Author Archives: Gary Johnston

The Better Way?

May I vent about the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) ?

“Yes.  We’re always ready to listen to your trivial concerns.”

Thank you.

The other day I took an eastbound crowded Finch 36 bus to the Finch Subway Station.  When I arrived, just before 8:00 am, I could not see the subway platform because of the 87 million people waiting for a delayed train.  If I waited, then it would have tin-of-sardine time once the train arrived.  The 87 million people would have squeezed on the train and stood on my toes with their heads in my armpits with others standing between my butt cheeks and in my pockets.  Not an ideal situation for someone who likes his space.  I decided to try another southbound train from the other southbound line.

I took a westbound crowded Finch 36 bus to the Finch West Subway Station.  I boarded an almost-empty southbound train.  Wonderful!  I could not believe it!  It’s been a long time since I have been able to sit on a subway with space to breathe.

At Toronto Transit Control Centre . . . 

“Hey, guys, Gary has a seat with space to breathe.  We can’t have that.”

As the train approached the Eglinton West Station the conductor announced, “We’ve been advised by Transit Control to take this train out of service at Eglinton West Station.  All passengers must leave the train . . . ”

They never give a reason when they take a train out of service, but I know it’s part of the plot against me.  It’s all about me.

There were already people on the platform waiting for a train at Eglinton West.  When we got off, there were more people on the platform waiting for a train.  And then when a southbound train finally came, it was crowded.  When we got on it was tin-of-sardine time.  I remembered a friend once telling me, “TTC doesn’t stand for Toronto Transit Commission. TTC stands for Take The Car.”

Of course, this train often stopped in the tunnel between stations because of delays.  If you’re on a subway in Toronto and the subway is moving, then something is wrong.

What is normally a forty-minute-to-an-hour ride took two and a half hours.  But that’s okay.  I had nothing else to do except ride around on crowded TTC vehicles and enjoy the delays.

A verse found its way to my head during the rides:

Crowded buses.

Crowded subways

With delays, delays, and a delay.

The TTC calls this,

“The Better Way.”

 

 

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It Hurts

 

It hurts.  Whenever another human being hates me, it hurts.  It’s even more painful when someone hates me while I am offering to help them.  It hurts, and I feel like crying.

An elderly Asian woman with a walker got off the subway at Eglinton the same time I did.  She looked up and down the subway platform.  I knew she was looking for the elevator to the street level.

“Excuse me, the elevator is at the end of the platform,” I said as I pointed south.

With such hatred in her eyes, she shouted, “I can find it myself!  I don’t need you to tell me!”

“But you don’t need to find it, it’s at the end of the platform.”

“Don’t talk to me!  Don’t talk to me!  Don’t talk to me!  You — !”

I didn’t hear what she called me.  I never thought it possible for a person with a walker to storm away, but she did.

I have never seen this woman before, yet she hates me.  She does not realize how much pain she is in, and how much she suffers by hating others.  But I realize it.  I can feel her pain.  It hurts, and I feel like crying.

Scientific Proof of Life After Death?

The first law of thermodynamics says, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.”

How can scientists who accept the laws of thermodynamics not believe that life continues after death?  What happens to the life energy (also known as chi, ki, or prana) after the body dies?  According to the first law of thermodynamics, life energy is transferred or changed and does not end.

 

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-chemistry/chapter/the-laws-of-thermodynamics/

Warm . . .

 

Warm

Buds

Warmer

Flowers

Hot

Sunshine

Mild

Harvest

Cool

Colors

Cooler

Pumpkins

Cold

Barren

Bleak

Snow

    Warm . . .

What? Another Conspiracy Theory?

On my way to the library yesterday, I thought about how it’s been awhile since the library’s computer system went down.  Guess what went down just as I arrived at the library at 2:00 p.m.

It was citywide.  Every library in Toronto had no Internet.  Librarians had to manually checkout books.  The system was still down when I left just before the library closed.  It was back up when arrived today.  As usual, the librarian did not know what had caused the problem.

Here’s what I think:

Every bureaucracy has its bean counters—bureaucrats who are out to save the company money.  They come up with ideas such as, “If we cut our employees’ butts off, then we can sell their chairs and save money by never having to buy new ones.”

Every so often, one of the library’s bean counters will ask, “Do we really need all those people working in the IT (Information Technology) section?”

And every so often, the IT section takes the computer system down for job security.

CHIEF LIBRARIAN: The system is down citywide.  What is the problem and how long before you fix it?

HEAD OF IT:  We don’t know.  All of our staff are working on it.  We’ve called in people who were on days off.  We’re doing our best.

