Catching up with my Train of Thoughts


May 2015

A Short Story – a bright moment of passing buses

Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about a very small moment, a moment that might easily pass by many of us, but something that I found to brighten my day, even by a little bit. 

It was a hot day, as it always was it Montreal during the summer. I had finished shopping at had gotten on board the bus, listening to Rachel Platten’s Fight Song. The trip on the bus was always long, so listening to music seemed like a good way to past the time faster. 

Then, as I started to look out the window, a school bus rolled beside the bus I was in. It wasn’t the full length, but rather the shorter version, consisting of only 10 rows instead of the 20 or so in the full one. At first glance, it looked empty, but then I saw two small heads at the back row. 

They looked to be coming from elementary school. One was dark skinned, but had her hair braided into pigtails while the boy sitting next to her was pale, almost white in skin, said something while adjusting his glasses. 

Curious, we kind of stared at each other for a while. I waved to say hello and the two waved back. I wondered what they were saying since the windows in their bus were closed and I couldn’t hear with all of the other noises. They looked innocent, oblivious to the troubles that their adult selves would have to later face, and discussing something while we waited for the green light. 

Normally, such a moment only lasts for a couple of seconds, but this lasted for a few minutes. As the seconds passed, I glanced back at the two kids. They were still looking at me, being curious as they were. I smiled mischievously and the girl smiled back while the boy next to her seemed to be growing anxious (maybe he thought I had something evil planned). 

The green light finally came and the STM bus went first. I showed them a peace sign with my fingers as I passed them, thinking that I wouldn’t see them again. It only took a second or so to realize that the school bus didn’t turn. 

When I saw the school bus catch up, it reminded of something that some kids would do. Without meaning to, the kids would turn the situation into a race, where they wanted to see which vehicle would go faster. Kids made almost any daily situation look fun. 

As the buses lined up once more, I saw the kids once more. I made a face of surprise, as if their bus was going to beat the one that I was in. I knew that the drivers had no idea of what was going on in the back of their buses, but I didn’t care. 

Finally, the school bus made a left, and we finally parted ways. When I looked back into the STM bus, everyone was still doing whatever it  was that they were doing. Some were listening to music, others on their phones and others still reading a book. 

For me, that little time seemed to be longer than it actually was. For everyone else, it was only a part of the time needed to get to their destination. I wonder how many of them noticed the school bus. I wonder if they saw the kids’ smiles and their curious eyes, looking out the window of their small school bus. 


You are what you eat… Fast or slow?

For Olivia Moore and her fellow zombies on iZombie, they are literally what they eat – they eat a brain and inherit some of the person’s traits & memories. For other zombies, well, that’s practically the only thing they know how to do, aside from running/walking.

In the real world, it’s common to see facts on a lot of food that we buy in terms of the contribution that they would add to our overall health. For example, carrots improves eyesight, oranges provide vitamin C, milk provides calcium, fish provides omega-3, peanuts provide protein, apples can help regulate blood sugar and the list goes on and on.

But is it fair to say that just eating healthy is all that takes to maintain a good health? If that’s so, why is that it’s uncommon for people to eat healthy? That people actually prefer to eat junk food rather than something of which could very well save their life later on?

After having an interesting discussion with a friend, something occurred to me. Maybe the reason why it’s common to see people to eat healthy is because it costs more effort and more money (at a first glance). When looking for something to eat, it’s often easier to buy junk food that costs 5$ compared to 10$ for a salad. When making food, it might cost us 30 minutes to a full hour to make a healthy meal in comparison to buying a healthy meal that’s already made. 

Living in a world where no one feels like they have enough time, buying something prepared beforehand seems to be better than having to make it from scratch.  However, making a meal from scratch allows for personalization in the flavour and/or the contents. 

That’s not to say that not having enough time is the reason why being healthy isn’t a first priority. For some, the reason why they choose not to eat healthy is because it looks to be too inconvenient or too expensive. For those, look to places like Subway, where their sandwiches are 5$ to 10$, depending on the size & combo. There are growing alternatives to eating healthier meals around the area; we just need to find them and try them out. 

We all have 24 hours in a day; that’s not changing anytime soon. How we choose to spend those hours is can determine what kind of health we have for our future selves. We can eat quickly and overlook missing nutrition or we can slower (not slowly like a cow), making every meal and adding our own personal touch.  

