Angry TTC commuter takes the bitter way home: Mallick
Not allowed on a packed rush hour bus, a woman blocks traffic to show that if she can't have it, neither can you.
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Quick question, so I can nail down your morals and your vision of the common Canadian good.
When a Toronto bus is too packed with passengers to let you on, do you retaliate by walking slowly in front of that bus on a major road, blocking two northbound lanes of traffic, so that people stuffed inside the bus — those “luckier” than you — are foiled in their tiny dream of finally getting home after a hard day?
Would you do that?
A CBC video was taken by bus rider and Marketplace producer Andreas Wesley, from the show with a terrific sense of peculiar human behaviour. Marketplace gave us that Conservative candidate/home repair guy secretly peeing in a cup in a kitchen sink, remember?
It shows a young woman blithely walking in near-darkness, as perky as Jeff Sessions lyin’ to the skies about his Russian contacts and failing to remember. It is a crude act. She has no f--- to give.
She changes lanes as the bus tries to move around her, blocking the cars behind the bus and creating danger as the bus moves from side to side for reasons the car drivers can’t fathom. What shocks me about this libertarian individualist is her confidence that the bus won’t simply run her over, which she is inviting it to do. She is free. The driver is constrained by civilization.
She may have thought she was doing a Tiananmen Square but on Lansdowne Ave. on a late Friday afternoon, which is a funny place to plant your flag in the fight for international petulance. A bus is no tank but it weighs perhaps 15,400 kg. You will not win that argument.
But the TTC driver is admirably calm. He simply calls in a report to his supervisor and leaves it at that. What a good person.
The walker, wearing a grey parka and black pants, is unobtrusive but I suppose easily identifiable, though I hope no one manages it. My intent is not to shame her but to discover her motives.
Is this her protest against long lineups for crowded buses? @TTChelps is available. No, her stance is: if I can’t have it, then no one shall.
As a toddler, she would have failed that famous marshmallow test, the experiment in which kids are offered more marshmallows later if they don’t eat their single marshmallow now.
As the researchers discovered, smart kids would “cover their eyes with their hands or turn around so that they can’t see the tray, others start kicking the desk, or tug on their pigtails, or stroke the marshmallow as if it were a tiny stuffed animal.” Others, like the bus-blocker, “would simply eat the marshmallow as soon as the researchers left.”
Delayed gratification is the hallmark of graduates (of everything) and people lining up for the bus.
But not her. Communism would not have worked for her, or even elementary school, which is very much about learning to share. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” says Star Trek’s Spock. “Time is everything, man is nothing; he is at most time’s carcass,” said Karl Marx.
Suck it, Spock, this woman would say. But she really made time’s Marxist carcass out of those tired people on the bus. She made them pay.
We encounter this situation a lot as American-style entitlement heads north, mainly to the CBC News home page, Ground Zero for the damaged and the discontented. I’m surprised the union hasn’t named it a psychological workplace hazard for journalists.
CBC commenters complain, for example, about teachers’ generous pensions when the problem is in fact that everyone should have them. That said, I’m glad the teachers do. MPs should have excellent pensions because running is a risk while winning only once or twice is a career disruption that is difficult to recover from.
Humans are jealous and spiteful, that is, when they are not being generous and broad-minded. I doubt they make the calculation I do: if I am kind to strangers, the odds are that strangers will be kind to my children. I know this is nonsense.
All I ask is that my bus appear. I do not demand that it wait for me alone, as that woman did.
Should it be crowded, all I ask is that it not run me over. These are small requests and so far, they have been granted.