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.

Poppa Attack

poppa attack

Just to show that procrastination isn’t the only reason that I don’t get accomplished, what I should. Like Mary and her lamb, I love (most) animals, and they love me.  When I stop in at the daughter’s place, I don’t usually sit down.  I get in and out quicker.

The above photo, dark and murky though it may be, shows what happens if I sit in the big recliner chair. Daughter is hosting two short-haired female Chihuahuas for a breeder.  One insists on licking my entire face – could be for the perspiration salt – could be because she really likes me.  The other doesn’t lick faces, but will clean out both of my ears.

The grandson’s German Shepherd-cross never believes that the Chihuahua does my face correctly, and insists on re-licking it. With a much larger tongue, it should take her less time, but if I don’t insist on coming up for air, it could go on all afternoon.  She took out my sapphire ear-stud out one day.  I never noticed, and I’ve never replaced it.

The daughter’s younger male cat, who will not be picked up, has picked up on the fact that I’ve been practicing my petting and skritching at home.  He has settled onto the left side of my lap, while the little female loudly stands below him at my knee.

Not seen, on the sofa to my right, is Benny, the big son to my now-gone Contessa. He was battling a two-ear infection, with partial deafness and vertigo, but still loudly insisted that I reach out to him too.

The daughter sometimes babysits the breeder’s little, male, long-haired Chihuahua, when she’s on a business trip. He will let no man near him, but will run to the daughter when I arrive. She is allowed to pick him up, and hand him off to me.  There, he quickly settles into the crook of my left elbow, and closes his eyes as I stroke him.  He’d probably purr, if he were a cat.

The wife insists that I’m the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi. All this adoration is like high-octane gasoline; it fuels my soul.  It de-stresses me, and lowers my blood pressure, though it doesn’t help my memory or concentration.  “Why did I come in here today??  Shopping??!  What for?  What time is it?  What day is this?”   😕

A To Z – History And Hi-Way Market

Challenge2017   Letter H

About 125 years ago, just at the turn of the 20th Century, in the heyday of Ontario manufacturing, Kitchener was not yet a city.  It was still a town, a booming, industrial town, full of Germanic Mennonites and Pennsylvania Dutch, called Berlin.

A bit over a mile (a long way in those days) north of ‘City Hall’, toward Waterloo our Twin City, two companies were established, and two buildings were erected. The nearest was Kaufman Footwear, making slippers, shoes and boots.  A square, three-storey structure went up.  Over the next 50 years, three more additions produced a plant a half a block wide and a city block long, right where the main street crossed the old highway.  At its height, it employed hundreds of men (and later women).

I applied for a job as a lab assistant in 1965, when I first came here, but was turned down. I worked for Kaufman for two years, 25 years later, after they’d moved storage and most of the manufacturing to a new plant at the edge of town.

Another block further north, a rubber company was formed. This was the plant I retired from.  It began as Merchant’s Rubber, then became Dominion Rubber, then Uniroyal bought it, and later amalgamated to become Goodrich/Uniroyal, though it never produced tires.

The asshole brother-in-law worked there for almost 25 years. After he left, I joined it as Becker’s Lay-Tech, then it became Perstorp Components, and finally, Collins and Aikman drove it and its sister plant down the street where my brother worked for Dominion Textile in 1965/66, into bankruptcy.  During its Uniroyal heyday, there were 3600 people working around three shifts.  It didn’t grow as neatly as Kaufman.  Over 50 years there were 13 ‘buildings’ which became another half-block wide X block-long X 4-storey plant.

A mile further north, in the open fields and meadows between the two cities, dozens – hundreds – of stout little homes were built to house all the men who walked or biked to work at these plants. The wife was born in a sturdy brick house, three doors north of the imaginary boundary of Waterloo.

This neighborhood was once called the North Ward, home to the blue-collar families who worked in these factories. The North Ward is slipping away.  The area is called Mid-Town now, and it’s the up-and-coming place for young professionals to move to.

Of course, not everyone in the subdivision could be a mindless plant drone. Her father built a barber shop a block and a half from the Uniroyal plant, and raised 9 kids by cutting hair for men going to or from work.