And after a day, sometimes more, sometimes less, the IT people fix the problem and the computer system is back up.

CHIEF LIBRARIAN:  What was the problem?

HEAD OF IT:  Uh-er—it’s too complicated to explain, but it took all of our staff to fix it.

And the bean counters realize that they should not cut back in the IT section.

My Uncle Lennie used to say, “The people who give you a headache will sell you the pill to cure it.”

John Spauls

John Spauls Late 70’s

 

Why would I suddenly think about John Spauls on Sunday May 6th?  I haven’t seen him in over 30 years.  But on May 6th, he popped into my head out of nowhere.

I found out late afternoon on Friday May 11th that John had died on May 6th.  Coincidence?

John and I grew up in the same neighborhood.  Our parents knew each other.  John was older than I was.  I looked up to him like an older brother.  When I started at ABC Taxi, John was already there.  He gave me advice, and his advice saved me finding things out the hard way.  Also, I enjoyed our deep spiritual and philosophical discussions.  John had wisdom, integrity and was a rugged individualist. What a great role model.  I learned a lot from him.

I did not see much of John after we both left ABC Taxi.  Eventually, I did not see John at all.  And then he pops in my mind on the day he died.

Just as he was at ABC Taxi before me, now John is at Eternity before me.  I will be seeking his advice when I get there.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestar/obituary.aspx?n=john-william-spauls&pid=188982925&fhid=17715

The Ontario Opportunities Fund

 

I have mentioned the Ontario Opportunities Fund in a previous blog.  I can’t believe that the government is still asking people, getting tax refunds, to give all or part of their refund to the government.  The above example is from a 2014 tax form, but the same box was on 2017 tax forms.

How many people donate all or part of their refund to the government?  Are there people out there who think, “Oh, the poor government is in debt.  I will donate my tax refund to help it out.”?

The government mismanages our taxes and gets into debt.  Then the government asks us to give it our tax refunds, too?

On my 2017 tax form, I wrote in the Ontario Opportunities Fund box, “Are you serious?”

 

https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-opportunities-fund

Everything Is A Mess II

Regarding my previous blog, Everything Is A Mess, some friends said that I was giving up by surrendering to the chaos.  I understand why they think that.  I thought the same when I first encountered the concept of accepting reality.

Byron Katie says, “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time.”  Surrendering to the chaos is not arguing with reality.  I am exercising control over the only place I can control: inside my mind.  I cannot control what goes on outside of my mind, and I suffer when I try to control what goes on outside of my mind.

This is not giving up.  It is taking an approach to life that makes life so much easier to take.

 

“What is is. You don’t get a vote. Haven’t you noticed?”

– Byron Katie

 

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Byron_Katie

Everything Is A Mess . . .

I kept procrastinating with my income taxes.  I would have every intention of doing them and then avoid them by finding something else to do.  Last week, I seriously started working on them since the deadline was April 30.  And then a crisis happened.  I had to stop doing my taxes to deal with the crisis.

I did not get upset over the crisis.  I did not get upset that I could miss the tax deadline.   I have come too far along The Path to expect order, and that life should have no problems.  Life is so much easier when you give up your expectations and surrender to the chaos.

I did my part for the crisis.  I completed my taxes on Saturday April 28th.  I dropped the forms off at the North Toronto Tax Office drop box on Sunday April 29th.

The crisis is not over, and more crises may come to add to the one I am already dealing with.  Whatever happens, I will do my part peacefully.

Everything is a mess, but all is well.

– Anthony De Mello

 

 

Reflections on April 23, 2018

Well . . . the world did not end yesterday—at least for most of us.  Ten of us near Yonge and Finch, yesterday, had our physical world brought to an end by a man in a van.

You still hear reporters referring to this event as a “horrible tragedy.”  Are there tragedies that are not horrible?  Have you ever heard anyone say, “What a delightful tragedy!”?

Reporters also said, “We still don’t know a motive for this mass killing.”  What?  You can’t guess at the motive?  The van driver was batshit crazy!  There’s your goddamned motive.  What is there more to know?  Who in his or her right mind wants to kill innocent people?  The only other thing to know is whether there were other batshit crazy people involved.

It matters not whether people kill others in the name of God, politics or anger.  Murder, mass murder, and violence are insanity.  Batshit crazy people will twist religion and politics to suit their agenda.  Why waste time speculating on a motive, for violent acts and terrorism, when madness is the basis?

http://www.macleans.ca/news/multiple-pedestrians-struck-by-van-near-yonge-and-finch-in-toronto/