Archive for June, 2011
Keeping a perspective while being angry and frustrated is a struggle regardless of age.
This past weekend I was perusing Facebook when I stumbled upon a note written by a young man from my Church. It was a measured and sensible piece about his reaction to the Stanley Cup riot and the people responsible for it. He brought up the aspect of forgiveness which has been ignored by a lot us who have been, to various degrees, condemning the rioters. Numerous stories on the fallout have since surfaced and now the challenge is whether our society will forgive and, more importantly, whether the rioters can, and truly will, learn from this experience. Strangely, Pie Pie Lo and I are now faced with a similar decision.
Our home is situated next to a predominately-rental apartment complex. Due to the transient nature of the tenants, “you never know what you gonna get” as a wise man once quipped while describing a box of chocolate. Unfortunately in our case we are stuck with an undesirable lot for now. A group of young people in their 20′s moved into a 3rd floor unit directly across from our studies – the west side of our unit – about a year ago. No different from a lot of their peers, they do enjoy their drinking and partying very much. During the warmer months their balcony would become gossip central, sometimes late into the night – 3 am in one instant as we struggled to get some rest. That being said, we’ve managed to acquire the ability to deal with unwelcomed noise ever since we’ve moved into our home – A lady living in the unit north of us likes to sing the same karaoke song repeatedly every night. But nothing prepared us for what happened later.
About nine months ago we noticed a couple of empty milk cartons lying outside our driveway. Pie Pie and I didn’t think too much of it but then one late Saturday night I was reading in the studies with my blinds down, window partly open when suddenly I heard a couple of loud BANGS and some giggling from the unit across. Those people had put fire crackers in the milk cartons and threw them over towards our driveway for kicks and a laugh. Since then the tossing of items have persisted on a fairly regular basis. From empty milk cartons, juice cartons & pop cans, from oranges, food scraps & turkey carcass, from empty beer keg, protein shake tubs filled with water to 4 litre milk jugs with milk still inside, the trash have gotten bigger, heavier and “sturdier”. The stuff is usually there in the morning when we head out to work but now we’re starting to see them when we come home from work. Try as I might, I could never catch those people right in the act with my own eyes but based on the noise coming out of their unit every time something landed on our driveway, I’ve a good idea that they are responsible. Sadly our strata council and the RCMP – we filed a case with them – couldn’t do anything tangible to stop them.
Words cannot describe how livid and upset I was when I heard the sound of the latest piece of garbage landing on my driveway yesterday just before dinner. I was seething as I cleaned up the mess while all these scenarios of “payback” flashed through my mind. Some were plausible while others were down right ridiculous. (Fire bomb anyone?) But the worst part was that hopeless feeling knowing we’ll have to endure this nonsense without any form of resolution until such time when these people move out of the unit. It also angers me to think that they will never realize how annoying their actions have been.
I was angry with rioters last Wednesday.
I’ve been angry with these people across my unit for nine months and I find it very difficult to extend any degree of grace and forgiveness towards them.
Perhaps this whole garbage ordeal is a reason why I’ve gotten grumpier in recent days. Think I’ve tapped into the fiery temper – of my late mother – that’s been dormant inside of me.
The challenge now is to remain calm and patient and hope that, some how some way, the garbage will stop landing on our driveway. Otherwise I may yet have to call Wile E Coyote for Acme Company’s phone number.
The morning after the riot I took a different route to work and drove through the stretch of Georgia Street where most of the damage was done. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean it was given the circumstances. In retrospect I wished I had gotten out of my car for a moment because the true spirit of Vancouver was at work then. Many people from different walks of life, young and old, all gathered to help with the clean up efforts because they genuinely love and care about this beautiful city they called home. It was a simple yet powerful message of unity.
“Saw a young dad holding hands with his young son, both dirty from cleaning. I cried.”
@Kardboard via Twitter
I spent some time today at “The Great Wall of Vancouver” outside The Bay downtown reading the messages left by Vancouverites. The words were poignant, emotional and I couldn’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed and contemplative afterwards.
P.S. An image that’s stuck in my head: A lady in a wheelchair outside The Bay writing positive messages on the pavement with a piece of chalk.
Unless you were in a cave at the time, I’m sure you know what happened by now. It was a mind numbing night on so many different levels.
From the game itself to the Stanley Cup trophy presentation which, for reasons unknown, I decided to watch in its entirety; the live shot of the first car burning outside Canada Post; a dejected couple in Canuck jerseys, holding hands with their heads down, walking quietly down my street as I drove off to pick up a late dinner; a small group of vocal fans leaving the Brighouse Canada Line station yelling “Eff Boston!”; the steady stream of riot pictures being posted on Twitter and shown through live TV coverage. Suffice to say it will take me some time to process all these disappointing and disturbing images.
I honestly thought it would end differently than 94. Sadly it wasn’t the case and a small group of masked, organized vandals and anarchists seized the moment and incited a young, anger-filled crowd to unleash a shameful act of destruction and looting in the downtown core. It was obvious most of these gutless punks who rioted were too young to remember the Robson street riot 17 years ago. What I don’t understand is where the venom came from. They were out of control and had no regard for the authorities.
Like all decent, law-abiding Vancouverites, I was deeply angered, embarrassed and ashamed by the stupidity of the few. (Btw, please have a look at this passionate plead from a friend of mine. I think he spoke for a lot of us.) Not only were our lives disrupted and threatened, our reputation as a city and the goodwill created during the 2010 Olympics had gone up in smoke, literally and figuratively.
And it sickens me when one of these idiots – who detailed his actions on Facebook but had his comments screen-captured and posted on the internet – opened a Twitter account today talking trash, boasting his exploits and showing no remorse. I sincerely hope the authority will (please excuse the language) nail his ass for what he has done.
I hope Vancouver will learn and, more importantly, remember this riot. We cannot let this happen again.