Two nearby young brothers tried plant work, but found they were more interested in installing and adjusting machinery, so they started a millwrighting/rigging firm in their dad’s garage, to service the two firms. Years later they built a facility further out of town than the Kaufman plant.

I worked for them for two years, and the engineer down the hall, was the guy who didn’t hire me at Kaufman. The structure is now the plastics plant where the son works, and they rent warehouse/assembly space at the nearby ex-Kaufman building, where I once cut shoe/boot parts.

The man whose Portuguese wife sent him to work with delicious sandwiches, started providing them for a friend – or two – or more – soon dozens. He quit the company and started his own catering business, eventually stocking the vending machines, and running the three-shift, hot meal cafeteria in the plant he no longer worked at.

The greatest success story was the local grocer. He also couldn’t take the plant work, but had an inspiration.  If it was a mile walk for the men to go to work, it was a lot further trudge, dragging children, to go shopping.

He turned his front living-room into a little ‘corner store’, when such a thing didn’t exist locally, and stocked it with the essentials. GENIUS!  He had a captive audience.  Soon, he expanded the ‘living-room,’ and then added on….and added on again.

Then he had another flash of genius. In the late 1950s, more families owned cars, and the rise of shopping malls was beginning.  In order to get around an hours-of-opening bylaw, a mile outside the city limit, he built Hi-Way Market.  In the days of two-lane highways, you could just drive out to the A & W, and turn left across the road.  Today, it’s two exit ramps and an access road.

This was the Costco/Price Club of its day, 20 years before Costco was born. He erected a huge big barn of a building, as big as any Costco.  Like Costco, he sold everything, and much of it in bulk – canned and boxed goods, produce, meat, bakery, clothing, hardware, electrical.  He had a sit-down lunch bar where both the wife and her brother worked, and a postal, and a banking facility.

There were actually two floors, but much of the upstairs was used for storage and staff/administration. He put a photography department up there, which later went independent, and still exists in town.  Aside from the main-floor diner counter, he tried a slightly upscale restaurant upstairs.  It became famous in the region, as The Charcoal Steakhouse.  It built a fancy new home a block further up the street recently, when the original building was torn down.

So much history! So much local commerce emerged from the wife’s neighborhood.  The Kaufman plant is now a preppy downtown condo, and my C&A plant had a tiara added and is home to a bunch of Google gremlins.

Jeep goiing up

And so, the ugly duckling has become a swan.    😉

Google Building

 

COOL

ice

Shortly after the last ice age ended, and the glaciers withdrew, the Neanderthals started to notice that the carcasses of woolly mammoths began to go bad quickly. Soon, many people were looking for an artificial way of producing cold/ice.  Finally, about 1850, using ammonia, some Americans perfected a machine to remove heat.  It only worked on a large scale, but the race to develop a smaller version was soon on.

In 1930, Frigidaire (frigid air – get it?) developed Freon™, and made lighter, safer, cheaper, home-size refrigerators possible.  The chiller-tubes (actually freezer-tubes) were wrapped around a small box at the top of the fridge, to increase the cooling area.  The cold air drifted down to chill items on lower shelves, but anything placed inside the box froze solid.

The makers soon learned to put doors on these boxes. You could put a tray of ice cubes in, but there wasn’t much more room than would take a modern cell phone.  Housewives still relied on regular trips to the butcher or grocery store.

This technology didn’t drift north into Canada very quickly. Possibly Americans felt we still had enough ice to keep us going.  My parents relied on an icebox until after 1950.  Too young to notice, I don’t know how or where we stored meat for daily meals.

One of the businesses on the main street was a lumber store, with saws and planers and sanders. The little office at the front did not require the full store width.  In an attempt to increase his income, the owner had one of the big refrigeration units installed, forming a large, walk-in freezer. He installed various-sized lockers, and rented them out.

Of course, only the more well-to-do in town could afford this service – to pay for the locker, and afford to buy and have butchered, a side of beef, half a pig, or a dozen chickens. As a young child, wandering the main street, through the big front window I often saw the ‘Rich Lady’, from the other side of the tracks, entering this strange room, wearing a full fur coat – in the middle of summer.  When I asked my Father, he explained about the rented frozen food storage.

