Category Archives: rant

Being A Woman and My Attitude Problem- Thoughts

Well said and a problem that never seems to go away. Jenn is right up front about it and is worth listening to.

Jennie Lives Blog

I’m not exactly a practicing feminist. I don’t go to rally’s and I haven’t lobbied for anything outside of talking with the men and boys in my life about respecting women and girls.  I am all for protecting women and pointing out the flaws in our culture that can make our lives miserable. I’ve never marched for the cause, but that’s about to change.

Short story.

I was in the hospital briefly when I was first becoming ill with Lyme Disease. I left work that night and went to the emergency room. I had been self diagnosing and medicating for awhile before I went to ask for help. My supervisor that night actually made me leave.

I spent almost 10 hours in the ER at the hospital. I left around 4 a.m.  As I was driving home, I took a different route than I needed to because I was starving…

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Notification Letter From Canada Post

In our mailbox, yesterday! And 10 days after the fact….

Canada Post letter-39

On my way to work yesterday, I ran into a reporter from the Tri-City News, Sarah and Lori,  a neighbour, who were there to further research the situation and take pictures as a result of the copy of my letter and a phone conversation I had with Sarah.  Here’s the story that came  from their investigations!  Nicely stated.

Just to put this into perspective, the post office where they are holding our mail is about a 20 minute drive from where we live!

So, things are moving along and as they say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”!  Question is, just what kind of grease is best in this situation?  I’m not 100% sure but I know we can’t continue as if nothing has happened and as if there is not a concern that needs to be addressed on all sides.

Re the postal delivery, I think the best solution would be to locate a cluster of mail boxes on the side of the road, central to our houses, that we could ALL walk to.  There are at least 2 locations that would work for that solution to the mail problem.

But that doesn’t address the issue re the overall safety for pedestrians who walk up and down Gatensbury Rd.  This issue is not going to go away and I will keep hounding officials until we see some kind of resolution.

Keep ya posted,

Rich

 

Letter to the Mayor and Council of Port Moody

Where’s my Mail?

Dear Mayor and Council.

I wanted to take a moment to inform you of recent events regarding mail delivery in our neighbourhood. For reasons unknown to us, our street – the 1000 block of Gatensbury Rd – has recently been deemed “a danger to deliver mail” zone. We received no advance warning, not even a note from Canada Post telling us about this decision and why it was made. We just noticed that our mail hadn’t been delivered for over a week and wondered why? We called Canada Post, we emailed them, we filled out online tickets about the problem and no one was able to even tell us about the decision. They all knew nothing. It wasn’t until one of our residents went down to the Post Office to see what the problem might be that they told him of this decision.

People have been living on this street for over 30 years and never heard of such a thing. We have senior citizens in their 90s who have been getting mail continuously all this time and who don’t have the ability to just truck on down to the post office in Port Coquitlam, where we now have to go to get our mail ourselves. And the Post office is only open 9-5 on weekdays so getting it is a major problem for people who work normal jobs.

We want to know how or why this decision was made so suddenly and whether the city of Port Moody is willing to address this problem with us? For years, residents on this hill have been asking for a proper sidewalk so that they weren’t constantly exposed to cars speeding up and down the hill as they walked along the side of the road. In our minds, there is a serious accident here just waiting to happen to some cyclist or pedestrian. And now, the Post Office has deemed us a danger zone, apparently because they have decided there is no place for their carriers to safely walk while delivering mail.

What we have been told is that the costs could only be expended if our taxes were raised to pay for it, and we’re talking millions of dollars! How many other city residents have had to pay to have the city put in a sidewalk on their street? In fact, there is a sidewalk which goes part way up the hill on the East side of the street and then it just stops. For no apparent reason.

We also noticed that almost all the other roads in our neighbourhood at the bottom of the hill were repaved this past spring and summer and we thought, finally, Gatensbury Rd will get the kind of attention it desperately needs. But again, no, the repaving stopped right where Gatensbury Rd starts.

And in just a few more months time, the Evergreen Line, will be operating, with a station at the bottom of our hill on Clarke St. The traffic is already bad on this hill, which was never designed for this volume. What is going to happen when people start using the sky train – driving or walking to and from it?