You are what you think

Ever hear someone say that “all is right with the world”? Or “Why does everybody hate me”? Ever hear the Cartoon Jackie Chan yell that “Today is not my day!”? Ever notice that some say that the glass is half full while others say that it’s half empty? Ever notice that people see the world differently depending on their state of mind?

When I look at people who look down as they walk, I wonder how they see the world. Once being in their position, their view could be dull with no excitement, passing by the world without being notice, or it could be dark, where every person that they pass might be saying things behind their backs.

People who are walking by with a big smile or a bit a dance to their step might see the same world differently. Maybe it’s like in the movies, where they see everyone in the same state or they might tune out the rest of the world as they continue the rest of the world.

To say that one would know how the other sees the world would be a lie. If you think yourself to be happy and actually create stories in which you are happy, then it seems that you might actually be happy. As mentioned before, “no matter how good the disguise, it will always be another version of yourself.” In terms of thoughts, it would seem that thinking of yourself in a certain state might actually cause that state to happen from within.

To write a story where the protagonist is filled with a heated past is to contain a bit of that hatred within the author, even without meaning to. To become a pessimist, it only takes the picturing of all of the negative possibilities in every moment. To become an optimist, it only takes to see the world like Cinderella does – “Not to see the world as it, but as it could be”.

A Half Empty Glass (From ahermin at DeviantArt)

For me or for someone else?

Think about a goal that you have. A job that you would like to have later. A book that you want to read. How you go to work or to school.

Are they decisions that you made on your own, or are they influenced by an outsider?

One of my professors asked that question to the class in almost every single lecture. As we looked at Symbolic Interactionism, I came to realize that everything that we do, how we behave, how we choose – it’s all influenced by outsiders.

A dream job that we might have could be based on our parents’ desires, on a certain TV show or book series. A choice between cars could be based on how we think others would see us. How we choose to travel could be based on the advice of others.

Job choices are especially influenced, given that some have a very high public profile. For example, a detective, a police officer, a forensic scientist, a medical examiner, a doctor, a forensic anthropologist, a criminal psychologist. Chances are that, as I listed them, a few TV Shows popped into your head. With a lot of people having access to TVs and watching countless hours of dramas, our job choices would be influenced by the desire to have a life similar to the one on the screen.

Now, think again. Are the choices that you’ve made truly yours, for your sake, or for the sake of others?

Petrichor – The smell of dust after rain

You ever notice a certain smell during a rainy time? It’s not from the grass, not from the soil as it hydrates itself, and not from the frustrated individuals who forgot an umbrella. It doesn’t smell bad, nor does it smell particularly good, but it does smell somewhat natural.

I only learned the name of such a smell after watching the Sci-Fi show Doctor Who. It reminded that there are some smells that can influence how we feel, which explains why places like The Body Shop has like a mix of smells. There are some that can make us feel calm, disgusted, happy, sad, excited, hungry, and even angry.

Smells, like pheromones and hormones, cause a chain reaction which result in a certain behaviour. Rain excites me because of a reminder of a past adventure travelling the rain forests of Costa Rica. It reminds me of the challenges of climbing up the many rocky levels and the mud pit that essentially swallowed my shoes.

While rain is frequent in this time of the year, heavy rain seems to be the most exciting as it almost allows for memories to resurface – the sounds of friends laughing and complaining about the odd terrain all the while being surrounded by the sounds of heavy rain falling onto the natural life, the sounds of a nearby waterfall, and the occasional sounds of a cry of an animal living in the nearby area.

Nothing could ever compare

Getting swept along for the ride (Slight rant)

As many might know, Concordia University is located in the heart of Downtown Montreal, which is home to one of the largest underground malls, to thousands of international students as well as hundreds of cyclists (because most cyclists nowadays are humans, except for a few animals that were trained beforehand). 

In any case, today had a nice weather – warm with a cooling breeze – and that made it perfect for biking in downtown. My idea of biking downtown was strolling Maisonneuve, looking at the scenery, the architecture and enjoying the breeze .

Nope, didn’t happen. The other cyclists wouldn’t have it. 