By the time I got old enough to travel to other towns and cities, and look around, refrigerators were equipped with larger freezer compartments.   Both the lumber store and the need for its freezer room had disappeared.  I am not aware of this service anywhere else, but find it difficult to believe that it was unique to my little hometown.  Have any of my (particularly older) readers seen or heard of this service elsewhere?

A Phish Out Of Water

The other day, while I was out being threatened (More on that later), the wife was being phished. Since the son and I were out running errands, she took advantage of our absence to sit at the PC in the computer room, and pay some bills online.

She had just accessed the bank’s website, and was viewing activity on our account for the last 30 days, when the phone rang. Jane Doe? Yes?? This is Walter, at the accounting department of XYZ Bank. I want to talk about a $200 deposit that was made to your account, 11 AM, on June 18.

She wisely said that she’d check into it, and would call him back. What was his number? The bank’s accounting department would be in Toronto, with a 416 area code. He gave her a local, 519 number. What extension?? Oh, that’s a direct line.

She scrolled up the page and, of course, there was no such deposit. She tried calling his number back. We’re sorry. The number you have called is equipped for outgoing calls only. It was worrying that this scammer knew her name, which is not listed in the phone book, and the fact that we banked with XYZ. We paranoidly shred everything that has a name or address on it, to the point that a Christmas present from the son, was a new cross-cut shredder which makes confetti.

She called the bank’s 1-800 customer service number, and reported the incident. They said they’d look into it, but it’s like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

Meanwhile…. I’d had a Tri-Fecta week.

Shopping cart

A woman in a grocery store had backed into my cart, and apparently hit her elbow. Ow! Ow! Ow! – WELL?? Well what? Are you going to apologise? NO!

I left another store a couple of days later, and went to climb into my car. Suddenly, the owner of the van to my left, leaned past his windshield and yelled, “Take it easy on my van! It’s brand new, and I don’t want it all scratched up.” Uh, Okay…. “I told you, don’t scratch my van!” I didn’t – I didn’t touch it. “I’m warning you. Take it easy on my van.” Even with my door fully open, it doesn’t touch your van by two inches. Take a look. “Just watch yourself! I warned you to stay away from my van. I hate ignorant cocksuckers like you.” (My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.) and climbed in and roared away.

The coup de grace came on Saturday morning. When the son got home from work, we went out together to do some shopping and errands. As we finished the last, it was nearing lunch time, and he offered to treat, at a Subway shop.

We followed a family in, parents early 30s, boys 6 and 8, and waited patiently as they all worked their way down the counter, picking out toppings. Dad went first, then the excited, indecisive boys, followed by mom in ballerina mode, arms akimbo, hands on hips, swiveling back and forth, making decisions.

She finally made her last choice (Swiss cheese) and moved up to the register, where dad was paying. I moved up, and started giving my choices, when she and her Tai Chi elbows came dancing back. I tried to back out of her way, but one of her flying elbows just touched my ample tummy.

Being the well-mannered Canadian that I am, I said, “Oops, I’m sorry.”, and she danced away again. I continued picking stuff for my sandwich as hubby spoke to her….or so I thought. Suddenly I heard, “Hey! I’m talking to you!” Wha’?? “Watch what the fuck yer doin’! That’s just fucking disrespectful. I oughta slap the shit outta you!”

So, he’s taught the boys that it’s okay to use foul language in public and threaten people, all 5’ 8”, and 150 lbs. of him. A lover, not a fighter, and almost 71, I think I could have taken him, because it would not have been a fair fight. If not, I brought along my son, The Bear. At 6’ 2”, and 275 lbs. he could just squeeze this mouthy idiot’s head till all the shit ran out his ears.

As they headed for a table, he leaned in and hissed, “Yer just lucky I had the wife along today.” which, while not the dumbest thing I’d heard all week, was well up in the top ten. If he hadn’t had the Prima Ballerina, she wouldn’t have bumped into me, and this whole damned drama scene wouldn’t have occurred. Shit, take your meds, and attend those court-ordered anger management sessions!

Then he sat down with the wife he was so worried about, pulled out his smart phone, and proceeded to ignore her and his sons while he phoned three friends to set up a golf game the next day, and then play Candy Crush.

