

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Sheldon

TANSTAAFLUrban Myth

Save all your pop-can tabs. Someone will donate a power wheelchair.

Mr. Cynicism said, “Who? Why?”

Like a child’s paper-clip necklace, I pulled it apart, one link at a time. Daughter said, “Mom told me.  Didn’t she mention it to you?”  The wife named a sister. That sister blamed an older sister. She said the yenta was a bowling team member.

Bowler identified a man in her trailer park.  “He’s got his; we’re trying for another.”  Wheelchair man nailed them, upside down, to slabs of plywood, and sold them to supplement his meager disability allowance.  “They’re great muddy shoe scrapers.”

***

TANSTAAFL is a term credited to the author, Robert A. Heinlein. It cynically/realistically means, There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

The trailer park man’s wheelchair was not donated.  It had been supplied by the government. He was not aware of any group giving away free wheelchairs.  Pop-can tabs are pure aluminum.  There was a group who collected entire aluminum cans, crushed them and turned them in for rebate at the scrap dealer.  The money was added to a fund which aided handicapped people.

BELIEF is when Hope is substituted for Facts.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

2017 A To Z Challenge – E

Challenge2017

I know that, according to my own, self-imposed schedule, I should have had a post composed and ready to publish today, about the letter

Letter E

Just about the time the daily A to Z Challenge bloggers were posting their offerings for the letter E, I contracted a case of 48-hour flu. By the time I got back to the computer, it was too late to acquire a list of possible theme words.  Between the virus-induced mental incapacitation and the lack of inspiration, nothing got written.

The situation was made worse by bureaucracy. One of the drive motors on the daughter’s power wheelchair seized, and Murphy worked overtime to ensure clerical catastrophe.  What should have been a (bad enough) two weeks inconvenience, has become more than three months of dragged-on denial of service, before the Provincial disability office finally decided that it’s too expensive to repair a 13-year-old chair.

New rules say that, since she doesn’t need it all the time, she can’t have a new one.  Now she has to break in a new case worker, and jump through all the hoops to find an acceptable handicap scooter, for which the Government will (eventually) pay monthly rent.  Winter cabin fever was bad enough.  Now, the nice summer weather is here, and she still can’t get outside and be independent.

Besides the afternoon-long, hour drive up the highway and back, for her anti-pain treatment, this means that I have taken her shopping several times, to the Farmers’ Market, twice to her dentist, once to the next city to pick up cheap, bulk, dog and cat food, and each week to a counselling forum which helps her deal with the physical and emotional problems of having her loving, supportive son 500 kilometers away.

Eighteen months after being told that the wait time would be 12 months, the wife was finally contacted by her orthopedic surgeon, (the same guy who installed my artificial shoulder ten years ago) and was told that her first knee replacement, the right, was a go.  This required two trips to the hospital to fluff their paperwork.  The first was a mere two hours, the second, an extended, four hour clerical comedy show.  At least it’s finally going ahead.  On June 27th, Hobble-Along Cassidy meets Dr. Stabby McStab-Stab in a dance to the death.

All of this means that, instead of having time to write my usual, knife-sharp, crystal-clear, diamond-hard posts which inform and entertain you, you are being afflicted with this whiny, apologetic, idiosyncratic, fogbank collection of Excuses, for my E contribution.

Thanx for your sympathy, and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks with something a little more solid, for the fabulous letter F.

Everything Ended Perfectly

Aghast

For any of my readers who might be in the Southern Ontario region – I suggest you take a few steps back for a couple of weeks. If the Karma Balancing Equation is correct, my house should get struck by a medium-sized meteor soon.

All 3 puppies

Daughter LadyRyl recently got to go for her first plane trip. The crazy cat lady also breeds Chihuahuas.   The daughter has been fostering a female for her, and recently oversaw the delivery of four cute little puppies.

She has had a long-distance friend for almost 18 years – almost since before there was an Internet. She Facebooked photos, and Skyped with the friend, showing off the wee dogs.  They’ve often spoken about getting together, but they’re 500 miles apart.

