Sunday, May 08, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Crazy, Crazy People 

From stupid people in the last post, to crazy people in this one. What is the world coming to?

Yesterday was my first Saturday all to myself without having to miss work/have a midterm/exam/essay to tackle/be sick. Jim and I had an amazing day which included breakfast on Granville Island, an hour-long walk along the sea wall and shopping for Jim's birthday presents (May 15th is the big day).

We ended the day at The Real Canadian Superstore because we needed to pick up a few things for dinner. Our plan for the evening was to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on CBC (with never before seen scenes and a first look at the Goblet of Fire movie) while eating a dinner of leftovers and potato salad. I make an awesome potato salad, see below for recipe.

A little background on Superstore is probably in order, just so that the following incidents have more context. Now Superstore is probably the best place to get value for your money. Due to the fact that everything is relatively cheaper at Superstore, you get the entire third world shopping there, and it certainly looks like it. The staff do not face/restock the shelves from the moment it opens to the time it closes. This means that by the time the day is halfway through some shelves are empty, most everything is misshelved, broken/open items are left in the aisles and the bulk items have been fondled by snotty-hand kids. The produce department is certainly deplorable, I doubt they employ the "first in first out" rule, or if they do, they don't get regular shipments of fresh produce. On Sundays, you'd be lucky if you can find milk/eggs. I still shop there though, because my bill is 10-20% smaller than if I shopped anywhere else. Besides, once you get used to those shopping conditions, it really isn't so bad.

The worst part about Superstore though, is undoubtedly the parking lot. It seems like this is where people whose previous experience with driving consists solely of fairground bumper cars come to learn to drive. With prices so low, you can probably appreciate the congestion in the parking lot. The parking lot itself is excessively spacious, but as things go, people jostle about the section that is closest to the doors, preferring to wait in the lanes for a space to open up than to have to lug their eventual purchases half a block further. It is prudent to drive at 1-5kmph when navigating the parking lot so to be able to react to people who back out of stalls without looking first, people who ignore posted stop signs and people who think that 40-50kmph is an appropriate speed at which to peruse the parking lot. Perhaps all this bad driving is just a result of a frustrating shopping experience and the knowledge that your budget will not stretch far enough for you to shop at a more civilized place. Either way, it's not a nice place to be.

Of course there is the inevitable accident. Which brings me to the inspiration for the title of this post. Jim and I didn't actually witness the accident but half of Western Canada was certainly privvy to the aftermath. There was this muscle-bound, tall black guy (the victim of the accident) yelling into his cellphone for this small, old Chinese guy's (the guy who ran the stop sign and consequently ran into this black guy) address, occupation, number of family members (I am not joking). Now I can appreciate being very pissed off at someone running stop sign and hitting me. But the verbal abuse and threats did not end there. He continued to harass the old guy, addressing him with excessive rudeness, treating him like a dog that had rolled in something nasty. This is a good time to note that neither car showed more damage than a few paint scratches.

Jim decided to stop and make sure that this was not going to end in the Chinese guy becoming a bloody pulp. I was petitioning for us to keep our heads down lest we become a bloody pulp. Nevertheless, we called the police and notified them of the situation. Once the black guy calmed down, Jim stepped out of the car (I protested that move too) and conveyed sympathy to the black guy, noting that I too was a victim of bad driving. This helped center the guy, I think. I offered my translation services, but they were not needed. The Chinese guy could certainly speak English, he was just choosing to respond to the shouts with silence, which gave the black guy the impression that he did not understand English.

The Chinese guy demonstrated his proficiency in English when he called 911, requesting first aid and the police. Apparently, the second he was approached by the black guy after the bumping he received a punch in the mouth through his rolled-down window. That was the only time he was hit though, and to be fair to the black guy once he regained control of his emotions he agreed to stay around to allow the police to press charges for his actions. Still though, I can understand all this anger and fuss if this were an accident on a highway, or if the black guy had his daughter in the car. In fact, the black guy did mention to the Chinese guy that had his daughter been in the car, our presence would not have prevented him from turning the little old man into a bloody pulp. I wonder, had Jim and I not stopped, what exactly was he going to do?

I don't have the ending to this saga, we left as the paramedics arrived to look at the Chinese guy's swollen mouth. I still feel some sympathy for the victim of the accident, seeing as how he was due to pick his mother up from work, and how he himself had work in a couple of hours. To tell you the truth though, I don't ever think there is an excuse to treat another human being like that just because of a couple of scratches on the side of your car.

Potato Salad
5-6 small-medium red potatoes
3-4 med-large eggs
1-2 cups peas (frozen)
1 med-large red onion
salt & pepper

1. Put the peas (still frozen) into the bowl you are going to serve the salad in. Hard boil the eggs. Shell and slice the still warm eggs and place them on the peas.
2. Boil the potatoes in salted water. You can either boil them whole or cut them up first, depending on the amount of attention you are willing to devote to the pot. While the potatoes are on the boil, finely chop the red onion and add them to the serving bowl.
3. Cut the potatoes up if you haven't yet and toss them in the serving bowl. The heat from the eggs and the potatoes should be sufficient to warm up the peas. Potato salad is supposed to be served cold anyway and if you don't defrost the peas, you cut down on fridge time. (In fact, smaller preparations of potato salad done this way requires no fridge time)
4. To taste, add mayo, dill and salt and pepper. If still slightly warm, refridgerate until cool.
5. Eat and refuse to share it with people who are not nice to you.

posted by Joie! at 9:50 a.m.


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