We ask that council start seriously thinking about our street and possible solutions to the many problems it faces now and will continue to face in the future.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Rich Sobel

Gatensbury, Rd, Port Moody, BC

Death by wearing black at night

This is one story that really caught me eye and struck a note of “companionship” for me.

Woman who struck and killed teen is suing his family …

Most people who read this story or heard about it on the news immediately lambasted the driver for this seemingly overboard response.  On the surface, you have to think the woman who is driver of the SUV is totally lacking in compassion and out of her mind to proceed like this!

But let’s take a brief moment and see if we can’t get further in than the first emotions that surface associated with the death of a teenager and look at what really happened and where responsibility truly falls.

A person, in this case a woman, is driving along a road at night and assuming they’re not texting or otherwise being distracted,  hits a couple of cyclists that came out of nowhere!  Literally, out of nowhere!  They were biking at night, had on dark clothing, had NO reflective gear of any kind and were essentially invisible until they appeared in the range of her headlights, which was too late to take effective evasive action.

Let’s remove the actual hitting of the bikers from the situation for a moment.  Let’s say the driver was able to avoid hitting the cyclists, but just barely, had to swerve and maybe almost “cause” an accident by hitting a car in the oncoming lane.  And that she was killed, or injured or caused injury to others in the oncoming car. Or that everyone ended up being ok, just a quick swerve, no harm done to anyone.

Has this ever happened to you?  Well it has to me, numerous times, and not just with cyclists, but with pedestrians, too.  They literally appear out of nowhere.  And not just while I’m driving; also while I’m riding my bike.  And I get really angry at them.  Not just because they almost caused me to have an accident, but also because the last thing I want to do in this life is to cause harm to someone else, especially a person that I have no relationship or history with.  Be different if they had murdered my sister, but these folks are total strangers and I just want them all to have great lives and do wonderful things on this planet.  And now I’ve hit one of them, all because I was traveling in a perfectly normal way and paying as much attention as I could to ALL the input I’m receiving while driving or cycling.

I often yell out at them “You’re invisible! You just came out of nowhere!  Think about that!!” and proceed on.  Might even flip them a “bird” if they don’t even acknowledge me.

Let’s also look at where this is happening, in this case, in Toronto, Canada.  Canada and other northern cities are dark places at night and it gets darker earlier.  It also rains a lot, visibility is often limited and most folks think nothing of it.  Just look around you and you will see a LOT of people wearing dark colours ; blacks, dark browns, purples etc.  They don’t wear bright yellows, reds, blues, and pinks as a general rule.  Those are more “Southern” colours where the sun shines. Vancouver, where I live, especially just seems to like black or dark for clothes.  Granted, dark clothing often makes you look good, coordinates well with just about anything, and is easy for the designers.  But here’s the downside; it makes you invisible at night.  Really invisible.

I can’t tell you how many times I have cursed other cyclists when I almost run into them, even on the bike paths, because they have no lights on their bikes, no reflectors, aren’t wearing helmets and are wearing dark clothes.  They literally come out of nowhere and if you don’t have a very quick response time, you run into them.  Same goes for pedestrians and they’re often even worse because they often have an attitude that you should be giving way to them because they’re on foot so have some a priori right of way and just walk out in front of you as if that’s what they should be doing.

For people driving cars, it’s obviously way worse.  Your response time is often down to less than a second between when the person enters your horizon of visibility and your acting to avoid colliding with them.

Ok, now you’ve hit someone that came out of nowhere.  How do you feel?  Well, I know I would feel terrible and angry.  Both!  Terrible.  Angry.  Guilty. Remorseful. Angry.  And a host of other emotions.

Think about it.  You just killed someone for no apparent reason other than the fact that they gave no thought to their own visibility.  I would be absolutely devastated.  I know I would be in tears and in a state of shock and I’m not sure how well I would be able to carry on for quite a while after that.  I certainly wouldn’t be able to drive my car at night, if at all, for quite some time.  I might even get rid of the car so as not to have it “trigger” the memory of that event.  So yes, I would be in trauma of some kind.

I would also do whatever I could to convey my sorrows to the loved ones of the “victims” of the accident.  And here’s where it gets a bit tricky.

