A Potentially Explosive Incident

, , , , , , | Legal | September 16, 2018

(My husband and I are keen novice birdwatchers. It is spring, and one Sunday we are driving from pond to pond in a quiet rural area, looking at ducks from the roadside. We finish up for the day and start to head home. After a few minutes of driving, we come to a bunch of odd-looking trash scattered across the gravel road. We quickly stop, but not before driving over some of the debris and a certain distance beyond. It seems to be a good number of white, sausage-like objects. Curious, we use our binoculars to get a better look. A cardboard box in the ditch has a brand name and slogan on it that make us think this just might be a bunch of explosives! Since we have been counting ducks all day — and this is far more interesting than ducks — we carefully count how many sausages we see, and make a note of the number along with our bird-watching notes. Since we have no cell phone, we go to a nearby farmhouse and explain the situation. The farmer agrees to call the RCMP and tell them about this, and we head for home. The next morning, my husband phones the RCMP, as he has a question about the incident.)

Husband: “Hi, I’m the guy that found those explosives yesterday.”

RCMP: “What explosives?”

Husband: “The ones by the road in [Rural Area]?”

(After some initial skepticism and confusion, the RCMP finds the likely source of the explosives, a local supplier that sells that brand. There was only one weekend shipment, but we were nowhere near where it was supposed to go. The explosives are recovered from the roadside… but only half the amount that we noted seeing. The missing explosives are found on the property of the farmer we spoke to, and on the property of one of his friends. After a long day spent talking on the phone with the RCMP, my husband finally decides to call the explosives company with his question:)

Husband: “So, about those explosives. I’m just wondering, because I think I might have driven over some of them… Modern explosives are pretty safe, right?”

Explosives Manager: “Well, yeah, they’re pretty safe, but I wouldn’t want to drive over them!”

(The crew driving the explosives truck was fired that morning, and the explosives company was later hit with a hefty fine.)

Giving You A Bridge To Cross

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 2, 2018

Almost exactly ten years ago, when I was a University student, I struggled badly with depression. It reached its worst when, over the course of about a month, I started to struggle with my course, began having financial difficulties and housing issues, and found out that my girlfriend had been cheating on me for months. It got bad enough that I tried to take my own life.

One night I walked to the edge of town where there was a bridge that crossed over a railway line. I sat down on the edge of the bridge with the intention of jumping in front of the next train that passed underneath me.

Some time after I got there, I saw a man approaching where I was sitting. He very calmly sat down next to me on the edge of the bridge and all he said to me was, “If you want to talk, I’ll be here all night.”

True to his word, he was there all night. I think it must have been somewhere around three or four hours before I could bring myself to say anything, and as soon as I started talking I absolutely broke down, crying so hard that I could hardly breathe, almost unable to get any words out at all, but this man kept sitting there, not pressuring me into talking, not trying to make me move away from the edge, just being there so I didn’t feel alone.

After a while of this, I remember him speaking up again, although I have no recollection of what he said. What I do remember is getting up and walking away from the edge of the bridge, and this man draping his coat over my shoulders and waiting there with me for an ambulance to arrive to take me to hospital. The last thing I remember is him giving me a hug and saying something like, “I hope things get better for you from here,” and that was that; I got in the ambulance and he went on his way.

Ten years later, I’ve gone on to finish my degree, travel the world, meet the love of my life, and get married, Now I have my first child on the way. I have never forgotten what that man did for me. He saw a stranger in need, and when he could so easily have walked on and ignored it, he chose to give up an entire night of his life to give what support and comfort he could, and if it wasn’t for his actions I wouldn’t be here today.

I never saw him again after that, but I still have his coat. It hangs at the front of my wardrobe, and every single day I see it and it reminds me that there are some truly good people in this world.

Love-Sick As A Parrot

, , , , , , , | Romantic | September 1, 2018

I come to Canada with my grandmother so she can meet my boyfriend. She and I are going to meet him for lunch, and we have a bit of time to spare, so she and I figure we’ll go to a nearby butterfly garden. This garden is also home to some parrots, which is my main interest in going, as I’m fascinated with birds of all sorts. I am taking pictures of a beautiful parrot when all of a sudden he flies at me. He lands on my arm and begins walking all over me, and, again, being an avid birder, I am quite excited. Little children come up to pet him while he is on my arm, also full of excitement.

Then, things become a little awkward.

The bird starts getting all sorts of frisky with my hand. A little girl tries to get him to move to her arm, which, thank goodness, he refuses, but he keeps going at my hand. By the time he finally flies away, I have a small crowd of kids surrounding me and the bird, petting him while he does unspeakable things, and I do my best to downplay what is happening.

When I tell my boyfriend about it later, we have quite a good laugh!

Getting To The Meat Of This Homeless Issue

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 26, 2018

Until I met my husband — a much more jaded person than I — my attitude when encountering a street person begging was: If they need it so much they’re begging for it, then they’re in a worse position than I am, and I’ll give it to them. I don’t care if it makes me a sucker, and I don’t care what they use it for.

I will never forget one birthday with him. At my request we went to a vegan restaurant in Portland, Oregon, where I was prepared to be dazzled by the food. I am a vegetarian; he is not.

It turned out to be not all that. The food was really greasy, and I couldn’t understand why it was so freaking popular, but we boxed up the expensive leftovers to go and headed back home.

We knew there would be a lot of street people on our way home, and hatched a plan to give the leftovers away, hopefully to salvage what was left of my birthday by doing something good, at least. But we didn’t see anybody begging for food in Oregon, and when we crossed over the border back to Washington, we were keeping a watchful eye out.

Finally, on one street corner, there was an apparently homeless teenager looking for handouts. We approached him and offered him the leftovers. He looked a bit wary and sad when he said, “I’m a vegetarian.” (For anyone who’s not a vegetarian, that may sound petty; like, “Well, if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it!” But as a nearly lifelong vegetarian myself, I can tell you: No, we won’t.)

I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard that. I told him, “It’s from [Restaurant]. It’s vegan!” I felt like the Universe had ordained this entire incident, and in our rear-view mirror we could see him eating out of the box as he walked away.

Painting A Pretty Stupid Picture Of Yourself

, , , , , | Right | August 20, 2018

(I am repainting some of the public benches for the city when a woman sits on the bench I’m painting.)

Woman: “Oh, my God! You got paint all over my clothes!”

Me: “Well, you just sat on wet paint, so…”

Woman: “How was I supposed to know the paint was wet?”

(I look down at the paintbrush in my hand, and at the company name — which includes “painter” — clearly written on my uniform.)

Me: “Most people can tell.”

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