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On the evening of June 6, 2021, a half-hour's bike ride from my house, a pickup truck wiped out four members of a family. A nine-year-old boy survived, injured and orphaned.

The twenty-year-old driver was charged with multiple counts of murder, several other offences and-- a week later-- terrorism. People have held memorials, just as the province lifts many of the COVID-related restrictions. The victims were all Muslims, Canadians of Pakistani descent. The local mosque became a centre for donations and demonstrations of grief and local solidarity.

Too cruel anywhere. Four innocents died. A child out for an evening stroll watched his family be torn away.

The horrific event happened on an unseasonably warm, summer-like evening. The sun had not yet set. People were about. What witnesses describe sounds disturbingly like someone deliberately driving a car at a high speed off the road and into a group of pedestrians. The driver then fled and pulled into a parking lot about ten minutes away. He told a cabbie to call the police, because he'd just killed someone.

According to two independent witnesses, he wore a bulletproof vest and some kind of military helmet. They report that he laughed inappropriately and may have been chanting something, though no one seems sure what.

The police arrested the driver without incident and made the surprising move of announcing, that same night, a motive. They say he targeted the family because they were visibly Muslim. They may well have good reasons for making this statement, but that evidence will not be heard until the trial. The alleged motive is horribly plausible. Is it correct? I have no idea. Investigations frequently get details wrong, at least initially. In the press and popular imagination, it has become the motive, and Muslims in Canada quite understandably have expressed alarm and concern over their own safety.

They have been joined by a chorus of voices. I attended the first public memorial, by bike (getting a car anywhere near the location would have proved impossible), later that week. I left when the crowd became too thick to maintain appropriate distance and still hear the speakers. My wife later left one of those memorial ribbons. It has become part of a sizable display of symbols conveying support and condolences. The occasion saw the city mayor, the provincial premiere, and the prime minister all in attendance. I laud their support of a community in mourning, people with minds reeling over so vile an event in a place we like to consider peaceable. I am less pleased with Justin Trudeau declaring the event an "act of terrorism." It may well be that, but the statement speaks to motive and, at present, we remain in the dark. The courts try the accused, not elected officials. That system exists for very good reasons.

We should of course support those in mourning. Considerable funds have been raised already for the surviving boy and for various charities, in the family's name. And we must confront hatred and bigotry, regardless of whether anyone has been murdered lately. But where we have a criminal act and charges before the court, we must assess the facts as we learn them.

It's not as though the accused is going anywhere right now.

He remains an enigma. Atypically for a millennial, he has left almost no digital trail, beyond the one recently created after the slaughter of a family. He had a now-deleted Facebook account with twelve friends. To date, no one has uncovered evidence that he visited the usual sites of which those who commit hate-crimes and mass killings seem so fond. He reportedly had violent outbursts as a teen, and a strained relationship with his family. He was not left alone with his siblings. However, no one yet has identified a past history of hatred towards any specific group. Colleagues at the egg-packing plant in nearby Strathroy, Ontario where he worked express shock, almost parodically evoking the stereotype, that he was such a quiet boy. A Muslim coworker specifically said that he experienced no past conflicts with the accused. His neighbours in the apartment complex have a different perception. They found him disruptively noisy, and say he played videogames loudly, late into the night.

A family has been slaughtered, a child recovers from his physical injuries, and a perhaps unknowable young man awaits trial.

Anything else we wait impatiently to uncover.

Requiescat in pace.

I used to write quite a bit, then I took a break, I tried writing in a notebook, and there were a lot of benefits to that, but it is no longer working for me, so I decided to try going back to something that has worked for me in the past. I left the job I have now, and I'm glad that I did. I came back, and I'm glad I was open to that as well. We have several new people at work, apart from myself, there's only one other non-management employee who has been there since 2020, turnover has been a huge problem, but I'm learning to be a fan of examining what is working rather than focusing on what isn't going well at any given moment. My youngest has a birthday this month, and I want to reach out to the people at work, and ask for some help. I've done this in the past, and most have said that they would, but it doesn't end up actually happening, and that's been frustrating. Part of it is I feel timid about asking. They are busy people, they have lives outside of work, and I know the last thing I want to do when I'm done for the day is more of what I've been doing for the majority of the day, however, I recently watched a great video where the speaker emphasized the importance of teams spending time together, and that helped me in several ways.

