Bob Dylan crowed the lyrics of his rally call: ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1963) to a generation of angst-filled youth, disillusioned dreamers, and nouveau radicals, all thirsty for wise words, guidance, and affirmation that their deep, unexpressed feelings WERE true and that their world (ie, parents, government…’the establishment’) must change…and that they were the ones to change it….”if your time to you is worth savin’, then you’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin’…”.
It’s remarkable how songs and their lyrics stick in your head. I don’t think a Bob Dylan ear-worm is necessarily a bad thing, (unless the harmonica solos refuse to end, then you may have a problem). This Dylan classic came back to me recently and has been stuck on repeat ever since. I tend to make associations with song lyrics at least 100 times a day. Here’s how THIS one got in my head:
Someone very near and dear to me, applied to enter a program called ‘Women Unlimited’ offered through the Nova Scotia Community College. It is geared for women who want to explore non-traditional occupations and trades. My friend, having been laid-off her job as a junior metrologist (equipment calibrator) last fall, was hopeful that the Women Unlimited program would provide exposure to ideas, contacts and resources and eventually lead to gainful employment. As my friend was leaving the interview at NSCC, the interviewer remarked cautiously, “I notice that you are person from a minority group”. My friend, puzzled, turned around and asked, “Because I’m short?” (she’s all of 4′ 10″). The woman struggled to find words…”No, the rainbow on your back pack indicates to me that you might be a…homosexual…(rushing to continue)…I have gay friends…normally, I would use the word Queer when talking to them…” My friend interrupted, “But you have to be Politically Correct”. Relieved, the interviewer replied, “Yes, EXTREMELY, but I thought you should know that by self-identifying as a member of a ‘minority group’ for this program, your chances are significantly increased”. My friend grinned and remarked, “The Times They Are A-Changin’…” or something to that effect…or maybe I just put Dylan’s words into her mouth ’cause they felt so good to me (REALLY GOOD) and I love any excuse to make a pop culture reference.
I am so irritated I could spit. I wish I was the kinda gal who could chill when people are behaving like total a-holes. It’s one thing if smokers want to kill themselves, go around smelling like ashtrays, become a burden on the health care system which our tax dollars are paying for, make their children sick, loose productivity at work because they are outside caging a smoke…wait, that’s more than one thing…the point is, I only believe minimally in smokers rights, because when their addiction impacts ME and invades my personal space, I have to draw the line! The butthead who recently moved in next door (anorexic-looking twit with a 8-4 job, a stupid boyfriend who makes her squeak when they’re having sex, and a cat that I feel VERY sorry for), might be very quiet tenant (except maybe for all the knocking on her door by people using a ‘secret code’ on the door seven thousand times a night, golly gee, is she selling drugs too?!), but it turns out the common wall we share, transmits her cigarette smoke. Great. I pay an obscene amount of rent money for my haven, my oasis, my mecca of personal space…and I am forced to suck up the result of HER addiction. Hey Butthead! Capital District Health Authority is giving FREE smoking cessation aids if you join their program. Com’n babe. You can do it! Quit killing yourself and that stupid cat of yours, and most of all, stop irritating ME...and then maybe I won’t be so inclined to use all of the 200 watts of speaker power (‘Van Morrison Live’ tonight) to blast out my frustration. The fact that my window must be open during a wacky March blizzard, just so that I don’t croak, seems a little silly. Sigh. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so touchy about the smoking thing tonight, but this morning, I walked by a Metro Transit bus shelter (ironically, it was outside the hospital), and a bunch of QEII hospital employees were using it as a smoking hut. Very nice. Where are you HRM by law enforcement officers?! You guys just blew a $350.00 fine TIMES at least three or four buttheads! If you added up all the potential butthead infractions and collected the fines, maybe we could afford to run this city efficiently. OK, Now I need to put on some music again…let’s see…I really like that John Mayer CD…
Posted in Advice, Fairness, Halifax, humour, opinion, personal, smoking, smoking cessation
Tagged Advice, Fairness, Halifax, humour, smoking cessation
Yeah, yeah, yeah…it’s Saturday night and I’m going to take advantage of the fact that most people are out on the town, doing important stuff like smooching with their sweeties and I AM NOT! Sigh. Maybe it’s something in the spring air or the effects of drinking the HRM tap water, but I feel a burning desire to give one (I SAID ONE) Metro Transit bus driver a pat on the back, tip of my jaunty beret, nod of approval, and spring bouquet all rolled into one. Given the intense satisfaction I normally derive when I have the opportunity (and there are plenty of them) to blast Transit drivers (see earlier blogs), I feel oddly conflicted and confused about this new-found bus driver appreciation…but here goes; On Friday, I was riding the #14 bus, bound for the UU church on Inglis to rehearse a ‘green opera’ which I am writing and co-directing (don’t ask. I’ll tell you about it sometime). The driver was a little behind schedule, not unusual for a Metro Transit bus. It was past peak
