they are right


Yesterday I got up and went to work like any other day. It was earlier than usual as I was filming an event at Microsoft's Mississauga office. After I had taped a shotgun microphone to a chair and placed the chair in front of the stage in hopes of getting some kind of usable audio record - that's how it goes some days - I listened to a surprisingly interesting talk about women and diversity. Microsoft’s Patti-Ann Marzocco, VP Original Equipment Manufacturers was the guest speaker at the ITAC/CWC Speaker Series Event. She told memorable, relevant stories about her personal and professional life. I will post the link to the talk when it goes up on ITAC's website next week. It's an hour long. But good. So pour a glass of wine or steep some tea and watch it. One thing Patti-Ann said about risk was there are two outcomes when you take one: you will either succeed or you will learn something.

Back at the office after a quick edit I set the video to compress and stepped out to get some lunch at the new sushi place on Lake Shore Ave.

For those of you not familiar with this Toronto neighbourhood, Lake Shore is a busy street one block down from where you can get on to the Gardiner Expressway. The area is comfy cozy with a bunch of new condos under construction, the Westin's convention centre, some office towers, the ACC, the ferry terminal and an expensive parking lot beside the Harbour Sixty Steakhouse. They've plunked a Second Cup on the corner of Bay and the Gardiner turn off Eastbound. An unlikely spot to have a cup of tea midday but I've done it and it works.

At the intersection of Bay and Harbour Street, which is sort of extends into Lake Shore - see photo - the light was red for me (crossing North) and green for the traffic (heading East). While I waited for the light to turn so I could cross Harbour Street, a car - one of those black airport limos - was coming down Lake Shore (read: Harbour Eastbound), going about 50 or 60 km, and was about 500 feet away from the intersection.

At the same time, at the same intersection a man begins to cross the street towards me. He does not look either way before crossing. I look at the limo. I look at the man. At the speeds they are both traveling, the car will hit the man. The man keeps walking. He walks straight towards me, but looks past me.

He is tall, old, 75 I would guess, grey hair, perfect posture, medium complexion - Algerian or Greek maybe. He wears an expensive black overcoat and carries a single shopping bag - the kind made of glossy black paper and has silky cords for handles - something from a high end jeweler or clothing store.

The limo is forced to slow down. The man is now two feet in front of me...and the car.

"You are crossing on a red light," I say.

He steps up to the curb.

The limo slows down even more and rolls down the window.

"You are an asshole!" the driver shouts.

The man looks at me and says, "They are right. They. Are. Right."

They are right.

This, could could refer to a number of things:
- the driver of the car thinking this man is an asshole
- the item in his bag being overpriced
- Second Cup deciding it was a good idea to put a new shop here
- Microsoft
- a city wide bedbug infestation
- whoever he spoke to last and their political affiliation
- the CBC
- the item in his bag being fairly priced
- his parents
- the forces of the universe

No matter what his statement meant to him - or me - several absolutes happened right there on the street.

The man crossed the street.
The car did not collide with the man.
The light turned green and I looked both ways before crossing.

Later that afternoon, a man in Toronto's East end killed his father with a cross bow in a library.

The son took a risk.
He succeeded in murdering his father.
We learned something is not right.