Monthly Archives: October 2015

NO SMOKING?

absolutelynosmok2300

This sign is on the wall at an entrance to 2300 Yonge Street.

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These cigarette butts in the cracks are a few feet away from the wall with the sign.  (Butts in the cracks?  Should it be the other way around?)

This is another example of how NO SMOKING signs apply to non-smokers only.

Smokers are like the rest of the human race.  They believe that the rules do not apply to them.  The rules are there for other people.

Many years ago I asked a smoker not to smoke in an area with NO SMOKING signs.  The smoker blew smoke in my face and laughed.  “If you don’t like it,” he said, “then don’t breathe.”   Ever since that happened, I have tried to come up with a way to live without breathing.  No success so far.  Any suggestions?

Smokers do not obey NO SMOKING signs.

Smokers do not obey ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING signs.

Smokers do not obey POSITIVELY NO SMOKING signs.

Perhaps smokers will obey a sign that reads:

ABSOLUTLELYNOSMOK

I doubt that they will, but it’s worth a try.

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WRITING, RELIEF, AND EXPECTATIONS

sunris

A New Day

Writing is therapy.  What relief posting  my Thanksgiving experience on the TTC!  It took several attempts at writing about it after it happened on Monday October 12.  But from October 25 to October 28 I kept writing about it in spite of the pain, and now the pain is gone.  Writing helped me to think about why I was upset.

In retrospect, the experience showed me how I caused my pain.  I agree with my good friend Epictetus who said, “It’s not what happens to us that causes us problems, but how we view what happens to us.”

I expected that a TTC employee would help me when I had a problem on TTC property.  This was a reasonable expectation, but it was an expectation.  Expectations often clash with reality as mine did on Thanksgiving Monday.  My expectation was so strong that I caused my shock when the TTC operator did not do what I expected him to do.  If I had realized this, when the drunk was kicking the bottle at me, then I would not have been traumatized.

As long as I have been on this planet, behind all my anger and pain is an unmet expectation that always clashes with reality.  I cause my anger and pain as long as I cling to the unmet expectation.

“It’s not what happens to us that causes us problems, but how we view what happens to us.”

I am grateful to the TTC collector for reminding me that my expectations will cause me problems if I take them seriously.

TRAUMA ON THE TTC II

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I discovered I deal with trauma by staring off into space.  How hard it is to focus.  What happened on Thanksgiving Monday, October 12, keeps playing in my mind.  Several times I have tried to write about it, and the pain becomes too much.  I stop writing and stare off into space.

Sometime after 6:30 p.m., on Monday October 12, I used the payphone on the wall opposite the fare-collector’s booth at the Bay Street subway.  The collector could see me and the area around me, but he could not see down the hallways to my left and to my right.

After starting my telephone conversation,  I saw a man down the hallway to my right.  He staggered and kicked a large plastic pop bottle down the hallway towards me.  The top was off and pop gushed all over the floor.  I stopped my conversation, turned around to the collector, pointed down the hallway and said, “There’s a guy kicking pop all over the floor.”  The collector, who was snacking on something, sat in his chair and looked at me.

The pop bottle was empty by the time the man got to me.  He was in the area visible to the collector.  The man kicked the bottle at me and it hit my leg.  I kicked it away and shouted at him words dealing with sex and travel.   I turned around facing the collector and shouted, “Hey, please call security!  This guy’s bothering me.”  The collector did nothing except continue to eat and laugh as if he was enjoying a show.

The man kicked the bottle at me again.

“Hey!” I shouted to the collector.  “This isn’t a game!  I don’t know this guy.  Call security!”  (By security I meant the Toronto Transit Commission’s Transit Enforcement Officers.)

The collector continued to snack and laugh.

What terror!  I did not know what else the man was going to do to me, and the shock of having my cries for help ignored.

The man swung at me, but I moved and he lost his balance stumbling forward.   He reeked of booze.   He kept kicking the bottle at me when he regained his balance.  He may have tried to punch me several more times.  I don’t know.  Panic had me in its claws.  I kept swearing at the man.  I kept shouting at the collector to call security.  The man kept kicking the bottle at me, and the collector kept snacking and laughing.

“I’m not security.  I’m not your bitch.  I don’t have to do what you say.  Stop yelling at me.”