I remember an accident I did have where I ran into an older man who was crossing the street against the light.  I was coming down a hill on my bike and had the light and was going through the intersection when he came out of nowhere, and this was in broad daylight!  He hadn’t seen me coming down the hill, thought the intersection was clear and started walking across the street right when I was cruising through the intersection.  I ran into him, he went down and was unconscious for a while with a bit of bleeding from a head wound.  Bystanders called an ambulance for him and got me off the street and into a nearby school where I could sit and recover from my brief state of shock and the shaking I was undergoing. I went careening head over heels over the handlebars of my bike, got all scraped and bruised in multiple places.  It was a good thing I had my helmet on, which I always do when I’m biking.  After that, I changed my route to work and couldn’t cross that intersection on my bike for a couple of years afterwards.  I did get in touch with the man’s family and both of us were basically ok but it could have been otherwise.  So I have some experience with this kind of situation, and the emotions that arise.

I do take that route again now and I always proceed with extra care through that intersection.  Certainly I was partly responsible for careening into him.  I fully accepted that but he was also responsible for walking into the intersection against the light.  Neither of us were really victims.

I don’t believe that anyone is ever 100% a victim.  Especially not in a situation like this.  These were teens riding their bikes.  Did their parents allow them to ride their bikes in the street at night without wearing a helmet or having reflective gear on both their bodies and on the bikes?  If that wasn’t enforced, then a portion of the responsibility should fall on the parents for my trauma.  There are consequences to actions, both those that are taken and those that are ignored.

Let’s assume the parents communicated all that stuff to their kids about safety, lights, reflectors but the kids think that’s just not COOL.  And it’s such a royal pain in the butt to bother with all that so they just go out and do what kids do, ignore what their parents tell them.  Now who is to blame?  Well, the teenager has to shoulder a large portion of the blame for what just happened to them, don’t you think?  This young man, Brandon Majewski, was 17 years old!  In another year or so, he would be able to vote in elections.  Surely he has to be responsible for his decisions and actions and be ready to accept the inevitable consequences of his actions, both good and bad?

You may not agree but I think in this case he is totally responsible for his actions when riding a bike at night.  He chose not to ride safely, was struck as a consequence of his decisions, and now he is deceased.  What a horrible consequence!!  But it IS a consequenceof HIS actions, not just the driver’s who hit him.

What about the driver?  Remember the driver who ran into Brandon?  She didn’t kill him, not literally in the sense of setting out to cause him any harm at all.  This was not a premeditated act to bring about a death. He’s dead because he created a situation that resulted in that.  And the driver is now left with all kinds of unforeseen consequences, one of which is quite possibly post-traumatic stress disorder.  Who is taking care of her needs?

Well, she is.  She’s suing the parents of the boy who caused her this distress.  Everyone needs to take some responsibility and blame at some level here but looking at the situation from a somewhat objective viewpoint, I’d say that she is the the least responsible of the 3 parties and certainly deserves compensation for what happened to her.

Ideally, what I’d envision is that she and the parents could get together and commiserate and all show compassion for each other’s feelings but that doesn’t seem to have happened.  And no one came forward offering to help her deal with what’s happened to her; to pay for counseling, medications if needed, compensation for lost hours at work and whatever else may have arisen from the media attention.  So she’s taken the matter into her own hands, and is proceeding along the path that she sees as the most reasonable.

Personally, I applaud her for that.  It may be seen as uncaring and lacking in compassion for the boy’s family but I see it as taking care of herself.  No one else is going to help her out so she has to help herself.  And this is the help she has decided will be therapeutic for her.

I think our society needs to pay attention to this and give her credit for her actions.  She is not acting wrongly here.  She is acting out of self preservation.

Again, think about this situation from her point of view.  Put yourself in that driver’s seat and think about how it would affect you and how you would deal with it.  I don’t think I would sue and I know not everyone would take her actions but everyone has a different set of life experiences that inform the actions they take and for her, this may appear as the best and the only solution.

That’s all I really ask here.  Just take a moment to sit with the whole situation before you lash out emotionally at someone. We’d all be a lot better off if people did that a little more often.

Wishing compassion for everyone,

Rich