Incident at the Sheppard-Yonge Station

I saw a young man and woman fighting at the bus level of the Sheppard-Yonge Station.  She was screaming, “He’s attacking me!  He’s attacking me!”  There were about 20 to 30 people in the station watching.  There was also a TTC bus driver on an 84 Sheppard West bus loading passengers from the station.  No one was doing anything.  The man stopped approaching the women when I blocked his path.  I shouted to the bus driver to call the police.  The passengers on the bus were watching.  It’s hard to believe that the driver did not hear me shouting to call the police, or the woman screaming.  He kept looking straight ahead.  And then he drove away.

Although I had stopped the man from approaching the woman, the woman did not stop from running around me to punch and kick the man all the while screaming, “He’s attacking me!  He’s attacking me!”  I gave up trying to keep them apart after she did this a second time.

Naturally, the TTC Enforcement Officers weren’t around.  But there are lots of posters of TTC Enforcement Officers on the walls of trains and all the subway stations.  The posters state how the officers are concerned about our safety.



The woman tried to stop the man from leaving the station on his bicycle, but he got away.  She continued screaming and kicking at the doors at the station after the man left.  These doors are washrooms for the drivers or rooms for cleaning supplies and equipment.  She was angry no one from the TTC helped her.  I had dialed 911 from a nearby payphone and handed the phone to her when she stopped kicking the doors.

Another TTC driver went into a washroom when the woman wasn’t looking.  She saw him when he came out and screamed and swore at him for not coming to her aid.  I explained to him what had happened, and he explained to her that he wasn’t in the washroom when she needed help.  He stayed with her waiting for the police.  I left my name and number with him in case the police wanted to ask me questions.

I received a phone call from a police officer an hour after I had left.  I thought police interview witnesses by saying, “Tell me what happened, and please talk slowly because I am writing this down.”  The officer did not say this.  Before I said anything he said, “I want you to tell me what you saw and NOT what you think.  Don’t tell me what you think.  Tell me only what you saw.”  Then he proceeded to grill me with questions.  I felt as if I was a suspect and not a witness.  The officer had his mind made up about what had happened, and wanted me to confirm it.  His questions seemed to want to get me to say that I saw the man attacking the woman, but that’s not exactly what I saw.  And his questions and stern tone, as if I was a child, threw off my concentration.  I didn’t get a chance to tell everything because he kept interrupting me with questions.  And he wasn’t interested in the TTC driver who drove away as a possible witness.

This incident happened Wednesday, July 19.  It’s taken me three days to be able to write about it coherently.  When I tried to write about it on Thursday and Friday, clumps of words would come and then I would get upset and have to stop.  I didn’t realize that I was so upset.

Why was I upset?

  •  A woman was screaming for help.  I was scared, but I was the only one who went to her aid, and then call the police.  In doing so, I missed two buses which made me late for where I had to go.
  •   I didn’t get hurt, but I could have when I blocked the man’s path.
  •  A TTC bus driver ignored my request to call the police.
  •  Seeing a woman go berserk screaming and kicking doors because no one from the TTC had helped her.
  •  The police questioning me as if I was a suspect and not a witness.

I feel a little better now that I have written about it.  The passage of time will take away the remaining bad feelings.

Do you think the 84 Sheppard West bus driver has any bad feelings, and can look at himself in the mirror when he shaves?


Greasy Palms

In today’s Toronto Sun, Sue-Ann Levy wrote about Adi Astl, a 73-year-old man who built steps down an embankment in Tom Riley Park.  Astl was concerned for the safety of people using the embankment.  Several people had already fallen.  Astl found out from his city councilor that it would cost anywhere from $65,000.00 to $150,000.00 to build the steps.  With some of his own money and contributions, Astl and another man took 12 hours to build 8 steps for $550.00.  City bureaucrats were not impressed.

Why so much money to build 8 steps?  I have no proof for what you are about to read.  It is speculation.

The reason city bureaucrats were not impressed has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with favors owed and greasy palms.

Steve owns ABC Step Builders.  Steve makes contributions to city councilors campaigns, and has done work for city bureaucrats at little or no cost.  What a coincidence that Steve’s company gets all the City’s contracts to build steps in the parks.

Steve also owes favors so he hires his friends to help him build steps in the parks.  What took 2 people 12 hours to build will take 8 people a week, or so, to build.  Steve also knows a land surveyor who has to check out the embankment before Steve can build the steps.  The land surveyor charges double his fee because it is a City contract.

Steve uses inferior materials, but charges the City for superior materials.  Steve also greases the palm of the step inspector to overlook the inferior work.

Favors are returned, palms greased and no one cares because it’s a City contract.   And that is why what can be done for under $1000.00 will cost anywhere from $65,000.00 to $150,000.00.

Emergency Ready?

The City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) produced a booklet to help Torontonians prepare for an emergency. Here are some highlights from this guide:

Emergencies can happen any time and any place.

Really?  Emergencies can happen any time and any place?  I always thought that emergencies were planned.  I never knew that they could just happen.

During times of emergency there may be many people in need of assistance.

Wow!  People may need assistance during an emergency?  When did that start?

Most of the time, the best thing to do in a fire is leave the building as soon as possible.

No, I wouldn’t want to leave the building during a fire.   I always keep well-stocked in marshmallows in case of a fire.

Meet the firefighters when they arrive and tell then where the fire is

Obviously, they are not training firefighters the way they used to.