Nobody owes me anything at work, and even if they all reject my request, I feel it is important for me to ask for what I need, and want. I tend to enjoy helping other people, I've seen what happens when people allow pride to consume them, and I don't want to be as stubborn as I have in the past. Saturday morning I started defrosting my fridge. One of my bright ideas was to remove my ice maker, one of the fantasy baseball guys who is a former electrician asked what I was trying to do, convinced me to undo what I had just done, and I had a really tough morning when I realized I couldn't get the pieces I had removed back together again. I see this quite a bit at work, people think they can do things, and it is much harder to go behind someone who has messed something up than it is to try and solve a problem from scratch so to speak. Perhaps at some point in time I will put together something on whether it is a better strategy to try and do something yourself, or leave it to the experts, and professionals, but the truth is, there is a lot of gray area there, and a lot of factors come into play. The biggest danger is not knowing what you don't know, in my case, what if my ice maker had also contained cooling elements, and removing it had caused major issues with my fridge?

What I tell customers is to go through their place, write down absolutely everything they want done, no matter how far fetched, or out of reach, it may seem, go through that list, prioritize things, check in with their bugdet, and then we can work together to get the most value out of their investment. The technicians we have at work are terrific. I have no trouble selling them, their work ethic, the quality we are able to provide, their personalities, energy, enthusiasm, I know who they are as employees, and I believe in, respect, and trust them. I feel as if one of our great team strengths is our spirit of cooperation, people are competitive, but it tends to be internal, they're competing against who they were yesterday, a month ago, etc..., I don't always love my job, but I'm quite good at it, and not always in ways I can define. Yesterday I pulled jobs off of two technicians for no real reason other than I felt like it, this was not sheer whimsy, call it intuition, a hunch, a gut feeling, instinct, whatever. I felt like it was crappy of management to go on vacation while the rest of us were stuck working, so my plan was to try and give people an early day if that ended up being possible.

Last Friday I had assigned an exterior door job to someone who called and said he didn't have the tools he needed to complete it. While we were discussing him running to the store to get whatever he thought would get the job done, I reached out to two other techs to see if I could get one of them over there, and again, I can't really say why I did this other than the first guy was making me nervous. The first guy is very bright, but intellectual know how is not the same as hands on experience, and I felt like I was playing with fire since one of the men has only been with us for a week, but he was much closer to the job site than my other option, I worked with someone who has a similar personality, and skill set, and I had recently had a conversation with him about pushing people to the point of failure as the most effective way to find out where the limits, and boundaries might be. Friday afternoon things were going well, and I was glad I had made the choice to call in a second technician rather than walking away from the job which had been my first inclination. That evaporated in a hurry Monday morning when I realized we had a situation on our hands, and I'm not familiar enough with the more famous quote to recite it here, but many would recognize the paraphrase if I chose to include it.

I dreaded making those calls, and I gave myself some time to gather my composure, it's one thing to deal with an angry customer, and a lot more difficult from my point of view to have to discuss where we may have failed as a team. Fortunately the first person I spoke with gave me information and confidence I hadn't had before, which made reaching out to the second person much easier. I still love personality theory, I think the first person is an ISTP, and I'm almost positive that the second is an ISFP. They seemed to get along, and work well together on Friday, and I was really happy about that. The second guy was hesitant to throw anyone under the bus, he said he didn't want to complain, and I made the distinction between sharing information regarding craftsmanship that failed minimum standards, and true whining, or complaining. I don't remember what I said exactly, something about people fucking up shit, he kind of laughed at that, and then he was more candid about what he was observing now that he was back at the jobsite. At the end of the call I asked how he felt about things, and he said he felt good about it. I agreed, and I said I wasn't mad, or upset, we did the best that we could with a situation that we should have walked away from initially, and I was proud of how we handled that as a team, and as individuals.