How long did the bottle-kicking go on?  I don’t know.

Finally the collector used the speaker system in the booth and said, “I’m not security.  I’m not your bitch.  I don’t have to do what you say.  Stop yelling at me.”

I was yelling because I terrified.  I never said anything derogatory to the collector or mentioned anything about him being my bitch.  I swore at the man kicking the bottle at me, and kept asking the collector to call TTC security.  I could not believe that the collector was doing nothing to help me!

I don’t know how much time passed before I saw the collector finally pick up the phone in his booth.

The man stopped kicking the bottle at me.  He staggered down the hallway on my left and collapsed on the floor.

My friend on the telephone said, “Wow!  I have never heard you sound like this!”

I do not ever remember being so terrified — ever!  Even now as I write this I am short of breath with my heart pounding, and I’m sweating.

It was 7:00 p.m.  A second collector came in the booth to relieve the first collector.  As the first collector left the booth, I saw two police officers coming down the stairs from the street.  The collector walked over to them and pointed to me.  I hung up and walked towards the collector and the police officers.

“I didn’t mean to yell at you,” I said, “but I was scared not knowing what the man was going to do to me.”

“Oh yeah?” said the collector.  “Well if you were so concerned about your safety, then why didn’t you hang up and call the police?”  Before I could answer he strutted away with his arrogance trailing behind him.

I said to the police officers, “I didn’t expect him to call the police.  I asked him to call TTC security officers.”

One of the police officers said, “It’s a holiday.  TTC security don’t work on holidays.”

The man was still collapsed on the floor.  I explained to the officers what had happened.

“He’s a regular here,” said one of the officers.  “Perhaps the collector did nothing because he knows that this man is harmless.”

The officers did not ask me for my name or telephone number.  When they finished talking to me, they walked down the hallway to the man on the floor.

I went to the collectors booth and told the second collector what had happened.  He could not believe the “bitch” quote.  I asked to see a supervisor because I wanted to complain.  The second collector said, “It would be better for you to call TTC Customer Service.  They take complaints very seriously.”

“Can I call them now?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.  They don’t work on holidays.  Call them tomorrow.”

I thanked him.  He was sympathetic in the way he listened and talked to me.  When I left, the police were still standing by the man collapsed on the floor.

I could not focus on anything for the rest of the night.  I kept staring off into space.  Even the next morning, Tuesday October 13, I gouged a chunk of skin off my head while shaving because of my lack of focus.

I called the TTC Customer Service.  The woman I spoke to was sympathetic.  Was her name Malick?  Malika?  Meeka?  I don’t know.  I wrote her name down on a piece of paper and misplaced the paper.

She, too, could not believe the “bitch” quote.  She apologized of behalf of the TTC.  I told her, “I appreciate the apology, but nothing the TTC can do will take away the trauma of having my cries for help ignored.”

She said that they would investigate to see what the collector had to say.

She was about to hang up when I said,  “Wait a minute.  Don’t you want my name and telephone number?”

“Oh yes,” she said, “give me your name and number.”

As I gave her my name and number, I thought about how the second collector had said, “They take complaints very seriously.”

“I’ll get back to you,” she said, “and let you know the outcome.”

That was on Tuesday October 13.  I still haven’t received a phone call.

 

If you plan to have something happen on the TTC where you fear for your safety, then have it on a day that is not a holiday, and make sure you have it in front of a TTC employee who cares.

 

 

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TRAUMA ON THE TTC

BAY

I experienced trauma on Toronto’s public transit system, at the Bay Street subway station, on Monday October 12.  It was the Canadian Thanksgiving Monday holiday.  I keep trying to write about it, but abandon the writing because of the pain.  Anais Nin said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  I am having trouble experiencing the trauma in retrospect.

I will not give up.  Writing is therapy.  I will write about my experience and post it in this blog.  Now excuse me while I stare off into space . . .

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW . . .

writing

Write what I know . . .

3.141592653589793238 . . .

I thought I knew more numbers after the decimal point of pi.  The end of the world, yesterday, affected my memory.

How amazing that pi, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle,  is the same no matter what the size of the circle.  In other words, size does not matter to pi.

What if size mattered to pi?  What if pi was not the same, but changed with the size of circles?