As the President of the local Grumpy Old Dude Association, I’d like to claim that I’m an irritating old turd, and own these, but:

You weren’t watching where you were going, and walked into my cart. I didn’t touch your vehicle! Open your eyes and look.
Your wife backed into me – and I apologised.

If these had valid causes, I’d blame them on urban overcrowding pressure. What in Hell causes people to get so angry and aggressive about imaginary slights and insults?

#483

Chastised

Shrew

I took shit twice this week, and both times from a woman….  Wait, I’m a male, and I’m married – that statement is redundant.

I took the wife to a grocery store that we don’t normally patronize.  Once you’re in, they give you all the room in the world, but, worried about ‘shrinkage’, they funnel you in, and funnel you out.

Finished with our shopping, we joined the mule-train heading for the exit.  Suddenly, the two women with carts ahead of us, came to a complete stop.  I waited for a few seconds to allow someone to put change or coupons in a purse, but when a minute had passed and we still weren’t moving, I looked to see what the holdup was.

Three women had entered the store, one, 5 to 10 years older than me, and what seemed to be her daughter and a friend.  The daughter was treating her like she was senile, and giving minute instructions – go here, look for that, don’t buy this, etc., etc.  The problem was, they’d stopped her when her cart was crossways to the access aisle.  If the two in front of me wanted to stand there like sheep, I’d play herd-dog.

The old gal wasn’t leaning on the cart, so I grasped the front and slowly, gently turned it 90°, till it was against the wall, and out of everybody’s way.  The senior’s hand and wrist moved with it.  Now the two dreamers woke up and headed out of the store.  The darling little old lady looked up in surprise and said, “Oh, was I blocking the aisle?  I’m so sorry.  I apologise!”, because that’s what thoughtful, well-mannered people do.

Suddenly, like a fireworks display, the daughter started popping off.  To the friend, “Well, isn’t he aggressive?”  To me, “What’s the matter?  Are you so busy that you couldn’t wait a minute?  She’s an old lady you know, and she has mobility problems.”  At which point my wife hobbled up to the corner with her forearm crutch, where the bitch could now see her, and blasted right back at her.  “I’m an old lady too, and I also have mobility problems, and it causes me a lot of pain to have to just stand there and wait!”  Uh…yeah…well…  She was still trying to close her mouth when we walked out.

Later in the week, I went down to my usual supermarket.  It sits on a five-lane street, the center lane for left turns, everywhere except at the supermarket’s driveway, where the roads crew have painted a swoop and stop-line.  I must turn left into that store, and oncoming traffic must turn left into the side street for the EuroFood market.

I pulled over and stopped for oncoming traffic in the other lanes.  I looked up and saw a pair of seniors, older than me, coming at me.  They want to go in on the side-road….  Whoa!!  No they don’t!  He wants to go on past me to the entrance at the far end of the strip-mall.  He managed to get the car stopped just before he hit me, and then they sat there gesticulating at me.

When it was safe to do so, I pulled past them and made my left, but as I did so, the sweet little, 80-year-old wife rolled down her window and offered some verbal opinions.  I’m glad I had my windows rolled up.  When I got home I had to buff scorch marks off the passenger side of the car.  I think a taxi driver had to pull over and catch his breath.

I saw the kind, round, old Germanic face, and heard (faintly) what was coming out of it, and all I could think of was the subservient, aproned haus-frau who curtseyed, and opened the counter-weighted gate for Goldfinger, in the James Bond movie – who went all Valkyrie, and pulled out a Schmeisser machine gun on him when he tried to escape.

Entitled without being attentive, opinionated without being informed, judgemental without the faintest shred of suspicion that they may be in error – I begin to understand how wars, and jihads, and feuds, and murders come about.  It all comes back to the Ego and Insecurity.

Has someone taken you to task for something you were innocent of??  How did you handle it?  😕

While I’m asking questions….like the occasional debate as to whether to call carbonated soft-drinks Pop, Soda, or Coke (even when it’s obviously not)….I only referred to them as ‘carts’ in the body of the post, but I tagged it ‘shopping carts’, which is what I call them.  I have heard them referred to as ‘buggies’, which I think of as a baby conveyance.  At a couple of stores, I’ve heard the teenager paged to ‘go bring in the wagons.’  What do you call them?