hours minutes (This IS Halifaxl) so the bus was not the packed sardine it can it can some times. I lulled into my typical bus stupour but remained minimally alert, which allowed my brain to count the turns that the bus was making (to figure out where to get off…driver had not asked me, and I thought he had sounded a tad frazzled and would probably forget to tell me anyway). It turns out that I need not have bothered. I also did not need a compass or GPS to realize that the collective, “Hey!” from passengers (Oh those eloquent St. Mary’s students!) meant that we had blown by Robie street without making the #14 route’s right hand turn off of South Street. The driver realized what had happened quickly enough (maybe it was the three panicky students who swarmed the guy within 2.749 seconds of realizing that the bus was off route). I listened to the following exchange between the driver and students ( they had quickly lurched forward to stand next to the driver, I-pods temporarily disconnected from their heads to allow their ears access to their cell phones;
Driver: “Sorry, I’m used to working the #41 route…it’s Friday….I’m so sorry.” (#41 goes right up South)
Student A: “Is this the #14 or not?”
Driver: “Sorry, I apologize…it’s Friday”.
Student B: “Are we going anywhere near St. Mary’s? I’m supposed to meet someone in…3 minutes” .
Driver: (sounding very tired) “I don’t know where to turn around”
Student C: “Are we going to go back to Robie Street or not?”
Old geek sitting across from me: “What the hell is going on?!!”
Driver: (to the driver of a passing bus he had waved over) “I have no idea what to do. Where can I turn around? What would you do? I’m ten minutes behind schedule as it is.”
Other Driver: “Just get back anywhere on the route. Happens to me all the time”.
Driver: “I don’t want to leave anyone behind on Robie or Inglis which is what’s going to happen if I blow off the route”.
Other Driver: “Do whatever you feel like” (he then left, helpful soul that he was)
Student A: “Is this the #14?”
Student B: “I’m getting off right now!” (at which point he leaped off the bus as though his pants were on fire)
Student C: “Is we still in Halifax? I’m not from here…”
Student A: “Is this the #14?”
Driver: “Everybody sit down please. I apologize…it’s Friday” (he then drove off as though his HIS pants were on fire).
We embarked on the most unusual of bus trips. We headed east, then maybe south and west…north even? I had no clue where I was, but I did not seem to mind (how unusual for me…hence my feeling of confusion). People cursed and grumbled and sighed and tisked all up and down the bus.
Me: “Can someone please tell me where we are?” (The driver was still busy driving like a man possessed).
Student C: “I don’t know where I am either”.
Old geek across from me: ” The son of a. b..ch is going back to Robie Street to pick up his route where he left off!”
Upon hearing this news, I felt an unexpected appreciation for this driver (who was still apologizing profusely as anyone got off his bus). When we finally reached my stop, (some 20 minutes off schedule by now and way too late for rehearsal),
I said to him: “Don’t worry, stuff like this happens all the time to me too….it’s Friday!”
At one time, people accused me of picking on Halifax’s Metro Transit and their bus drivers too much….they don’t announce bus stops despite the undeniable swath of pan-Canadian litigation and Human Rights rulings which has forced other cities to do so…they have inaccessible route and schedule information, AND they have yanked the “free pass” which allows the blind to travel free, a minor concession for inadequate Accommodation.
It seems that I don’t have to complain about Metro Transit drivers anymore. Why? They are behaving like a big bunch of goofs with EVERYONE these days; Recently, one driver rammed a courier’s vehicle on Barrington street and held up a busload of passengers for 20 minutes while he ranted. Then, last week, a driver refused to allow a veiled Muslim woman on his bus…a definite no-no (a bystander complained, not the woman), this on top of recent accusations of racial profiling and finally, this weekend, one particularly goofy driver got out of his bus in front of the spring Garden Road Library to whack a mock bloody seal with a stick; the toy seal was being used by anti-seal hunt demonstrators. I guess he was just trying to express his opinion? The driver was picked up by the cops and eventually returned to his bus. It seems he’s been invited to join Metro Transit big cheeses in a discussion today (Oh, to be a fly on the wall!). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; give these drivers a refresher course…no, not ‘sensitivity training’…they need a course on how to locate their brains…the one’s stashed away in their back pockets…the pockets attached to the lard asses they sit on as they drive their buses (a job for which they are over paid, if you ask me), confident with the knowledge that the money they shell out in monthly union dues will cover the cost of lawsuits and other damage control expenditures for these ‘special’ (and increasingly often) times when they behave like the big bunch of goofs they really are.