Alug & Tara

Alug (a look), with Tara, new, much older sister

The friend was entranced by one little male, and decided to add him to her menagerie – then her 7 kids would have 7 pets. Ryl decided that the time had come, and offered to deliver him by hand.  The friend lives a 2-hour drive east of Thunder Bay, ON, and offered to pick her up there and house her for five days.

She has blogged about the flight up, and plans to detail her stay. If you haven’t already, you might link over and have a look.  She had a wonderful visit, although, halfway through, the new main bridge on the Trans-Canada Highway,  between her and the airport, popped a rivet and got a bit bent out of shape.  Crews had it at least usable by the time she left.

Nipigon Bridge

She paid for her own flight. Cat-lady offered to drive her to and from the Toronto airport.  It’s the least she could do.  She’d have had to drive down once, and pay to have the dog shipped, whereas, the daughter took the puppy as carry-on luggage.

It’s a two hour flight home, and it’s a two hour drive from the cat-lady’s home. Just as daughter was getting ready to board her plane, cat-lady texted her.  The storm that was blowing down from the north had reached her.  She got to the highway, and visibility was ZERO.

We got a desperate text. Was our weather still clear??  Could we pick her up at the airport??  Of course!  Where and when?

I’ve been past the Toronto Airport, but never actually entered.  We got some things ready and took off.  Obscured lane markings and a bit of blowing snow made the trip a little longer than the usual one hour.  So did the fact that I left the highway one ramp too soon, driving up the airport’s ass-end, across the top, and back down, coming at the entrance from the wrong direction.

Pulling in off the street, I was suddenly on a Disneyworld ride – roads and ramps and bumper cars, oh my. In the dark!  In a snowstorm!  Where’s the signs?  Where’s the parking.  If I’m not careful, I’ll drive to Disneyworld, rather than fly there!

I followed a previous suggestion, made by the son. He describes it as Zen driving.  Find a car that looks like it knows where you’re going, and follow it.  Those two that just cut me off – they look like they’re going to pick someone up.  Sure enough, they both pull up a poorly marked ramp, and lead me into a parking garage.

Soon, I’m in a handicap spot, ten feet from an entrance. This opens to an overhead concourse, where we can look down on (in both senses) the chaos at the main entrance.  The daughter texted that she was landing, and that her plane would be a D-Gate #111.  Her one checked bag would unload at baggage carousel #9.

As we enter, signs say that Gates A – C are waayyy down there.  Gate D is right around this corner, an easy hobble for the wife and her two crutches.  However, carousel 9 is two football fields away.  With no seating on the upper level, we go down the escalator and take seats beside carousel 1.

Another text tells us that daughter’s plane was 10 minutes early, and the plane at ramp #111 is 10 minutes late leaving. They will unload onto the tarmac, and send luggage to carousel 1, since it’s the closest.

Soon, an airport employee delivers daughter and her carry-ons, in a wheelchair. We grab her checked bag and head for the car.  All done in just under an hour, we pay the outrageous $10 parking fee, and quickly hit Highway 401.

A bit more snow on the way home, a bit less wind drifting.  Traffic moves smoothly.  We’re home safely in an hour.  Where’s the snotty GPS?  Where’s the bumper-to-bumper traffic?  Where’s the getting lost and having to stop and ask some rag-head for directions?  Where’s something to rant about?  Karma’s up to something!  I’ll probably get lost going to the supermarket, but, Everything Ended Perfectly!  😀

 

 

Five For Festing

From the early spring, when most of the snow has melted, to the late fall, when it starts coming down again, the daughter (LadyRyl) is reasonably mobile.  Whether with one crutch or two, she can catch a bus a hundred yards away, over on the main street.  On bad days, she can call up the Transit Mobility van, and be taken in her power wheelchair, to places like the big mall at the edge of town.  I’m even amazed at how far away she can get from home, with just the wheelchair’s battery-pack.

All this freedom quickly disappears when the ice and snow begin to pile up.  Unshovelled sidewalks, and piles left by plows can be quite a challenge for the mobility-challenged.  She’s been stuck a few times, outside, in the cold.  Once, she thought a quartet of teen boys on foot might harass her, but they dug and pushed her out.  Then, a quarter mile down the street, at the other mall entrance, she got stuck again, and had to call her son at his work, to leave and come over to get her out.  No-one else helped.