#466

Newfound Friendliness

newfoundland-map

 

 

<-  Ted’s house!

 

 

 

Monday Feb 16, 2015 was a statutory holiday in Ontario, called Family Day.  It’s relatively new, but long overdue.  Finally, something to get us from Christmas/New Years, through to Easter.  On Tuesday the 17th I went to my favorite nearby supermarket to pick up a copy of the Toronto Sun.

Dear Lord, have people forgotten how to shop ahead??  The store was only closed for one day.  I almost had to bring my own parking space.  Quite often I make 25¢ or 50¢ by neatening up the parking lot, putting away carts with quarters in them.  Not that day!  No carts in either of the cart corrals, but people lurking near them.  No carts in the entryway either, so I grabbed a basket.

Most of the shoppers were white-, or blue-haired.  Do they not remember back in the ‘80s, before we had Sunday opening?  Was toilet paper being rationed, or was there a sale on Polident and Depends?

This place was stuffed – just crammed with shoppers.  Folks were bumping into each other and edging carts past.  It was so full, that people going up the aisles could inhale, while those going down the aisles exhaled.

Besides the paper, I also wanted a small bag of fine sugar, and two dozen eggs.  With the help of a little fairy-dust, and my fancy dancing slippers, I circumnavigated the store in less than three minutes, and only got groped once.  Then I got around to the checkouts….backed up like an old guy eating cheese.  The waits were so long, I hope no-one ‘checked out’ before they checked out.

I headed for the express lane.  It was so busy that they had two of them open.  I entered the first line, and was ninth or tenth.  The curve of the lines put me beside a lady about my age, third from the front, in line number two.  Looking in my basket, she saw only the eggs, and insisted that I get in line in front of her.  I mentioned the paper and the sugar.  “Go ahead, go ahead!”  I don’t know what the nine or ten people behind her thought, but I snuggled in quickly, before anyone objected.

Her thoughtful niceness, along with her strong accent, suggested that she was from Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost, island province, and just full of kind, helpful people.  When I asked, she confirmed my suspicion.  Then I got nosy and asked specifically where she was from.  “Stephenville.”  Newfoundlanders are generally open, friendly people.  They don’t mind when you ask questions and engage them in casual conversation.

I said, “Oh, I’ve got a blog-friend from Stephenville.”  I don’t think she quite caught, or grasped, the blog-friend’ concept, and seemed to think that I’d driven 1700 miles and taken a two-hour ferry ride, to drink ‘screech’ (high-alcohol, reclaimed rum).  The Rock, as it’s known, is a bit behind, technologically.  They didn’t get World-Standard 60 Hz electricity until the late 1950s, and their Internet is a large ball of twine and several empty tin cans.

To give credence to the rumor that “every Newfie knows every other Newfie”, she asked who he was.  “I might knows ‘im.”  I explained that “he” was Ted White from SightsNBytes, a highly proficient and entertaining writer.  “I knows a lotta Whites, but I don’t t’ink I knows a Ted White.”  Ted has explained that, in Newfoundland, or at least in his home town of Stephenville, (Pop. 6193) there are as many, or more, of ‘his’ Whites, as there are of ‘my’ Smiths.  His family inflated the numbers by changing their French name, LeBlanc, to the English, White.

My Newfie tour-guide, whose married name was Green, went on to tell me that, “D’ere’s even a street called Whites Avenue.  Fer a coupla blocks, d’ere’s nuttin’ but Whites, an’ d’ey’s all related ta each udder.”  Ted’s bunch are not related to that lot, because his group ate croissants and snails, before they sailed west to eat cod tongues and mussels.

This 60ish woman has been in Ontario for 20 years, but hasn’t lost that ‘Down Home’ sound and style of speech, because she spent her formative years, and more, down home on The Rock.  I find these speakers a delight to be around, much like the ”y’all” Southern speakers.  They are the salt of the Earth, possibly because they live surrounded by the salty ocean.  They would give the shirt off their back to a perfect stranger, if he needed it – or go next door and borrow one from the neighbor.

I would have loved to have partaken of more of her friendly sociability.  Because she put me ahead of herself, and several other shoppers, I was soon through the checkout and free to proceed with my errands.  Thanks Mrs. Green!  You were a delight.   😀