Tag Archives: respect

Est-ce qu’on peut s’habituer au “vous”?

50Salut tout le monde! Désolé si je n’écris pas plus souvent en français, mais j’avoue qu’en expression écrite, les mots me viennent plus facilement en anglais.

Cette fois, il me fallait absolument composer ce blogue en français parce que le sujet en question n’est pas commun au niveau de la langue anglaise. C’est la question de s’habituer à se faire appeler « vous ».

La première fois dont je me souviens m’être fait appeler « vous » c’était lors de mon premier vol Air Canada de Ottawa à Rouyn-Noranda en 1972. Une agente de bord bien charmante m’avait demandé ce que « vous voulez pour boire ». Quel honneur!

Franchement, il est bien possible m’avoir fait vouvoyer avant, mais c’était cette expérience très chic, sur un avion, qui a sans doute amplifié l’expérience et le souvenir pour un p’tit garçon de 7 ans comme moi. Ça m’avait vraiment chatouillé et marqué.

Au fil des années, on m’appelait « vous » de temps en temps, surtout dans le domaine du service à la clientèle. C’était bien respectueux. Ça faisait chaud au cœur. Le fait que c’était seulement à l’occasion le rendait encore plus spécial.

Mais dernièrement, « à l’occasion » est devenu une mensualité, qui est ensuite devenu hebdomadaire, et hélas, depuis que j’ai acquis mes 50 ans, ça fait presque partie de mon quotidien. Continue reading

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Am I a Hoarder If I Still Have a Trophy From 1979?

TrophiesAs I mentally prepare for this year’s round of spring cleaning, I already dread opening that same box I open every year: the box of trophies and awards. Every year I am stumped with the same questions: keep them, toss them, donate them or repurpose them?

… And then they go back into the box as I defer the decision to the next year, and the next one, and the next one.

What makes the decision so difficult is that behind every trophy is a great deal of hard work, dedication, discipline, and blood, sweat and tears on my part. Of course the latter are just metaphorically speaking; Grade 8 in suburbia was far from “The Hunger Games”.

At the same time, behind every trophy is a judge or a panel of judges, who took time out of their busy schedules to consider my work and to so generously bestow this symbol of recognition.

To me, the trophy represents an act of extreme kindness and generosity, which still humbles me today, still elicits a great deal of gratitude and frankly, “guilts” me into hanging on to this symbol.

And then I consider the possibility that there may be a colleague who worked harder than I did, yet did not receive recognition for their accomplishment. They could possibly be thinking that I am an ungrateful brat for even considering tossing a trophy I received …37 years ago.

But the big question is this: at the time of the recognition, did the judge or panel of judges truly expect me to hang on to the trophy until I am pushing daisies? Continue reading

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Filed under Humour, Misc blogs, Running

My Grown-Up Christmas List

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAs we get into the home stretch for holiday and Christmas preparations, one cannot help but notice the Christmas music playing in shopping malls, in stores, on the radio and in every television commercial. One in particular that I have been really enjoying is “My Grown-Up Christmas List”. Composed in 1990 by David Foster and Linda Thompson, the tune is a timely reminder that Christmas is not just about consumerism but it is about kindness, good will, respect and generosity of spirit. Check out the lyrics, it really is a pretty song!

However, on a much less serious note, I find myself reinterpreting the song, time and time again, thinking how life would be so perfect if life’s minor annoyances were eradicated. This my friends, is my grown up Christmas list:

-Perforated products such as paper towels and toilet paper that will actually tear off on the provided perforations.

-For tissues to not explode in the washing machine.

-For the safe return of socks that have gone missing from the laundry.

-For TV networks to not conspire and load up Sunday evenings with some of the week’s best television shows and create a scheduling nightmare for my PVR.

-Football games that run long and exacerbate the problem of recording the multitude of programs I need to record on Sunday evenings.

-Cling wrap that actually clings to what you want it to cling to, not everything else… including itself. Continue reading

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Elderly Is In the Eye of the Beholder

ElderlySignA few weeks ago, I was listening to the 6:00 news when my ears pricked up on a story about an “elderly” woman who was in a serious car accident. The report went on to talk about “the 72-year-old woman”. My first reaction of course was compassion and sympathy for the poor lady and her family, but my second reaction was: “Hold the presses! Since when is 72 elderly?”

I would not be a gentleman if I openly divulged my mother’s age to explain why this resonated so strongly, but let’s just say, I’m 50… you can do the math.

When Mom and I chatted that evening, she started talking about a news item that hit close to home and I completed her sentence with, “…about the ‘elderly’ 72 year old?” She said yes.

Later that evening, I wondered why that choice of words in particular elicited a reaction from both of us. I checked a few online dictionaries for a textbook definition of elderly and to my surprise, the consensus seems to read that it is the time after middle age but without any further elaboration.

This came as a relief because most of the septuagenarians I know are looking pretty darn chipper, enjoying a great quality of life and living longer, healthier lives.

I was also reassured that it was not just us who had an inkling that the word elderly seemed a tad inappropriate when I read a great NPR article by Linton Weeks called “An Age-Old Problem: ‘Who Is Elderly’?”

Mr. Weeks traces back the roots of the word to the 10th century, as suggested by the Oxford English Dictionary and defined as ‘in a wider sense, a predecessor, one who lived in former days’.” For centuries, the term elder commanded respect and reverence for their knowledge and wisdom.

