Recently I ran into two new arrivals to our city who proclaimed that 'Torontonians are Not friendly'.
This statement made in earnest was enough to wake me up from my lazy break from the blog world, because I was aghast when I heard it.
"What do you mean?"
"I thought you are from Atlanta! Are you telling me that Atlanta is a friendlier city than Toronto?!" etc so ran my retort.
Looking back on my reaction I wonder if it was due to the Descartes effect of the popular phrase 'Toronto is a friendly city' i.e. We Torontonians think we are a friendly bunch so we must be a friendly.
But are we really friendly?
What, in fact, decides the 'friendly-factor' of a city?
-friendly chats with random strangers?
-All of the above?
Are the criterion dependent on the size of the city? Most likely. So lets only look at big cities as I'm generally biased against small cities. They are great on a road trip/day trip but really how can one live in a place with one theatre?
Nyway.... Yes its true that people living in big cities do not smile. But here is a good reason Why. Its because 'Walking around with a smile on your face' generally gets the following reactions-
-butt pinched (or 'felt up')
-impromptu declarations of love
-close encounters from the homeless/crazy/druggy on the lines of "I'm homeless, wanna take me home?"
That is why everyone has learned to walk with a look of furious concentration of 'ohmygawd I'm late' . So excuse us for not smiling all the time.....We are smiling deep down.
Big cities are not generous. Most wondering artist, struggling visa student will tell you this. It is true unfortunately. It is however hasty to assume random acts of generosity do not occur in big cities. It might be small but I've been given generous directions ("You are standing on Bloor Street, miss", said with a straight face), allowed to board buses without the exact change and even drawn in chats with people standing in a queue about things other than the weather. People have been more than generous-with their time and money.
And Torontonians DO have an open mind...just take a walk down our 'Gayvillage'.
I don't know guys...... I think we are 'Friendly enough'! no? err....or atleast...no no definitely... 'Friendlier' than NY?! Oh yes. For sure.
Oh then, why do the Vancouverites(is that a term?) hate us so?
Bashing the workforce
There was a sudden public transit strike this monday in Toronto. From the huffing and puffing that went on such as reflected on this post it'll seem like the sky has fallen. My goodness! There have been strikes before you know! We survived! In 1999 there was one that went for for days right in the middle of my exams. And you know what? I made it to my exam. There are other ways and I atleast didn't have to lose money like the strikers do. There are already signs that this strike wasn't as clear cut illegal as they are making it out to be. Sure it was without warning this time but still I wonder why is it that everytime workers strike people blame the workers as opposed to the admistration? Has everyone forgotten why we have 'unions' in the first place? I hear it all the time from 'uncles/dads'. Anytime someone strikes they are up in arms. Ranting against TTC workers seem particularly harsh and undeserved because of how badly they get treated by the TTC, a lot of which people are not aware of. We have a stroke patient, in the clinic I work at, who used to be a TTC subway operator and the stories we hear from him- so sad! And he isn't even that disgruntled of a worker.
Imagin this. If you had a job where all you are doing is mindlessly driving people who can't afford a car/dialysis patients/blind and deaf people and still are liable to get fired for bringing in your bus/train 1-minute later than the schedule, on top of getting regularly spit on, punched,kicked, beaten,shot at by your sober and drunk passengers while your company does nothing to protect you or provide you with means of escapeing the assault(like a door) and infact fire you because you tried to protect yourself...maybe just maybe you don't have the heart to look enthusiastic over your job eh? Do you then have the right to stick with the union and stay away from work without pay so that your family can be assured that you'll come home safe? Or do you have to ask for approval from people who do everything possible to make your job harder- like trying to pass you while you are letting off passengers?
There are lots of people like the blogger whose posted I linked to earlier who seem to think we can just do away with people in general in the workforce. Bring in the Robots! Its the solution to everything eh? Do they actually think we live in a science fiction movie? Does the garbage from your home get automatically packed into conveinent heart shaped packets to be burned as coal in your BBQ yet? No. It gets manually picked up by someone and then sorted. I once knew an engineer who thought "Doctors were uneccesary because we can just have computers doing the work". I really question the sanity of these people!. Why not invent such a system first instead of musicplaying/videorecording cellphones and then talk your big talk! And do they ever stop to think the economic reprecussions of all the manual workforce being out of a job? Ofcourse not.
As long as you are okay who cares about others;tThey are all stupid anyway-seems to be the general concensus.
Then the typical immigrant reaction is- "oh 'these white folks' dont' know how to do their work. We'll show thm!". Oh yes, bring in 'over-educated' immigrants into the TTC to drive buses... Try saying that to the people in the bengali community. Thats exactly what they will want to do with all their notions of what is the 'proper job' for an educated Bengali person right? Puleez. How many Desi people do you see doing work thats doesn't involve sitting at a desk? And I'm sure one gets really really wonderful proof of the work ethics of bengali people in Bangladesh eh with all the bribe taking, frequent tea-breaks ? What a bunch of hypocrites!
*going over to get sick*