Good Manners

Smart Phone

Hey you! With the cell phone! – Put that damned thing down in public. I don’t want to sound old, but…. I think the more ‘I’ and ‘me’ we become, the ruder and more disrespectful we become. We’re so full of ourselves that there isn’t much space left for consideration for others.

The bottom line is that unless someone is giving out their credit card information (in which case I need them to speak slowly and enunciate clearly so I can write it down), I don’t want to hear their phone conversations when I’m in a public place.

A person should be able to sit with themselves quietly for a few minutes, without having a phone. You might be surprised at how satisfying it is to be silent, or to be mindful of yourself. There are few enough phone-free zones left in the world – saunas, bathrooms, airplanes. With all the sonic and electronic pollution today, I think that we should work at creating more bubbles of silence – blessed silence.

I know I’m hopelessly old fashioned and not a big believer in multi-tasking, but I still feel that when a person is driving a car, that is all they should actually be doing:  driving the car.  They should not be texting, putting on eye-liner, eating their dinner, or stirring their coffee.  Yes, all of those things can be important, but they aren’t important enough to risk someone’s life in a car accident – theirs, or mine.  They just aren’t.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, I firmly believe that personal business should actually be kept personal.  I don’t believe that social media is the appropriate setting for family conflicts, neighborhood feuds, failing marriages, or imploding friendships.  We all tend to say (or write) things that we shouldn’t in those situations, so why make it worse by doing so in front of the whole world?  These days, privacy seems to be little more than a quaint idea, but I truly believe that not every single detail of our lives needs to be shared. 👿

 

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Apocalyptica Now!

Apocoliptica 08-2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Friday, about 5 PM, I got a hurried phone request from my daughter. She and the grandson, and his fiancée, had been out, doing family stuff.  While on their way home on a bus, the fiancée had received a phone call from her mother.  A rock (?) group they all like, was making a live appearance nearby, and tickets were still available.  Would I drive them 15 miles, and return later to pick them up? Sure!

In case you haven’t guessed from the title, the group they wanted to see was Apocalyptica. For the sake of other fogeys like me, this is a quartet from Finland who render a lot of other groups’ work, including thrash and trash, death metal bands, into a more classical, three cellos and drums.  Since the fiancée is studying cello, they all were interested.

Ah, if only I was smart enough to run a smart phone. Others stood in line for hours to get tickets.  The grandson whipped out the Apple of his eye, and had tickets waiting at the box office when they arrived 15 minutes before the doors opened.

With her crutch, the daughter was allowed to sit right in front of the stage, while the youngsters weren’t that far back. The venue is an ex-movie house, holding perhaps 300 people.  The grandson wore one of the Jethro Tull concert shirts I gave him, but they both later changed for Apocalyptica tees – only $30/ea.  The wily fiancée scored not only a program signed by all four performers, but got a hug from her favorite Finnish cellist, and a photo of it.

More used to the industrial/commercial areas around the outside of the town, I haven’t been downtown for years. Smart grandson and his Smartphone come complete with maps and GPS, although, one, just-after-the nick-of time instruction, from the back seat had me going past and coming back at the venue from the other side.

Since they didn’t know how long the concert would last, I drove back home for my usual late supper. The grandson had given me $30 for my time, and gasoline.  It was well he had.  The son, who usually gasses the car up, was just finishing three weeks of vacation, and no-one had been watching the tank level.  Just as I let them out, a chime sounded, and the Fill-Me light on the dash lit up.

Canada produces more petroleum than the US. One might think that domestic gas prices would be low.  Stations in Kitchener were hovering around $1.34/liter ($5.55/US gal), as we left.  I found a Shell station at the edge of Guelph, selling for $1.22/liter ($5.07/US gal).  Still outrageous, but a $3 saving on the $30.

The opening act, which they thought was almost as good as the stars, played for an hour and a half, half an hour to dismantle the stage and reassemble it for Apocalyptica, and they played for over an hour and a half.  Throw in some schmoozing time, and the daughter called me at 12:18 AM, to be picked up.  She told me that they had hobbled up the main street, and were resting in peace, in front of a funeral home, at the intersection of XXXX Street.

Being in a different county, the City of Guelph is not laid out as strangely as Kitchener/Waterloo, still….. The referred “intersection” would seem to indicate two streets, meeting at 90 degrees.  The highway, which becomes the main street, runs due north and south.  Two blocks from city center, the four-lane street continues in a straight line – but takes a new name.  The old-named street veers off to the left at a 45 degree angle.

Since I’d missed a turn coming in, I’d also missed this peculiarity. I thought I’d reached the right spot, but, even with my driving glasses on, I didn’t spot my passengers in the dark, so I jagged to the left.  A block down, I had spotted a big old brick century-house with a large sign out front, which I thought might be the funeral home. When I pulled in, the sign told me that the place was an artisan restaurant and craft brewery.

I pulled back out, and continued down to the street behind the theater. I went into a parking lot, and turned around to go back, when I discovered two things.  First, I was now going the wrong way on a one-way street, (Who cares?  I’m the only car in sight.), secondly, the grandson, gasping for breath, and tapping on the roof of the car.

