Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Civil Society

CD in Play: Sonic Youth, Murray Street

There's been a lot of to-do in the local media lately about the"Civil Society". Our Lord Mayor, Sam Sullivan, (perhaps one of the worst mayor's this city has seen in a while) has been droning on about about making Vancouver a kinder, gentler more respectful place to live. It's a big job and so far all we have heard is rhetoric.
A columnist in this weekend's Province has stated that Vancouver is one of the coldest cities he has ever lived in. People are polite, they'll hold a door open for you but are ever so afraid of anyone they don't know making eye contact with them - let alone speak to them. It is true and I can attest to that bot as someone who has attempted to converse with strangers and as someone with whom strangers have tried to converse. We are cold and reserved and uncomfortable with one another. It's a hell of a city to live in and today it just became a hell of a lot worse in my opinion.
I was just walking home from the bus stop. It is about a three or four minute walk to my place. I have to walk in between some of the other units in the Co-Op to get by - a long narrow walkway. There are people who get off and walk the same way as me and I see them often. We never speak. I had a coffee at work before I left and it wasn't sitting well at all. About 50 feet from the bus stop I convulse and spew out bile. Doubled over, I was trying to spit and to breathe as it felt as though my trachea has closed. I was choking.
There is a woman who often shares the path with me at this time. She was behind me today. She walked by and hurried past very quickly as I was choking. Didn't even stop or look back. No offer to call 911. Nothing. It was an isolated area, relatively speaking. The chances of getting help apart from her weren't so hot unless someone was at their window. I am so angry and the language I want to use you don't want to read. What I want to say to her isn't pleasant. And I am going to say something to her. My throat still burns from the bile.
I may be uncomfortable with strangers, but I would never pass one by in distress. And it isn't even that I have my Level 2 First Aid, I'd have stopped for someone in my position just because.
Vancouver has a long way to go before it can call itself civil.


Blogger MaCanuck said...

Oooh. Deep. Wonderful use of metaphorical imagery.

29 April, 2008 21:15  
Anonymous Dave said...

The guy almost chokes on his own bile and crack wise?

29 April, 2008 21:29  
Blogger Magnus said...

Trent means well. Despite being a seasoned writer, he sometimes flops when attempting funny.
At least I think Trent was attempting funny? Were you, Trent? If not, I have no clue what you are referring to.

29 April, 2008 23:29  
Blogger Geosomin said...

Geez...it makes me sad to read that. I like to think people would do their best to help others.
I know some people have a serious issue with biley spews, but I couldn't walk on by...even if the persn was a man larger than me. It's sad we can't trust people anymore...it's one of the reasons I stay where I am and hope Toontown doesn't grow too fast.

Hope you're feeling better.
When you see here next you should look her right in the eye and sat "I'm feeling much better today thanks" and smile widely and walk off. I belive guilt is in order in this case.

30 April, 2008 08:38  
Blogger MaCanuck said...

Oh come on, am I the only one who sees the connection between lines like " I am so angry and the language I want to use you don't want to read." and the idea of choking on one's own bile?

On how we try and express ourselves to others, but they walk on by, and that which flows out of us turns to ill will for our fellow humans, and yet they still walk on by? The artist dreams poisoned by the ill will foisted on him. Or maybe it is not what is outside of him that is the problem, but what it inside.

It is actually a quite profound thought, as he walks around looking at what surrounds him, and discovers that which flows out of him is no better. Seeking to become the cure, he has become the disease.

The idea needs to be fleshed out a little more, but it is a great start. One of the best things you've written in a while. Or at least, that you've let me see.

Or are you telling me this was a true story?

30 April, 2008 10:11  
Blogger Magnus said...

Um... yeah, this really happened to me. I was actually choking on my own bile. My trachea really did close and I really couldn't breathe for at least 20-30 seconds. A woman who has seen me on a fairly regular basis over the last month and from before hand really did run by and didn't look back as I was gasping for air.

I don't actually post fiction on my blog.

30 April, 2008 11:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duuuude, fact IS fiction.

30 April, 2008 18:56  
Blogger Magnus said...

Orwell for the beach set.

30 April, 2008 21:30  

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