After an Emergency:

Check in and around your home or apartment for damage

Contact other family members to let them know that you are safe

Is there anyone who wouldn’t check his or her home for damage after an emergency?  Is there anyone who wouldn’t call family after an emergency?

There is good advice in this guide, but it’s too bad the OEM wrote it for people not as smart as rocks.


Yesterday, I was at a get-together with friends I have known since high school.  We went to Oakwood Collegiate Institute in Toronto.  Socrates was one of our teachers.  This gives you an idea as to how long we have been friends.

These are the friends who conspired, behind my back, to give me a fundraiser for my teeth.  I conspired with them to give support to another Oakwoodite who needed it.  He had no idea, when he arrived yesterday, what the real purpose of us getting together was all about.

What a supportive group of friends!  What a generous group of friends!  What a loving group of friends!

The other thing about my friends that makes me feel good is how culture and race are not issues, and were never issues.  We are Polish, German, Jewish, Italian, Chinese, Croatian, Hungarian, Jamaican, English, Irish, French, etc.  Not once did our backgrounds stop us from relating as friends.  We started out as friends at Oakwood, and we remain friends.  Being friends is all that matters.

In these times of fear, hatred and division, the world could use a lot more people like my friends.

Four Questions

Where does imagination live?

Where do thoughts go after we think them?

Where does creativity come from?  Does it come from anywhere?  Is it always around us?

Do we have the energy to be inspired and creative all the time?

Missing Time

Where does the time go?  I’m not talking about the centuries that whizzed by since my youth. I’m talking about the time that disappears in a blink when I focus on something.

I will be getting ready in the morning, or writing, or teaching myself mathematics.  I will look at the clock.  A few minutes later I’ll look at the clock again and an hour has passed!  Where did the hour go?  It only seemed as if a few minutes had passed.  Sometimes I don’t have to do anything except sit and stare.  And then several hours are gone.

This missing time is happening a lot more now than before.  Am I so focused on whatever I am doing that I am in the Eternal Moment?  Or am I the victim of time bandits?


Plan A and Plan B

Some people always have excuses for not showing up when they plan to do something with me.  They will promise to be at a place at a certain time, and then not show.  Their excuses are valid, but they always have excuses.  They insist that they want to see me and do things with me, but they rarely do.

I used to get upset because I would set aside my plans, to meet them for whatever we were going to do, and then they didn’t show.  I no longer get upset.  I stopped expecting them to keep their promises of showing up. When these people are my Plan A, I always have a Plan B.

I make another plan when these people plan to see me. If they show up, then okay.  If not, then I carry on with Plan B.  To paraphrase Alexander Pope, those who expect nothing can never be disappointed.

Extraordinary Moments

My life is a series of extraordinary moments, but sometimes I forget this.  Actually, more than sometimes I forget this.  I allow superficial circumstances to distract me from the miracles.

What miracles?  Reading and writing come to mind.  You are reading black marks on a screen that I first put down on paper with a pencil.  And then I typed and posted them.  Time and distance separates us, yet I am still able to communicate my thoughts to you. The same applies when we read a book of black marks written by someone from a distant time and place.  Time and distance cannot stop communication.  Isn’t that extraordinary?

I don’t appreciate the extraordinary moments when I get annoyed because I don’t get a seat on the crowded subway.  I forget that I am traveling distances and speeds my ancestors could never have conceived of.  I get irritated at standing in a line at the grocery store instead of focusing on how wonderful it is that I can walk and stand.  I worry about not having enough money forgetting that I have always survived by money showing up out of nowhere, and through the generosity family and friends.

It is in my best interests to look past the daily trivialities, and be grateful that every day my life is full of extraordinary moments.


In all my banana-eating life, I always called those stringy things on bananas stringy things on bananas.  I never knew their name was phloem (pronounced floem).  They are like veins and carry nutrients to the banana.

How did I learn this?  Today while I was doing some Algebra, a voice in my head said, “What do they call those stringy things on bananas?”  The Algebra problem I was solving had nothing to do with bananas.  I was not eating a banana, and there were no bananas in sight.  So I said to the voice, “I’m dividing polynomials.  What made you ask me a question about bananas?”

“I don’t know,” said the voice. “Obviously you don’t know the answer.  Why don’t you google my question?”

I did.

“Wow!  I never knew that.”

“See?” said the voice. “Aren’t you glad I asked?”


Those stringy things on bananas never bothered me.  I always ate them.  But some people gag when they see phloem.

I knew that we peeled bananas the wrong way by snapping the stem.  The myth is that monkeys peel bananas the right way:  by pinching and peeling from the bottom (which is actually the top).  What I didn’t know is that you will not get any phloem on bananas if you peel them the right way.

Amazing!  I learned about phloem and how to prevent it while dividing polynomials.

It Was A Plot!

It was a plot!  The wireless at the library and the computer gremlins conspired to make sure that I had difficulty trying to post anything yesterday.  I finally managed to post an out-of-order sign and the leave the library.

Once I left the library, the Gods conspired to make sure I got caught in the heavy rain Saturday afternoon.  They had made sure I got caught in the heavy rain Friday night.  And they made sure I got caught in the heavy rain this morning.   Will this be a daily amusement for them?

So, I was in a most foul mood when I went to my parents’ grave yesterday after it stopped raining.  I went to honor my father’s birthday June 18th.

I stood at the grave and remembered my Mommy and my Daddy. I didn’t cry, but sometime during the memories my most foul mood left. I don’t know where it went.  My parents’ plot undid the effects of the plot by the library Internet, computer gremlins and the Gods.  I left the cemetery feeling peaceful.