Day 135. New Reality

I need a new power cord/charger for my iPhone.  I’ve been staring at exposed wires for weeks now.  You’d think I’d have twigged.  Nope.  It took incessant ‘dinging’ every two chewed cableseconds while I had it plugged in, ostensibly charging the battery, for me to figure out something might be amiss.  Well, that’s not quite true.

It was when I went to use the phone and it was dead.

Before I go too much further with this story, you should know the photo is NOT one I took of my cord.  Even I would look at this and understand procrastinating isn’t an option.

Most of the Apple stores in Toronto are in suburban malls.  I’m a city dweller.  I gave up my car years ago.  The good news is, there’s an Apple store in the Eaton Centre.  Right downtown.  A quick subway ride away.  The Eaton Centre is the largest mall in downtown Toronto, home to 330 stores, spread over 148,000 square metres (1,593,058.7 square feet).  Actually it’s both a shopping mall and an office complex.

Sadly, it’s also been the scene of several shooting sprees.  A la Columbine, Colorado and now, Connecticut.  One lone gunman.  All kinds of mayhem.  Innocent people killed, while they were out shopping and having fun.  For no reason.  As if there could ever be a reason.

So here I am with a phone I can’t use.

“No problem” was my initial reaction.  I’ll jump on the subway (virtually at my front door).  And I’ll be at the Eaton Centre in eight or ten minutes.  I could be back home, cord in hand, within thirty, forty minutes, tops.  I was almost out my front door, when it hit me.  The weekend news.  The memories of similar tragedies, including here,  in our own back yard.  Nothing along the scale of what’s been happening in the U.S. mind you, but mass shootings, none the less.

Our new reality.

Weapons are finding their way into the wrong hands.  Seriously damaged hands.  With greater and greater frequency.  Even here, in Canada, where we don’t have a constitutional right to bear arms.

Our new reality.

We can’t even go to a mall or to a movie or to school without fearing for our lives; and the lives of our friends, neighbours and loved ones.  Who would ever have imagined this would be a topic for discussion.

The new normal.

Hate to admit, but I got spooked. It stopped me cold.  Dead in my tracks.  And as I stood there, rooted to the spot for a few minutes, all I could think was, “Are you sure you want to go there, Fransi?”  This little voice inside my head was speaking to me.  “The Eaton Centre’s been targeted several times before.  What if some deranged individual is watching the constant coverage from Connecticut?”

What if a chance to have his, or her, name and photo splashed across every newspaper and TV network in the country is just too enticing an opportunity to pass up?  To be known worldwide.  Instantly famous.

Instantly infamous.

It’s happened before.  Copy cat killers do exist.  These people don’t have a conscience.  Or a sense of right and wrong.  They’re sick.  Heartless.  And sometimes, what they crave most, is attention.  Notoriety.  So sick.  So tragic.  So terrifying.

So possible.

Believe it or not, I stayed home.  I couldn’t bring myself to go down there.  To risk it.  To take the chance.  What kind of a sad commentary on our society is that?  Five will get you ten, I’m not the only person who chose to stay home instead of going to a mall, either.

Guess we’re the ones who are in jail.

28 thoughts on “Day 135. New Reality

  1. This is exactly why you must go get your new cord. I’ve been taking my daughter to school all week, trying not to think about copy cats and all the other possibilities. We must leave our homes, interact with people, get back into our routines or you are absolutely right, we are prisoners.
    I can’t tell you how to do this. I focus on the moments and I have stopped watching the news this week. Take heart, my friend and defy criminals everywhere by getting on with life.

    • Yes, of course you are right. I went to India 2 weeks after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. My trip included Mumbai. My travel agent, who is from India, wanted to postpone the trip. I insisted on going, as planned. We were fine. It was probably the safest time to go because security was so high. Our incidents of mass murder have, luckily, been few. As a result there are tons of people who regularly avoid the Eaton Centre. Normally I am not one of them. This time I got spooked. The crowds this week there doing last minute Christmas shopping will make it a nightmare of a different kind. I will definitely go back there for the power cord. I may just wait for the rush to die down a bit. Not because I fear for my safety. To avoid the human stampede. Thanks for the sage advice. We do have to live our lives. We’re blessed to have them.

      • We re-booked our flight to England in 2011, which was scheduled a week after 9/11. It wasn’t so much fear but the fact that it was such an emotional time and not conducive to a lighthearted holiday. We finally went the following year, but it’s hard to move merrily ahead through these holidays, knowing of the heartache so many people in Connecticut are experiencing.

      • I know. I just cannot get those families out of my mind. I keep seeing the pictures of those beautiful children. If the kids are 6 and 7, how old are their parents? Imagine having 50 + years ahead of you, to live with this. Very difficult to be merry this Christmas, I agree. And what bothers me the most is that children all over, should have to have this sadness in their hearts. At this age. It is really just unthinkable. I would have re-scheduled my trip to the UK as well, by the way. Not out of fear — just sadness.

      • My daughter (8) and her peers know about the news, but not too much, so they are still pretty joyful during the holiday season. Kids are good about staying in the moment – a lesson we adults can use during times like these.

      • Well that’s good. And, of course, by 8 they are amazingly sophisticated and knowledgeable and ‘aware’ now. So they do have an understanding of what’s transpired. I did a session with 7 – 12 year olds regarding the environment for a client a few years ago and it blew my mind! It was like they were 30 years old. So if they can keep tragedies like this in perspective that is great.