I have written this blog (and 236 others, two of which were deleted…why did I do that?!) for just under one year. Some 20,500 people have dropped in to date. I am currently involved in a writing project (very interesting stuff which I’m sure you will all want to pay big bucks for…or not). That’s the good news. The bad news, for some, is that I am taking a temporary break from blogging. Others may see this as cause for celebration (the crass, reactionary types). Regardless, I am outta here for a time, but like MacArthur (or was it some other dude?) said, “I shall return”. Thanks to all the regular readers, the web drifters, and especially to those who have taken the time to send comments (except perhaps, the demento types who really seem to have a loose grasp of reality and lack social decorum).
Opal, my long-suffering (that’s just an expression!) guide dog bids you adieu for now too. She says to tell you that she will update you personally on the progress I make with my writing project (literary pimp, that she is). It just wouldn’t seem right to go on blog holiday without one more pop-culture reference all wrapped up into a piece of wise advice: “Stay calm, be brave, and wait for the signs”- (from the Dead Dog Cafe gang on CBC Radio),
Dear Louis, happy birthday buddy. At your age (200), you probably take birthdays in stride. I am writing to pass along greetings and best wishes from a few kids here in Halifax. I gotta tell you, I was a little disappointed in the overall lack of interest at the Braille 200 Day booth at the mall today. I was feeling a tad depressed about the whole thing for a while there, having schlepped so much stuff over to the community booth, including my Perkins Brailler, a Braille alphabet chart the size of Manitoba, some items for the raffle, a ton of pamphlets and information sheets telling people all about you and the system you developed for blind people. I had made (lovingly and painstakingly), commemorative bookmarks. Preparation for your celebration have taken their toll on my wallet (Braille card stock, printer ink etc) and my time. I had day-glow yellow posters made up to advertise my offer to Braille anyone’s name for FREE!!! I had a neat display of Braille children’s books, metal tags (you know the kind I sew into my clothes to identify their colour- PK=pink, GN=Green, RD= red etc), phone and bank statements, playing cards etc. I got so bored sitting alone at my booth, that I started to write nonsense on my Braille machine, just to pass the time…”If one more person comes to ask me for directions to Athlete’s World or the washroom, I will ask Opal to attack…” I couldn’t believe that thousands of people could be so hell-bent on shopping and totally uninterested in you and your special day. Finally, some kids came to ask me for their name in Braille. I cheered up instantly. I sent them off with sticky labels and cue cards with the appropriate names on each. I told them about your birthday and they asked me to wish you all the best. Only ten people picked up my bookmarks and I have plenty left…looks like I may need to do another mall shift in the next week or so (groan). Maybe they’ll have shut down the Christmas music by then…Hey! Maybe I’ll bring some to church tomorrow and see if any UU’s want to feel you up! Take care, my friend. I hope you make it to 300 and beyond.
Technorati Tags: Happy New Year
What if, when we awake tomorrow, to a new day and a New Year (and a boatload of snow in Nova Scotia), we also awake to…the complete absence of news items relaying the tragic traffic accidents and deaths which occurred after too many people got ‘happy’ with liquor in celebration tonight. What if we never hear another announcement of soldiers dying in Afghanistan and elsewhere? What if the federal and provincial governments suddenly decided to support their poor, elderly, ill and disabled citizens with programs, services and benefits that would allow these people to lead dignified lives? What if a collective consciousness suddenly finds world leaders talking about “the Interconnected Web of All Existence” (knowingly and lovingly) and galvanizes them into immediate action to resolve issues that threaten our planet, like global warming? What if individuals across the globe are hit by uncontrollable urges to be honest, kind, generous, patient, and loving to one another? Imagine that! …but, John Lennon already did, “and I’m not the only one”, he claimed. So, what if we just give peace a chance?…oh wait, John Lennon already sang to us about that too. (By the way, the ‘B’ side song on the single, “Imagine” was “It’s so Hard” in the USA and “Working Class Hero” in the UK). Happy New Year everyone.