Other than when I drive her somewhere, she spends a lot of time indoors over the winter.  You can’t read or watch TV all the time, so this is when she stocks up on her crafts.  She spins up lots of her raw fiber into skeins of beautiful artisanal yarns, then she knits and crochets some of it into shawls, scarves, hats, mitts and socks.  She and a girlfriend turn wire and semi-precious stones into jewellery.  It gets her through the winter, but by spring she’s got a lot of time, energy and money tied up in stuff for sale.

At about this time of year, along comes a line of festivals and opportunities to recoup investment through retail.  This year, it started five weeks ago.  On a Saturday, I took her 15 miles out, to a Mennonite village, to celebrate the Strawberry Festival.  Aside from fervent thanks, and a few dollars for gas, I received a couple of pints of “picked-today” strawberries.

The wife washed and hulled them and put them on a cookie sheet.  I put that into the freezer, later transferring the frozen fruit to a Zip-Loc bag.  I will be able to thaw small bowlfuls, and add them to my cereal over the winter.

The next week I took her to her monthly BarterWorks congregation at the downtown Working Center.  While it’s open to the public on a cash basis, it needs some promotion.  Still, she made a few sales and trades, met some old friends, and had a nice day out.

The third week, the cherries were in season, (In Washington State, and Mexico) and I put her and her goods beneath a nylon-topped gazebo in her nearby Cherry Park.  She and her friend sheltered from the blazing sun in the baseball outfield, and a bit more stock was exchanged for cash.

On the fourth Saturday, I set her up in the big park for the Anti-Violence Festival.  While we set up the gazebo again, she was on a small island, and well protected from the sun by mature trees.  She brought along her spinning wheel, to attract customers.

Here are some pics of the things that she and her friends make and sell, under the name Frog Pond Collective.  Included are shots of her spinning wheel, first lonely, then, fully manned (Womanned?)

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On the Friday night before, I had been there for the big Cruise Night.  On the way out of the park, I again ran into these.  I’m not sure if this is the city’s idea of a joke – or art.   😕

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About 125 years ago, when the park was created, one of the buildings torn down had belonged to McBrine Luggage, on this exact spot.  They’re still in business – just elsewhere in the city.  These are made of concrete, and, like the warning on McDonald’s cups, not to juggle hot coffee with your crotch, there is a metal plaque on the grass next to them, across from the bus terminal, reminding the drunks and druggies not to try to steal them.

Last Sunday, I was to take her to a fest the Oxymorons call Open Street – when they close the main street to traffic.  At the last minute – Wed.? Thur.? – it was decided to switch it to Saturday night, to meld with the Jazz Festival being held in front of the downtown mall.

It was overcast but dry all Sunday, but began drizzling as soon as we got set up Saturday evening.  Even sitting on a thick, woven rug, the spinning wheel began to get damp.  She called me to pick it up and take it home, but, by the time I got there, several vendors had had enough, so we packed it in.

The young city workers were supposed to have distributed a survey at the end of the evening, and were now desperately yelling in car windows to find what was good and what could be improved.  Aside from the rain, being located two blocks from the Jazz Fest, the only people walking by, in the dark, were on their way to their cars – very disappointing.

This Saturday will be a small, indoor BarterWorks again, and the last Saturday in August will be another.  The city wants to try Open Street again on the third Sunday.  (Did I say Five??!)  The daughter is considering the upcoming Word On The Street Festival, and is looking for other chances to unload the last of her stash for cash.

 

I’ve Been Thinking – Again

If this keeps up, it may become a habit.  The first day of September was a Sunday, which made the 15th a very early “third Sunday”, which is the day for the monthly meeting of the Free Thinkers.  The first time we attended a meeting, our sister city was holding an Open Street fair, and the handicapped daughter and I had to hobble two blocks, to get in.

On this 15th, Open Street was on again, but opening was delayed till noon.  The daughter’s BarterWorks group had reserved some space.  She wanted to attend the Free Thinkers, and then have me deliver her down the street to set up.