Sometimes I ask people what is holding them back. I traded in my car for a Honda Accord. I needed pistons and rings, and perhaps I should have requested goodwill from the company, but I didn't, so I lost a vehicle I loved. Letting go was one of the hardest things I have ever done, the machine aside, it was the final connection I had to the people who worked there. I haven't been back since, I want to go, but I can't bring myself to, and I'm really struggling with this for some reason. Walking through those doors should not be this big of a deal. I have my own private art gallery there, and maybe the people who hung up pieces I did are just being nice, but it's still meaningful to me. There's a member of management who does not care for me, but why should I let one person's negativity keep me away from people that I still love and care about? I tried setting one of the guys up with a woman I used to work with, it did not end well, that's a pretty major understatement, and I expected a different response from the one I received when I went to apologize to him. It's a couple of things. I feel, it's hard to go back and see what I lost. To be able to walk through that showroom, into the shop, through the parts department, I don't want to go there, and burst into tears, but even if I did, the majority of them have seen me in that state before, and there are times when I wonder if tears have been shed by people other than me, because some of us were very close.

It would be nice to show them that I have changed, and one of the very positive things that came out of trying to set up two people was my former fellow employee getting me back into the gym habit. I have since quit the one I initially joined, and I have some mixed feelings about that, but I went to another one, and I need to get some closed toe shoes that would be suitable for going there, they have that policy which I understand on one level, and disagree with on another. There are fees associated with the membership, but going there is a healthier habit than shopping, or some of the other things I would be doing with my time otherwise. One of the new guys is a runner, I don't know how health conscious he is in other areas of his life, but a friend of mine was recently told she has cancerous spots on her liver, and that helped me evaluate some of my habits and behaviors. Another close friend of mine ended a relationship with the woman he was going to marry, we've been getting together to walk, and that's been great for both of us. Sunday afternoon I stopped at his place, and we didn't walk. That was really nice, just sitting there, having someone to talk to, not really doing much of anything other than enjoying a good conversation with an old friend.

Several months ago I stopped talking to a guy who said he wanted to go out with me, but never made any effort to meet in person. I don't want to go out with him anymore, but I did feel bad about the way I had treated him so I reached out, and now I'm wondering if that was the right thing to have done. I am glad that I apologized, he was super classy about it, and I appreciate that, but now I don't know what to do with him since I don't have those types of feelings for him anymore, and he's good at leading conversations down the path of increasing intimacy. Maybe I don't need to do anything, it feels awkward, and I don't want to give him the impression that I am leading him on at all, I told him that maybe we couldn't go out, but we could be friends, and he told me that we can always be friends, but are we really friends if he wants something more than I do? I don't know. Another thing I would like to do is introduce a guy I used to work with to someone I work with now, I'm slightly nervous about this, I don't really know the new guy well, and I used to think that I knew the other guy better than I do, but more recent events have led me to believe that I never really knew him at all. There doesn't seem to be a downside here, so maybe I will just be brave, and broach the subject when an opportunity arises.

Today I feel like I could write forever, I'm so happy I decided to give my notebook a rest, the poor thing really needed it.

tl;dr; a lot has changed, and I'm more optimistic than I've ever been.

All my best,

Jess

 

  1. When I first met him, he reminded
  2. me of someone I hadn't seen in a 
  3. while, a former chiropractor of mine,
  4. then I got to know him a bit better,
  5. and I found out that my first impression
  6. hadn't been accurate, or, it was, only 
  7. I had the comparison wrong. Other
  8. people have said he's hard to read,
  9. maybe they haven't been to
  10. the same library I have...

 

Xoxo,

j

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