The ladies were indeed, waiting patiently(?), back at the funny intersection. The two handicapped women were a bit achy, and everyone was tired.  The grandson is used to rising at 4:45 AM, for his welding apprenticeship.  This was a BIG day for him, but a good time had been had by all.

I have published some tales of remembrance of the things I’ve been able to do over the years.  I am so happy to have been able to provide the kids the chance to make some of their own memories.    😆

Old Food

Pioneer BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found another old place to eat.  This one is in Kitchener.  It wasn’t, when it started, but it is now, because the city has eaten it up, and people from the city are going out there to eat up.  It first opened in 1927, so it’s three years older than the Harmony Lunch I wrote about earlier. 

Currently owned by a Greek-Canadian and his wife, it has changed hands several times over the years, getting bigger and better.  It’s called Pioneer BBQ, because it’s near the Pioneer Tower memorial, from my Magical Mystery Tour.

From center to center of many towns in Southern Ontario is five miles, because that was as far as a set of horses pulled a stage-coach, thus, the “stage” in stage-coach.  Five miles south of the center of Kitchener, there used to be a small village named Centerville, long since annexed and existing now only as a subdivision name. 

Five miles further south, there was never a “village”, but always a point of commerce.  This is just about five miles north of the center of our neighbor city, another stage-coach hop.  The two burgs have sprawled towards each other, till now the boundaries abut.

The area has grown into a conglomeration of hotels, various bars and fast-food joints, restaurants, big-box stores, Cineplex and gas-stations.  Poor little Pioneer huddles behind/between the Tim Hortons/Subway strip mall which faces one big road, and the tire store/furniture/ electronic games store strip mall which faces the other main street.  It fronts on the main access road to the next town, fighting for its business with the Golden Arches across the street, and can be seen from the back of the Costco parking lot.

Continuing in the fight to confuse locals and visitors alike, two-lane, little Pioneer Tower Road comes up from the river.  When it reaches the old highway, it blossoms into a 4/6 lane street, now named Sportsworld Drive, where our eatery is located.  A half a mile south, it passes into the city of Cambridge, and becomes Maple Grove Road.

Just at that border, in 1927, the Preston/Kitchener Street Railway ran.  Folks used to take an electric-trolley ride out that far for a Sunday trip in the country, and stop in for some fine eatin’.  At first, it was just the parlor of the home of the wife of a Railway Manager, which got turned into a dining area.  Later their living room became the sit-down counter.

 In the 70s and 80s, a liquor licence was obtained, and a large roofed deck was added to the other side of the “house”, to segregate the smokers.  It could only be used for a few months each year, so, in the 90s, it was closed in, insulated and a fireplace and heat vents added.  Smoking in Ontario restaurants has since been banned.

This is Home Cookin’ at its best, or pretty darn close.  Pulled pork, beef, or chicken sandwiches, with pickles almost as good as ours, sturdy salads, onion rings with onion, not tons of coating and a whisper of onion, thick, crisp, browned steak fries.

They serve a variety of burgers and combos.  They have steaks, spaghetti, fish and chips, cold sandwiches and hot sandwich plates.  This is a real Mom and Pop diner.  At an ordinary restaurant, a turkey sandwich would contain a couple of thin slices of processed turkey loaf.  The wife ordered a turkey sandwich and was asked, “White meat, or dark?”, and got slabs of turkey thigh meat.

They must employ at least one, or more, near-world class bakers – doughnuts, tarts, muffins, brownies, 5 or 6 kinds of pies, and CAKES, with caramel and/or chocolate drizzled over them.  Ya gotta keep moving past the display case, or you gain weight.  Everything, including the pastries, is available for take-out.

SDC10617SDC10615Like Harmony Lunch, I’ve never seen or heard of Pioneer BBQ advertising.  They’ve survived by word of mouth.  Slowly, as more and more people grow familiar with the area, because of the surrounding shops, their clientele increases.

The food is delicious.  The service is tight and friendly.  The prices are reasonable for the healthy blue-collar size servings.  The noise level was low, the day we went there.  Even with the (relatively) new owners, they still like doing things the old-fashioned way, which is fine by me. I took a business card as a reminder to compose this post.  The first thing I noticed is that they don’t have a website.  Our waitress told me that some of the young preppies ask where the Wi-Fi section is – and everyone laughs!

(It’s inevitable, and unavoidable. Between composing and publishing this post, we invited the son out for lunch here during his vacation period.  It gave me another great restaurant meal, and a chance to take photos of the pastries.  They still don’t have a website, but as we approached the door, we could see the new sign, “FREE WIFI.”  A couple almost as old as us sat next to us, not saying a word, but each diddling a new Smartphone.  The son said, “If I ignored you, at least I’d do it to your face!”)

We sometimes take the daughter out for lunch before we all go shopping at Costco.  We’ve hit a nearby Wendy’s a couple of times, and have been thinking about the all-you-can-eat Indian buffet, across the highway, but this place is definitely on our go-back-to list. 

They’ve got old-fashioned food for us old-fashioned fogies.  It’s nice to know another local eatery is still going strong after almost 87 years.  I’m willing to throw myself on a plate of poutine to keep them going.  (And that gold cake with caramel sauce, could we take a slab of that home?  Please?!)  Diet??!  What diet?  😕

😉