How I was raised: a response to the (mean) lady on the bus

12 04 2014

To the lady on the bus last night who said I had “no class” and asked who raised me because I failed to see the elderly people standing behind everyone else and offer my seat to them:

“I am silent not because it is an admission of fault or guilt. I am silent because I was raised by my mother, who taught me not to get upset at the words and actions of strangers. I could very easily insult you back — call you names, judge you based on your outfit, make some crass comment about how inappropriately rude you are, but that’s not what my mother taught me. And quite frankly, I don’t want to sink that level. I don’t want to descend to that cesspool-level of insult that some people resort to, that some people feel they are entitled to use to insult strangers on a bus. I am not that kind of person because you know what? I am better than that.

I could call you out on your ignorance and blatant judging, and tell you how in fact, I have more class than you will ever have in your life. But that would imply that I value your opinion of me, which, quite frankly, I don’t. I could tell you that I am almost always the first to offer my seat whenever I’m on the bus. I could tell you how I organized a fundraiser to support Covenant House last year, an organization dedicated to helping street youth and at-risk adolescents. I could tell you that I donated almost $400 to charity last year while still being a full-time student. I could also tell you that this is the first time I’ve ever worn this outfit (dress pants, dress shoes, a purple dress shirt with a vest, tie, and blazer). I could tell you that clothes, money, and material possessions don’t mean a lot to me and don’t necessarily reflect who I am. I could do all of these things to make you understand, but doing it on a public bus in front of an audience is not how I do things. Because I’m classy.

I won’t do any of those things. I’m not that kind of person. What I will do is apologize. I’m sorry if I couldn’t see the elderly couple from  where I was sitting. I would have gladly offered my seat if I had seen them. And as for you, I will give you the benefit of the doubt: maybe you’re having a bad night. Maybe you just got off an eight-hour shift. Maybe you’re always like this. I don’t know. But I’m not going to hold your obvious negativity against you. Instead, I’m going to wish you a good night. You may think there is malice or sarcasm underneath, but you’d be looking for something that doesn’t exist. You want to know who raised me? My mother. My classy mother raised me. And she raised a classy son.

Have a good night. And goodbye.”

Bus rant

5 01 2013

I normally don’t rant about daily annoyances, but I feel I must do it today.

Okay.  Lots of people don’t know how to open the doors to get off the buses in Vancouver.  It also doesn’t help that there are many minorities and immigrants in this city, but the only instructions labeled on the doors are in English.  As the bus stopped, an older man wanted was waiting by the doors.  He touched the doors, as one is supposed to do to open them, but the bus driver hadn’t unlocked the doors (the lights at the doors weren’t on).  He pushed and pushed and hit the doors, yelling, “Get off!  Get off!”  A lady sitting nearby (I couldn’t actually see her from where I was sitting but heard her voice) simply advised him, “Push!”, as if it was the obvious thing to do.  Except of course, it didn’t matter how much he pushed the door (which he was already doing anyway)– the bus driver hadn’t unlocked the doors.

What bothered me about this was not the older man, but the woman, who wasn’t helping the situation.  There are some people in this city who think they know how the transit system works, or in this case, how to get off the bus, but they don’t.  In the words of George Carlin, “some people seem intelligent… but wait.  They’re just full of shit!”  And anyway, to open the door, you don’t need to push at all.  You don’t even need to touch the doors.  It’s activated by sensors.

I shouted to the bus driver, “Backdoor”, what has now become a sort of unofficial way of saying, “Hey, driver.  Could you open the door for me?”  The lights came on and the man got off.  Crisis over?

At the next stop, the same thing, oddly enough, happened again.  Another older man wanted to get out.  Doors were locked.  He shouted, “Get off, get off!” too (is this becoming the new “Backdoor!”?).  Unhelpful woman told him to “Push”, which he was already doing.  Bus driver unlocked the doors.  Sensor sensed him there.  They opened.

