The Twilight of Personal Responsibility

It is going to be a hot day today so I went for a longer wheel mid morning. I wanted to get my exercise out of the way before it got to hot. Well worth it since it was cool enough to enjoy and enough sun to keep the summer vitamin D up. Also decided to do a different route to see new territory around the Beltline. I have to weigh out my wheeling options based on the amount of street repairs the City is doing. Nothing like wheeling around a block just to discover the sidewalk has been closed due to maintenance.

Planning those things is something I am use to. Growing up with a disability you understand the need to be adaptive while also accepting the responsibility that goes along with that. I was taught (as was most of my generation) to be self responsible. I think anybody that grew up as a baby-boomer learnt about self responsibility. Our parents were survivors of the Great Depression and WW2 so they were conditioning us to be responsible. We were the backbone of the Charter of Rights. What changed?

Somewhere in the 80’s life became about an entitlement and a “what’s in it for me” generation. We are now living with the results of that thought process. I couldn’t help noticing the aroma of decay in the air as I wheeled around the community. Infrastructure, being ignored in 90% of the area, was being attended to by a City employees (and honestly people City workers are rare) so I had to adjust my pathway. All of these City staff you think are there, are not.

I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday whose daughter works in City Hall. She now spends one day a week in her office and the rest of the week working from home. Prior to the pandemic there were 700 employees in her department and now, when she goes to the office there may be two there. The City is actually trying to get out of their lease for that building. Nothing against her, she’s a hard worker, but ALL of these “civil servants” you think are there, aren’t.

Anyway in my wheel, as I said, I could almost smell the lethargy decay in the air. This is no longer the City I grew up in but, to me, it is still the best place to be, for now. I am concerned that Danielle Smith pushing her “Sovereignty Act” agenda is just setting Alberta up for a costly (to the tax payer) Constitutional challenge with the federal government. It is not surprising but very disappointing in how little the voters understand how real democracy works in Canada.

Meanwhile, wheeling around the community leaves me feeling like I am in a City waiting to die. I captured those feelings in a poem I wrote many years ago when I first started using my words to dig out feelings. This seems like another good time to resurrect it. When you wheel through “almost any park” in this area you see the desperation in the eyes of the homeless and the fear in the eyes of the citizen. And it’s only 11AM.

The A, B, C of Life

Abandoned by friends,
Abandoned by wife,
Abandoned by children,
Abandoned by life.

Betrayed by his feelings,
Betrayed by his drive,
Betrayed by his body,
Betrayed can’t survive.

Captured by torture,
Captured by loss,
Captured by drugs,
Captured by sauce.

Destroyed by his blindness,
Destroyed by his lust,
Destroyed by his ignorance,
Destroyed he is dust.

Ended by sorrow,
Ended by grief,
Ended by loneliness,
Ended life brief.

Terry Wiens – 2008

Tomorrow I will be positive…


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