Unfortunately I do not know enough Geometry to explore this idea further.

“I knew this was going to be a short blog when I saw you write, Write what I know.”

Thanks.

 

THE END THE WORLD?

EDN

So, how are we enjoying the end of the world so far?  It’s not bad for me, but I wish there was a little more sunshine.

How is Chris McCann enjoying the end of the world?  He’s the eBible leader who said that the world would end, by fire, on October 7, 2015.  Did he get up this morning and bother to make breakfast?

I cannot remember the name of the book or author because I read it around the time the world was created.  The author’s argument was that our propensity for fear and doom and gloom stems from our lack of connection to that Still Small Voice Inside, our Inner Divinity.  He wrote that if we were in touch with our Inner Divinity, then we have no fear knowing that nothing ends because everything goes in circles.

SQUEEZING A LEMON WHILE WAITING FOR THE APOCALYPSE

LEMO

I knew next to nothing about income taxes before doing my twelve years of taxes.  I decided that the best way to learn was to do them, and not worry about making mistakes.  What an excellent opportunity for me to learn!  I squeezed one of life’s lemons to make lemonade.

I knew next to nothing about taxes before doing them.  After doing them I found that I knew next to something, but it was not enough.  I wanted to increase my income-tax knowledge.

I tried reading The Income Tax Act.  Anyone who wants to cure his or her insomnia should read The Income Tax Act.

Several times I tried studying Wolters Kluwer’s Introduction to Income Taxation in Canada.  But it had a lot of big words and no pictures.

I settled for John Wiley & Sons’ Tax Tips for Dummies.  So far I have not fallen asleep and there are no big words.

I am glad I got my taxes done before October 7, 2015.  According to Chris McCann, President of eBible Fellowship Ministries, the world will end on October 7, 2015.  I can’t imagine the guilt I would feel being unable catch up on my taxes because there was no world.

worldexplode

Chris McCann did not say what time the world would end on October 7, 2015.  I hope it is later in the day so I can sleep in.

I SURVIVED!

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And so it came to pass . . .

I finished filing twelve years of income taxes!  Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

Every year, just after the 21st Century started, I intended to file my taxes.  Every year I picked up tax forms and guidebooks.  And every year my good intentions gave way to depression, and long periods of time where I would sit and stare off into space.

My mother died.  My father died.  My ex-wife went out of her way to restrict my access to our children.  I fell deeper and deeper into a black hole.  I sank so deep that I was going to commit suicide.  I changed my mind when I found out that committing suicide could cause my death.

I kept putting my tax papers in plastic bags and the thought of doing them hung over my head.

In September, 2011, I put all my worldly possessions in storage and began my nomadic existence.  My worldly goods included several large plastic bags of tax papers.   The thought of having to sort through the bags to separate twelve years of tax papers made me wish that elves would show up and do my taxes for me.  Or, I wished I could wave a magic wand and my taxes would be done.

Finally this past spring, I decided to dig myself out of the hole I had fallen into.  I decided that no one could save me, but me.  I filed 2014 taxes and started slowly working backwards.  I took responsibility, and was ready to accept the consequences.

Alarms went off at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when they received my 2014 tax return.  I received many letters from two different CRA departments demanding tax returns for earlier years.  (Oh, the poor trees!)  I was planning to take my time filing all my returns, but the CRA’s letters lit a fire under my butt.  (The people I dealt with at the CRA were quite helpful.  I have praise for them and no complaints.)

For the past six months I sorted through bags of mixed-up tax papers filing taxes from 2013 back to 2003.  I would go to my storage locker everyday, pick up a bag of tax stuff, take it to the library sort it all out.  I had to pack it all up when the library closed and return it to my storage locker.  Then I would repeat the same process the next day.  There were times when I wanted to quit, but I kept at it.

Yesterday, Saturday October 3, I filed my last return.  I did it all by myself!  I dug myself out of the hole.   I am stronger emotionally for it.  Never again will I allow depressing thoughts to paralyze me so.  Never again no matter what happens.  I did not kill myself, and I have no addiction issues.  I survived!  I can survive anything—even if someone cuts off my head.  (If someone cuts off my head, then I can always get a job with the government.)

I am damn proud of myself, damn proud!