      • I think not overexposing them to the story, or seeing video loops and press conferences over and over is very useful – for kids and for us! They’re sharp, but they have an unceasing joy for life.

      • I totally agree with you. The media over do it. Especially CNN. They do it with everything, not just this. During the Presidential campaign it got the point I didn’t turn the TV on for days. Endless conjecture that led no where. Over and over and over again. Torture. Unnecessary torture.

  2. As difficult as it is, I think it’s important to put situations like this in perspective. Nobody ever wants to think they may end up in the middle of a situation where a gunman goes berserk, but statistically, you probably have a better chance of being killed by a runaway horse. These are still extremely freak events that are just hard to properly file away because of their horrific nature and their overexposure by a media that is fascinated with tragedy…

    • I agree with you. And the media are guilty of endlessly regurgitating and analyzing it all to death. But when things hit very close to home it gives you sone pause. Especially here where violent acts like this are, thankfully, not common. The Eatin Centre is the place where it always seems to happen, when it’s going to happen. It has happened there at Christmas before. Of course I will go back there. I am an Apple addict. And of course, intellectually, I know i could also fall in my bathtub and end up dead. That day it all seemed too close for comfort. That is really the beginning and end of it. But having said that, there has been a rash of violence where unsuspecting passers by have been killed. And all they were doing was going about their daily lives in ordinary places. And while being so terrified you live out your life isn’t a solution, it does make you wonder where and when it mught happen again. And the more commonplace these tragic ecents become, the more we’ll think about it.

  3. I can understand the fear. But if you give in to it, then the bad guys win. We can’t let the bad guys win! Go get that cord! You will actually feel better if you do.

  4. Sometimes those errant thoughts can make you stop cold in your tracks and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. I prefer to think of that as pure instinct that kept my ancestors from making foolhardy choices. I don’t always pay heed to those instinctual thoughts but I do, at least, slow down and listen to them.

    • Thank you. And thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. To some degree it is the point of my whole story. The more often tragedies like this happen, the more we reconsider doing all the average everyday things we always did with abandon, never having to think about consequences and possibilities. Which does put us in a jail of sorts. Terrible.

  5. Boy, you nailed it. We are all prisoners of our fears (real and imagined) at times and it’s certainly understandable given all of the recent tragic events that you stopped in your tracks and decided not to venture out to the mall on that particular day. We are all licking our emotional wounds now given the most recent tragedy in Newtown, CT. You will get your mojo back but until then, there’s always

    • Yes, I know I will. In fact if I’d had time I would have gone today. Connecticut was just such an awful shock. Events like these always punch you in the gut, but somehow, the fact that the victims were really just babies, has had a different kind of impact on me. It’s a very rude awakening to the reality of life. What I am clinging to, though, is the hope that it is going to cross party lines and we will see some good come out of it. Vand while it will bring little consolation to their families, maybe these 20 little victims greatest gift and lasting legacy will not be what theyvdid in their short lives, but the positive change their deaths brought about. What I am reading and hearing is making me feel it could happen. I sure hope so. Maybe that was their calling. It’s not how much time you have, it’s what you do with it.

      • Yes, indeed, the fact that we lost innocent children was really the catalyst for all of the outpouring of emotion and the promise our President has made to make long overdue and necessary changes to gun control and mental health issues. I can’t begin to know how the parents and loved ones of those lost are coping, even in light of the outpouring of love and support that has blanketed their community. As much as I mourn the loss of those tiny innocent lives my heart is just full of pain for those parents and loved ones who will carry the memory of that horrible day in their minds for the rest of their lives. The best we can do is not to allow the fire to burn out as time tends to the healing process. I’m writing to my state reps. (as I’m sure thousands of CT and other states/ residents are doing) and will continue to follow and do what I can until I see real and positive change.

      • I agree. A friend of mine, a former colleague of mine from Ogilvy, started a foundation a couple of years ago, Stop Abuse Campaign. He was abused as a child. Murder is, of course, closely linked to abuse. It is abuse. Anyway, I do some pro bono work for him; and the other day I wrote a petition for him that’s on Causes. Have a look. Maybe you will be moved to sign it.

  6. I’m a firm believer in the power of internet shopping. It can come to me, zero risk, low effort. (However, I am convinced Amazon is systematically killing the UK high street – mostly because of me!) Although that being said here in the UK we don’t have anything like the troubles you guys or your US cousins have, if you don’t include that insane rioting here in 2011. Despite it all it doesn’t actually put me off either of your fair lands if truth be told. If I could I’d be on a plane across the Atlantic in a heartbeat.

    I’m suffering no illusions on the general poor state of humanity and the tragic part is just how much all of it has become “the new normal” as you say.

    Great blog btw Fransi. I’ve only just got here but am already working my way through from the beginning…

    • I love Internet shopping because it’s so easy. And I can do it whenever the mood strikes me, 24/7, including holidays. And I don’t have to put up with pushy shoppers and rude, unhelpful sales clerks. Yes, thankfully the UK is relatively safe and really, so is Canada. We have our street violence and senseless murders but nothing on the scale of the US. None of it is good, all of it must be stopped, that is for sure. I am very pleased and grateful you are enjoying my blog. I admire your stamina. That’s one hell of a lot of stories you’re plowing through :). Many thanks.

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