As sometimes happens, the son’s weekend sleep schedule was destroyed.  So happy and wound-up that the work-week was over, he couldn’t go to sleep Saturday morning, and was still babbling till 3:00 PM.  We woke him again at eight, so that we could all eat supper between 9 and 10, but he was asleep again shortly after midnight.

Before he crashed, I offered him a chance to attend.  Sure enough, when I rose Sunday morning, he dressed, and came along with the daughter and her friend.  He and I sat on opposite sides of a long table.  He talked to the people to my right, and I talked to people to his right.

He might not have the highest IQ, or be the smartest person where he works, but he damns himself with faint praise by claiming he’s the best spoken.  That doesn’t take much.  He expounds clearly, concisely and knowledgably, on a variety of subjects, both trivial and serious – and gets nothing back.  He was thrilled to spend time in a roomful of people who, not only kept up, but caused him to stretch himself.  He wants to ride the ride again.

On our way to the downtown hotel, we came out of a side street behind a plaza, and turned down a four-lane, one-way street toward the main drag.  Three wide, we and two other cars, went up a rise and around a bend – to suddenly confront a car coming directly at us, going the wrong way.  He quickly pulled to the curb so I could go past.  I watched in my mirror.  As soon as the rest of traffic cleared, he pulled a U-turn.  Only 25 days till Oktoberfest, I think he was from out of town.

While many free thinkers tend to be individualists, there is still an urge for like to join with like.  We accepted a business card from a lady representing www.sacredsecularsanctuary.com which offers support and guidance to those leaving their religious safety nets.

The group president was on a business trip to Switzerland, so neither he nor the ex-Mennonite lady was there.  The oldest member, while in apparent good health, had suddenly died.  We offered no prayers.

Since the set-up for the street fair was to begin at noon, we left early – about 12:10, and not a moment too soon.  They had blocked off the street, and were just about to block off the hotel’s driveway when I backed onto the street.  I didn’t get downtown for this summer’s Cruise Night, but got to look at 50/60 examples of beautiful classic cars as I slowly threaded down to where the daughter needed to set up.

While the food is good, the prices reasonable, and the service crisp, efficient and friendly, the old hotel where they hold these luncheons is an old hotel.  The room we use is a half flight down from the already basement restaurant.  It was a malting room for the brewery, with the tanks removed.  The inscription on the doorway lintel stone reads 1856.

With no elevators, and lots of steps, it makes it difficult for folks like the daughter to reach.  We would normally skip next month, but they’re trying a newer hotel in downtown Kitchener.  It has elevators, lots of free parking, and is much closer to the daughter’s house.  We’ve decided to attend, try it out, and cast a vote.

While not a rousing commercial success, the daughter’s afternoon with BarterWorks was fun, and a chance for further social interaction, something that’s limited for the mobility-impaired.  She ran into an old friend she hadn’t seen in years, and gabbed and gushed and got caught up.

She took along the newest one (to her) of her spinning wheels, for demonstration, and entranced gobs of lookers.  It’s 40/50 years old, and worth about $500 new.  Somebody must have turned grandma’s stuff in to the Thrift Shoppe, where she found it, and picked it up for $25.  I came back to pick her and the wheel up just before it rained.

Native Canadian Indians have a strong presence at each of the universities up in Waterloo.  At U of W, the larger, each fall they hold a Pow-Wow, much like a smaller version of the Multi-Cultural Festival held in Kitchener’s Victoria Park.  It will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28.  This would be the normal day for the daughter’s BarterWorks display, but she applied early enough, and was granted space at the Pow-Wow.

A table at the University will give her much more exposure than at the little BarterWorks get-together, probably with more cash sales.  Also, it will be a 9 to 5 session, instead of only 11 till 3.  I will be up early to haul all of her stuff, including a wheel and the nylon gazebo for weather protection, along with her, her friend, and the grandson for support.

No drugs, no booze, no dancing, no all-night raves, no random, anonymous sex, (well, none I’m admitting to), doing things the old-fashioned way, this is the exciting way we spend a day or weekend.  Like Hercule Poirot, we stimulate “the little grey cells” to have fun.  I’ll report back, and tell you all about it.  You’ve been warned.