On a recent trip to the Hastings county I wanted to reduce the emissions of the trip (3 hours west of Ottawa) from Montreal – so I posted an ad on Craigslist rideshare.

The day of the ride I waited for an hour to meet up with the four people who agreed to ride with me – none of which showed up.Needless to say I was a bit disheartened, and felt that perhaps I should have just hitch hiked, ridden my bike, or  taking the train out to Ottawa rather than renting a car for this trip.

At the last minute I was contacted by a guy who needed a lift. I’m thinking this is awesome because at least someone will be coming along. In talking with Ray I found out that he was an artist recently based in Montreal – his forum was graffiti-based art. Although not into graffiti since his youth, Ray was exploring his work on canvasses primarily.

At some point my bladder was about to burst – and clearly it’s hard to drive and pee out the window… so I stopped at a gas station. When I got back Ray was listening to his iPod while he waited for me. Ironically, from this point forward Ray continued to listen to his iPod while I drove (read: the remaining 2 hours of the trip). Suddenly, I became a glorified chaffuer for a Montreal-based artist – “Would you like some tea and crumpets with your drive sir?”

Questioning our society

It’s this kind of behaviour that really makes me think about where we are heading with society. Sure it’s not an expectation that we would talk the entire ride, but isn’t there some basic polite principles that can be expected? Am I insane for feeling that this is really anti-social behaviour?

It makes me wonder how we got to this point? Where common norms and respectful behaviour to people has been lost. It’s this attitude of “it’s all for me” or “the world’s an oyster [i’m taking it]” that really makes me sad. Often I see youth driving around with their parents in the same situation as I was in. It appears as though there is no discussion between parent and child and those bright white earphones are hanging from their ears. A bubble is made.

Frankly, if I were an adult in that situation I’d rather listen to the same music as my child then create a situation like that. Tragically, I never told this guy how I felt when he left. He tossed me $15 American dollars and left the car. I felt a bit used.

Does it mean that I’m a jadded-no-longer-interested car pooler? No, it means that we need to work harder at continuing to build back our society from being so individualistic. I think it’s one thing to love and care for yourself and another to really ignore what’s going around you unless it means something to you. Life isn’t here to serve us we are here to interact with it.

Yes take care of yourself, nuture yourself, love yourself, but nuture people around you too. Destroy the bubbles and get to know people around you – build community.

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