I wanted to go up to the woman and educate her on how to actually get off the bus, which does not include pushing the door or really, using any force.  But then I had to get off the bus, and lo and behold, I didn’t even have to touch the doors.

When you don’t have the words…

19 02 2012

Post a youtube video about how you feel!

Marshall Gregson is my hero.

Ahhh, 6 minutes to go

3 08 2011

I was gonna rant about how I don’t like the All American Rejects because they perpetuate the idea that “cool” people are ones that go and do stupid things like get drunk, dress like slobs, and party when I think just the opposite but I suppose I shall do that tomorrow.  Or a different day.  Yup.

Taking the High Road

10 03 2011

Seems so easy.

“Great job!  You totally deserved it.”

For the longest time, I was a really good sport.  I would be humbled to run against better, faster, obviously more athletic guys in races.  I would watch in awe as other pianists played with such techinical precision, jealous that I couldn’t do the same.

But as I’ve found, there are things that I can’t have good sportsmanship about.  Things that make me feel like I’m having an ulcer (which is what it feels like at this moment).

As those who have some inkling on the going-ons of my life, I entered the ICBC 180 short film contest back in January after lots of thought about the concept of the film I wanted to make.  It would’ve been so easy to make a video that showed people dying or getting hit by cars and just say, “If you do this, you’re gonna die, just like Jimmy did.”  So after long thinking, I came up with the story for Last Text, where the main character, in the confines of his room, begins to get more and more concerned about his friend after his friend fails to text him back.  The twist at the end is that his friend, who should’ve taken 15, 30 minutes at the most to drive people home from a party hadn’t been checking his phone because he was driving.

Everyone is safe.  The lesson here: don’t let your last text be your last words.

My boyfriend suggested that perhaps we have Plato, our main character, drive around looking for his friend, only to crash into him or something, but I thought that was too melodramatic.  And that’s exactly how I thought when I watched film after film uploaded on the ICBC contest — why does someone have to die to get a message across?  What about positive messages?

So I submitted it, thinking that with the unique names for our characters, the non-melodramatic story, that we would have a good shot at winning.  After submitting the film, other films seemed to get much more views and praise.  At this point, the divide between contest entrant and film critic started to become an issue.  As a fellow submitter, the unspoken etiquette is to be supportive of everyone.  On the other hand, I felt that after watching some films, I didn’t think they were that good.  And I believed I was being fairly objective about it too.  It’s not like I didn’t like ALL the films submitted — there were really outstanding ones that I thought would definitely win (A Memory Still and [W]reckless in particular).

Eventually, I had to stop checking up on my video and reading comments because they made me angry — angry because I genuinely believed I had a good, different way of conveying a message to young drivers but no one seemed to notice and the ones that did only criticized it.  When I got the email that Last Text had been shortlisted to 10 films in the distracted driving category, I was so thrilled.  I felt like the panel who picked these films were able to see the merit in my film.  It was validation for me, which, frankly, I don’t get very often.

Now, I will admit there were some high quality films in that category, and that making the next cut would be difficult, which, as it turned out, our film didn’t make the cut.  But oh well.  Other better films would probably win.  I had no doubt about that.

Last night was the ceremony and the announcement of the winners, and the official list was posted on the ICBC website.  I was under the impression that the next cut was down to the top 3 videos frrom each category when in fact it was actually 6.  When I found this out, along with seeing the titles of other films which I thought for sure wouldn’t make it to the next cut, I was floored.

I wasn’t even in the top 6.

Yeah, boo hoo.  I’m a bad sport, I have no sportsmanship, and I’m a sore loser.  Yes, those things are obvious.

But going back to being a good sport, I wouldn’t have minded if I lost to someone better, someone with a better film.  And the two winners in the category definitely had better, better-made films.  Congrats to them.  I’m actually happy (and not surprised) they won.

But to find out from that some of the other top 6 films, some of which I didn’t think were very good to begin with, when they made the cut… well, you can imagine how that might feel like.

