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sense of entitlement

Hey! Fanshawe students…

why did this happen?

A St. Paddy’s Day low-key celebration turns into a riot so vicious that cops in riot gear had to beat a hasty retreat… what brought this on?

Sure, you can blame the booze, the large numbers, the testosterone (going out on a limb in assuming that most of the rioters were young men), but is there more to this than meets the eye?

Look, I was no angel at the age of these college kids. I did some crazy shit… but I NEVER thought about turning a party into something violent! And we had parties! Big ones! Some of them were hosted by yours truly when I was a teen on Whitefish Lake. We sometimes had 100+ on our beach, in our house and elsewhere on the sprawling 2 1/2 acre property.

And there was much imbibing! We sure as hell weren’t teetotalers! These were good times! Floyd, Zep and Neil Young booming from cassette decks and 8-tracks.  Sweet scents in the air…

Yet, not once was there any real damage. Not once.

OK, there was that one minor incident where a certain friend decided that doing a donut in his Rambler (if any old high school buds can correctly identify the culprit, I’ll buy them a beer in July!) on a far corner of the lot was a good idea…

Those too polluted to drive stayed in tents or crashed on our basement floor. And in the morning – hungover as hell – everyone pitched in to clean up the mess. Some party-goers even came back the next day to help with the clean-up.

I’m not saying that this was the case everywhere and all of the time. Cops were called at some parties (not my own) due to noise complaints. And yeah, the odd vase was broken or toilet backed up…

So what’s up with these kids? Why would they commit such violence even in the face of social media where EVERYONE has a camera and EVERYONE is on Facebook or Twitter and it is almost CERTAIN that your mug will be out in cyberspace, caught red-handed throwing a beer bottle, wrecking a cruiser or stoking a bonfire with 2×4’s ripped from a fence?

Did they not learn from the Vancouver riots?

Is it a sense of entitlement? Is it a lack of discipline? Is (and now I’ll sound like an old guy) this generation somehow distanced from social responsibility?

I truly don’t have an answer to this. But, in the intervening 30 years or so since I was the same age as these hooligans, something has clearly shifted.

Oh, and happy first day of Spring!


Public transportation…

Taxi version… Ottawa versus Barbados. Based on recent experience.

1) Lots of baggage and taxis, Barbados. Part One.

Driver cheerfully picks up from Granley Adams Airport and carefully sets our 5 heavy suitcases carefully down in the back of the minivan. Smile on face, he talks us up on the way from the airport, telling us about what to see and do. The agreed upon and reasonable fare is paid and an arrangement is made for him to pick us up on the day of our departure.

2) Lots of baggage and taxis, Ottawa. Part One.

Blue Line taxi is called the night before for a 4:30 pick-up. I tell the dispatcher that we are a party of 4 with 5 pieces of luggage and 4 carry-ons. I am assured that this won’t be a problem. At 4:40 the on the appointed morning, an undersized car shows up. No apologies for being late. Shrugging his shoulders, the driver crams as much luggage as possible into a trunk and front seat while the four of us are crammed into the back. Only the 2 kids wearing seatbelts, and I with a 40 lb suitcase on my lap.

Good times.

3) Lots of baggage and taxis, Barbados. Part Two.

Driver shows up dead on the minute. Won’t let me touch the bags. He loads everything on. Makes sure the kids are in the cab safely. Nice convo about the politics of Barbados… this is a smart and informed guy. Waits for other cars to move so he can debark us right in front of the Air Canada check-in desk. He thanks us profusely for hiring him and gives me biz cards to give out to any other friends or colleagues who may visit the island.

Note: if you plan on visiting Barbados, email me.

4) Lots of baggage and taxis, Ottawa. Part Two.

Bags drop off belt around midnight. I’m tired. the kids are tired. Want and need smooth sailing from here on in… should be safe, right?

Go outside to stand in the taxi queue. The taxi stand organizer is A-one ( the only bright part of this tale this side of the 13th parallel) and has C and the kids stand in his heated office while we wait for a vehicle large enough to accommodate our bags. It wasn’t a long wait. The taxi herder says to me: “heads-up… he’s gonna ding you for and extra $10 because you have an extra bag”. Nice of him to tell me and I’m too tired at this point to make a fuss.

Mini-van pulls up. Driver tosses and stuffs bags in. No words of friendly conversation. Arrive at our house around midnight and upon I handing over the fare, the driver grumbles: “that’s an extra $10 for the bags.” I say: “But, this is a van. There’s no biggy for you.”

He says : “Ten dollars.”

I downwardly adjust the tip accordingly. I take the bags out myself. Stack them at the end of the driveway while C gets the freezing kids into the house. Then I drag them up the drive and into the house myself. The cab clips one of the bags upon backing out of the driveway.

Welcome back to Ottawa.

Gotta love the customer service, eh? Pathetic. And this is the nation’s capital.

Tomorrow: Barbados buses versus OCTranspo.