Instead of picking a nice bike, I ended up with one of the bixi models where the seat wouldn’t stay still. Instead of strolling, I was pedalling as hard as I could just to avoid getting in a potential accident. I didn’t have time to look at the scenery, nor at the architecture. I barely had time to breathe. 

By the time the crowd died down, I had long passed the university. I parked the bike and sat down on a set of stairs nearby, my knees feeling like jelly. 

How people manage to keep up at that rate amazes me. I was out of breath and any attempt to walk made me look like I was drunk. Everyone was in a hurry to get to their destination and spared no second to slow down, except for the red light (not the Orange, nope. They’ll burn it easily). 

Thinking about it now, it’s not really a surprise how people living in such a fast-paced area might not know their neighbourhood that well. Like driving, the faster you go, the narrower your field of vision. And also similar to driving, we should slow down at an orange light. 

(Now excuse me while I try to walk off the soreness. Now I know what a marathon feels like)

Is it time that’s flying, or me running?

Ever have a list of things to be done in a day? Ever find that there isn’t enough time in the day to actually clear that list? Ever think that time flies very fast?I try to post everyday during the week, save Saturday and Sunday. However, having nothing specific written down during the summer, I often find myself immersed in pointless activities for several hours without realizing how much time had passed. Next thing I know, it’s late at night and I’m too tired to write something. Time flew so far ahead that it left me staggering. So, what to do now?

“Change takes time.” 

That expression is weird. It implies that change and time are linked, like one comes with the other. It implies that, like time, change can be fast or it can slow, but it will never stop. Because, even if it did, we wouldn’t realize that it stopped in the first place. 

Knowing that, I looked back to “The Strangest Secret”, where Nightingale reminded to bring a reminder wherever I go. When I know I’m going to be immersed in an activity, I’m going to put a timer, as if to remind me that so much time has passed. 

Because, even with a time machine capable of travelling in all of time and space, we can’t be running forever; eventually time will catch up with us all, reminding us of the reality of the world.

“There is only one path to peace – [The Avengers’] extinction” (Slight Spoilers)

After watching Avengers: Age of Ultron, I noticed something that a lot of movies seem to have in common.

“Every time someone times to stop a war before it starts, innocent people die. Every time.” Steve Rogers (Captain America)

When “enhanced people” surface, other individuals find ways to power up to compete with them, as if the power that they have now just isn’t enough. Some people are determined to protect those that they love, but at what cost?

Potentially, we could all turn to be a threat to someone else’s family, to someone else’s world. It just takes the wrong action or the wrong words. Because of that, Ultron might be justified in saying that the only path to peace is to remove the avengers, since they are a group of enhanced power (whether naturally or artificially).

Another interesting point is that Ultron is also right in a sense that people confuse “peace” with “quiet”. Much like the 20th century, there will be times of tension, but no war, or times of countries repairing the damage from the previous wars.

Right now, the world seems peaceful only because countries aren’t trying to kill each other… maybe that’s more of being quiet.

In any case, achieving peace has no perfect solution. Technically, we all have the potential to be monsters, to be killers. By working together to improve the world, we might be able to do just as the Captain says:

“This isn’t about beating Ultron, it’s about proving we’re not monsters.”

Victoria Day – Obvious, yet maybe not

I’m not sure how much we might remember from school (Elementary, High School, Possibly College), but I wonder how much is actually remembered in regards to the odd holidays that schools would have. Victoria Day, Labour Day, Good Friday, St-Jean Baptiste (Quebeckers) are just a few examples as to days of which young students don’t go to school.

Did we ever actually learn what those holidays stood for? While some of them had religious significance – which we might learn from others – some seem to be there for no reason.

Where did they come from? What led to the celebration, to the specific naming of that day? Why that particular day?

I wonder what people normally do on Victoria Day. Google indicates that Victoria Day was meant as an anniversary for Queen Victoria, who died in 1901, but what do people normally do on that day? When searched upon, images of fireworks pop up, people partying, but do they actually know what they’re celebrating for? When looking around, stores seem to be mostly open at the usual times, and many workers are given the day off.

Next time there’s a holiday, try asking who, what, when, and why?

“Shot of the Esplanade Riel on Victoria Day ” (Credit to qkjosh on deviantart)

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