It’s hard to take the high road, to say “Congratulations” when you honestly feel that after all the effort, all the thinking to do something different than others, the overall product was better than other people’s.  That’s not to say that my film is Oscar-winning by any means, but relatively speaking.

If  hadn’t become clear already, I don’t enjoy losing, for the most part, and obviously I won’t stay angry at this forever.  I don’t know if this is something I should get to used to feeling or if it’s something I need to change about myself, but if that’s the case, does that mean I can’t have opinions?

In any case, I’ll stop thinking about this and making myself look like a whiney douche.

As much as it still stirs up something in me, congrats to the winners.

I hate humanity.

9 02 2011

It’s nothing new.  I’ve always had it out for us.  Ever since I saw how unbelievably stupid we all are, how hateful we can get, the human race has been on the top of my hate list, right next to Fred Phelps (though, of course, since he is part of humanity, one could argue that they are the same).

I also now realize that I will feel more hatred and contempt every once in a while, like some sort of reality check, or like a period of pessimism.

And just today, I had a heavy period day.

Last night, I watched Downfall, since I thought it would be a good companion to learning about WWII in History class.  Though it was a great film and the main character survives the war (oh yeah, spoilers!), she confesses into the camera, now much older, that she didn’t know about the extermination of the Jews being a secretary for Hitler.  What is even more powerful was that she admits she was young (when she started working for Hitler) and wasn’t curious about these things, but that being young is not an excuse.  “There was always an opportunity to find out,” she says.  But she didn’t.  Of course, knowing about it and doing something are two different things.  But the point was that young people, as naive as they are, can’t use that as an excuse.

This confession combined with the large amount of suicides in the film (spoiler alert!) and murder — including that of a mother drugging her children to sleep and then giving them poison capsules before dying with her husband — left an impression on me.  Rather than admitting that they were wrong or trying to fix the situation, they decided just to kill themselves.  Sure, they thought the Russians would shoot them just the same, but it’s humanity’s pride that leaves me dumbfounded.

“5 million Jews were killed during the war”, it said at the end of the film.  It’s hard, at least for me, to put an image to that number.  For me, I’ve never been able to grasp the full extent of what 5 million people is.  It is a lot.  I know.

Around 20 million Russians died in the war, more than any other country.

Millions of other soldiers and civilians died from many countries.

In History class, we learned about a student protest in Hungary and when their demands proved to be too much, the Red Army came in and killed about 20,000 students.  Just like that.

To think that after the world had seen the horrifying uses of the concentration camps and that we would be better than that, no.  The Soviet Union started using them to house political prisoners, those who didn’t agree with Communism or even Stalin’s idea of Communism.

Then there are gruesome things like the Rape of Nanking, or using the atomic bomb on Japan, and I think, “How could we do this?  How can one entire species do so much damage, so much killing?”  So much needless death.

At the same time, I’ve been researching the brainwashing experiments done in Canada at the Allan Hospital in Montreal that took place during the late 1950s and early ’60s for an essay for my History class.  I’ve been reading this one book that details some of the horrific experiments that were performed on the patients, including massive amounts of ECT (electro-shock), non-consensual dosing of drugs including LSD — all in an attempt to wipe the mind clean before reprogramming it “healthily”.  You can, of course, imagine the serious mental damage this inflicted on patients: some were so far gone after treatments that they were unable to dress themselves, go to the bathroom, or even remember their names and their family.  All the while, Dr. Ewen Cameron, the boss in charge at the Allan, believed he was doing it for science, that he was indeed curing these people.  How the fuck is shocking someone 6 times in a row supposed to be helping them?  How is playing hateful, absolutely awful subliminal messages while they’re kept under a drug-induced coma supposed to cure them?  How can someone have seemingly no remorse at the ramifications of mental damage and the lives destroyed of these people in the end?