But I think Mr. Weeks hits the nail on the head Continue reading

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In Honour of Grandparents’ Day

Even though my four grandparents are no longer with us, there is no shortage of triggers that keep their spirit alive through a flood of great memories. Those reminders seem to present themselves daily, whether in the way I cough that sounds like my paternal grandfather or in the way I blow my nose that reminds me of my maternal grandfather. More recently, there is also a certain way that my cat Ivy replies to a question, in a very soft meow, which sounds just like my maternal grandmother’s inflection.

In those moments, I really miss them.

Even though specific childhood memories with my grandparents get a little foggier over time, they remain fond ones. In particular, when my parents wanted a bit of grown-up time whether for a day of skiing or a weekend getaway, I would get dropped off at my maternal grandparents’ house where music, laughs and good times were in limitless supply. Having been the only grandchild on that branch of the family tree for a good 16 years, there was lots of play time, talk time and time to share with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family. As much as they say it takes a village to raise a child, I could not have asked for better.

I will be forever grateful to my grandmother who always seemed to be happy to have me over, even if it meant getting out of bed early to greet me at the door in her nightgown and robe on a cold Sunday morning. I fondly remember precious chats with her over hot chocolate, while the rest of the family slept in, then getting whisked off to church for the 10:00 service. I admit I was a pretty quiet little kid when it came to church, but my worst sin was letting my wet winter boots drip on the kneeling bench and my grandmother magically pulling out of her purse tissue after tissue, like a magician, to mop up my mess. Yet I still remember getting rewarded with a Caramilk bar at the candy store on the way home, for being good.

My paternal grandparents lived several hour away, so our relationship was based on annual visits and long distance calls. It is sad we did not have more contact, but we made it work. I remember my grandfather as a strong, proud, dignified man and my grandmother as having the biggest heart in the world, and missing me terribly due to distance between us, often smothering me with kisses throughout our visits. Continue reading

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Filed under Inspiring, Misc blogs

A Little Less Conversation

When it comes to watching television, one of the types of programming I enjoy the most is larger-than-life international events and specials. Because I do not have a limitless supply of vacation days nor do I have the money to be on the road to attend all of the events, TV can be the next best thing to being there.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics are a classic example of an iconic program that typically has me glued to the set, experiencing the sights, the sounds, the brilliant talent, the drama and the beauty of an international scale event where the participants come together as one. Add the fact that you can also see the faces of the participants beaming with high hopes and joie de vivre of the moment, it really is a joy to behold and source of incredible inspiration.

To me, where the joy of the experience sometimes goes south, is when the TV announcers talk throughout the show. I am not referring to a comment here and there, or even the goal of making programming accessible to people with visual impairments, but rather announcers who talk.. and talk… and talk. Don’t get me wrong, I think the announcers do a formidable job in keeping viewers on top of the action, but there is a tipping point where “announcing” crosses over from informative to a point of diminishing returns.

Where I think the industry seems to have lost its way is in a bit of mandate creep. Television coverage seems to have gone from announcing, to commenting, to explaining, to filling in any dead air with personal observations, to the point that viewers are now missing the true audio portion of the event: the cheering, the great music and the overall energy of the experience. The feast for the senses is now reduced to a light lunch drowned out by bad conversation.

In particular, what I do not seem able to grasp is the sudden and compelling need to explain all of the symbolic elements during the show, and not just in broad strokes but going into intricate detail about each and every one of them. Continue reading

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Filed under Misc blogs, TV

The Road Referee

Share The Road signIn my post, “10 Things I Will Miss About the Bus”, I explained that after 35 years, I was no longer taking the bus to work, due to a relocation of my office that made the bus commute impractical and a very long journey.

Believe it or not, after 35 years of taking the bus, there was some uncertainty as to whether I would be fine with driving. I was so used to getting on the bus, getting into the cone of silence of noise-cancelling headphones, and zoning out either by reading, catching up on social media, writing a few passages for the next blog, or just dozing off. Clearly, one cannot do that behind the wheel.

But in addition, I wondered if I had what enough of the prerequisite it took to become a daily driver: patience.

Initially, one might think that it is an easy transition and a no-brainer to go from busing to driving, but the prospect of driving was met with some trepidation especially with winter just around the corner. Would my patience hold up, day in and day out, in bumper-to-bumper traffic?

The answer surprised me. Not only did my patience hold up, frankly I mellowed out to a degree I would never have imagined.

It is not that I was a hothead or aggressive by any stretch of the imagination. It was just that even as a weekend driver, I did have a tendency of getting a little irritated from time to time navigating around the extremes of driving, as much from the bullies as from the very timid, finding myself caught somewhere in the middle.

Since the transition to the daily drive, I have witnessed more bad driving than I could ever imagine. On a weekly basis, I see people looking at their phones, eating complete breakfasts, applying make-up, or seemingly spring cleaning their vehicle.

While I think it is a lot to expect that everyone would be textbook-perfect drivers according to the driver’s handbook we all studied in high school, the challenge is navigating the creative variations people develop and their interpretation of the rules of the road.

In facing this reality day in and day out, I find myself playing referee between the extremes. Continue reading

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