I read in the book today of a woman who wanted to become a doctor named Mary whose tale absolutely crushed me.  Through hard work, she obtained a Master’s and went on to try and work in a hospital.  After getting rejected from a whole bunch of places and failing some other tests, she suffered from depression and eventually checked herself in at the Allan, where Dr. Cameron took her on.  Though she was working in a hospital to another doctor, she was getting paid only $150 a month and barely had enough to buy herself food.  But she kept going, believing she could still do it, to become a working doctor.

Before Dr. Cameron  he got through fucking up her mind, he told her family that after the procedures, Mary would no longer be able to become a doctor.  And of course that’s what happened.  She came out of the treatment disoriented, had no recollection of the last ten days after waking up from her coma.  With help from her family, she was able to piece together what had happened, or at least some of it, and when she demanded from Dr. Cameron to talk with him and for him to tell her what he had really done to her, man-to-man, he merely laughed at her and said, “I can’t do that; you’re a woman.”

And just today, we watched a video for History class about post World War II, particularly what was going on in Indonesia and Vietnam.  Since the Pacific countries were originally taken over by European colonists and that during the war, and Japan had invaded the islands and sort of liberated them (but still used them nonetheless for labor), the leader of Indonesia sat down with the leaders of the European nation to negotiate.

“They sat down to talk but talks fell through.  Fighting began.”

That must’ve happened at least three times during the movie.  People on the verge of peace; can’t even sit together without getting pissed at each other; and when that fails, let’s send people to go kill each other!  Yeah, that’ll work!

My god.  I rolled my eyes every time that happened.  What the hell is wrong with people?

I know what you’re thinking: but humans have done so many awesome things!  Like build cars and discover cures and have porn readily accessible.  Okay, sure, but I think MILLIONS of people dying in wars or torturing people or the fact that we even have the term “genocide” outweighs any accomplishment man has ever achieved, not to mention we have the weapons and technology the pretty much nuke the entire planet to smithereens with the push of a button.  Fantastic work, people.

Oh, and while I’m being a crazy raving lunatic here, I’ll also say that the average person is a dumb twit too.  I see buses fly by Langara, full in the front but empty in the back and I think, “You spend thousands of dollars on tuition and yet you’re too utterly moronic to have the decency to take a few steps to the back so that people can get on.  Bravo.  Bravo!”  Even simply things like that throw me back to despising the world with an inferno of a passion.

Yes, it is easy to criticize the human race for everything.  But if we’re so proud to be the best thing on this earth, I should think that one should have higher standards than just “Oh, but we built the pyramids and what about love?”

If I should be proud of the human race, give me something to be proud of, goddammit.

A Sermon for Change

20 11 2010

Another poem written this year for poetry class.

A Sermon for Change

You don’t even deserve the back seat of a bus –
A noose around your neck, dragged down a gravel road is better.
Your tainted mind,
Black sin, tar on your skin
You’re all scarecrows, unguided
We are simply the shepherds, finding your destined fence where you’ll be tied.
Brothers and sisters, take up arms
Use barbed holy books,
Sing golden slurs,
Or more simply a baseball bat, God’s miracle, to the head works wonders.
Of course you’re going to hell for loving someone.
It doesn’t make sense any other way.
Yes, God loves you.  Enough to create a disease, or rather, a gift, especially for you.
How we’d love to see you blaze like dry sticks choked with rope,
Or hacking all your crevices until they become abysses full of red.
For every step you take, we’ll not only push you back three but rape a little of your dignity.
This is a war you will never win.

So lie there, nose to the dirty floor with our boot stamping shit on your cheek.
You will never rise.
You won’t even try.

Prove us wrong.

Prove that our existence is not to exterminate yours
That the higher power created you for another reason than
Treating your sickness by injecting bullets.
I urge you to open the gates to the rage you suppress
And let those who oppress
Feel – know, experience the stabs of robbing your freedoms
Forcing you underground
And killing your friends.

Overthrow us.
Stand up.
Face us.
Say, “Fuck you.”
And let’s start from there.