Addressing the danger of bus blind spots

There’s a new sign in town. At least it’s new to me, and very much welcome. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) the city’s transit authority, has begun placing decals on the rear window of buses indicating the danger of blind spots (angles morts in French). Earlier this year I posted a piece about the potential risks inherent in not thinking about blind spots. I am pleased to see the STM taking steps to reduce incidents.

I also wonder just how many people, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians will actually grasp the fact this is all about their safety, and how many will carp about yet another infringement on their rights

The rear window of Montreal buses have long displayed the red triangle that informs motorists that the bus, assuming the driver signals, has the right of way when pulling out into traffic. This has been the law for many years, yet I still see drivers challenging the bus at a red light. New advanced lights for buses have helped this situation.

But I wonder if many people actually realize just how limited a truck or bus driver’s vision is

Now the issue of blind spots is being addressed by bringing to light the significant difficulties a bus driver faces with visibility.

STM.INFO

Blind spots are not new, and as vehicles get larger, blind spots seem to expand as well. But I wonder if many people actually realize just how limited a truck or bus driver’s vision is.

Yet, people being people, I also wonder just how many people, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians will actually grasp the fact this is all about their safety, and how many will carp about yet another infringement on their rights.

When It Comes To Concert Nudity Millennials Lag Far Behind Hippies

Warning: This Post Contains Non-Millennial Nudity

One often hears that millennials, those folks born around the turn of the millennium and in their late teens and twenties now, are more open to some of the things that we older people wrestle to grasp. Gender used to be a zero-sum game: male or female. Now it’s a spectrum, a continuum, with transgender pronouns, and debates about them, being bandied about in university lecture halls.

These open-minded people, children of the Internet, brought us sextingSnapchat, and easy access to online pornography. Pretty liberal sorts aren’t they? Well, maybe not.  

Pretty liberal sorts aren’t they? Well, maybe not.  

This past weekend thousands of millennials descended upon Montreal for the annual Osheaga music extravaganza. Three full days with numerous acts, few of which I have ever heard of.

Every year this event has me thinking about the big festivals of the late sixties. The granddaddy, Woodstock in 1969, is still the benchmark against which these events will be forever compared. Like Woodstock, this year’s version of Osheaga had thousands of young people, hot weather, and lots of music.

Woodstock 1969 Photo: Getty – Roger Jackson

Unlike Woodstock, if media coverage is to be believed, there was no nudity. I was too young to attend music festivals in the sixties, but the photos of the event, and many other similar festivals clearly indicate a penchant for attendees to get naked. Concert goers are shown romping about starkers, or in various states of undress

In July of 1972, the Rolling Stones played the Montreal Forum. It was a hot night both outside and inside the building. A photo on the front page of the next day’s Star newspaper showed a topless woman on a guy’s shoulders enjoying the show. Rumour has it she kept a copy of the paper with her and bragged about her instant fame all over town.

The concert made the front page, but all are clad. C’mon millennials, what gives?

Were there similar photos in today’s newspaper? Nope. The concert made the front page, but all are clad. C’mon millennials, what gives? Even as recently as 1985’s Live Aid concert in Philadelphia people got into the spirit and shed a garment or two.

Live Aid 1985

Jeez, talk about a stuck-up generation!

The idiocy of audio sports highlights

There is an expression often used by sports commentators when an athlete does something outstanding; they say ‘that will make the highlight reel’. You can see just how old that adage is by the use of the word reel, referring to the time when teams put out end-of-season films featuring the best plays of the year.   I have never been one to watch these highlights. I enjoy watching a number of sports in their full game state. But a program made up of one highlight after another is not my cup of tea. They all look the same after just a short time. However, I understand there are those folks who get their fill of sports via these little snippets.

What has always struck me as being totally asinine is the use of audio highlights on radio.

I like radio, it can be a wonderful thing to sit back and have someone talk to you. Radio broadcasts of baseball games on a hot summer night sitting outside are the things memories are made of. But what has always struck me as being totally asinine is the use of audio highlights on radio. The first time I heard this was during the nineties when the Expos were still in Montreal and on the morning after a game the radio station that carried the games would have a recap of the game that was punctuated with snippets of audio from the broadcast. I didn’t care how the play was described, if I can’t see it just tell me the score.

But when you play a recording of, for example, a home run it is actually the announcer’s call that is being featured not the home run because you can’t see it!

Radio stations now routinely feature clips of play-by-play in their sportscasts. When you televise a highlight you are focusing on the athlete who has performed the feat. But when you play a recording of, for example, a home run it is actually the announcer’s call that is being featured not the home run because you can’t see it!

On a television highlight, I can see the shortstop dive to make a great grab, somehow flip the ball to the second baseman who touches the base then wheels and fires to first to complete the double play. Wonderful athleticism, great skill, fantastic reflexes, and strength.

On an audio highlight I can hear a guy describe the play … Great pipes, lovely cadence, fine vocabulary, but the play takes a back seat to the announcer.

On an audio highlight I can hear a guy (it is usually men) describe how the shortstop dove to make a great stop, somehow flipped the ball to the second baseman who touched the base then wheeled and fired to first to complete the double play. Great pipes, lovely cadence, and fine vocabulary, but the play takes a back seat to the announcer. In fact, they should call them announcer, not sports highlights.

And God forbid you should have to listen to audio highlights of a soccer game: ten different versions of GOOOOAAAALLLLLLL

A Gringo in Costa Rica Part 1

Having just returned from my third visit to Costa Rica, I am even more impressed with this great nation and its people. The reason for my repeated visits is not just the wonderful country, but to visit my in-laws. One of my wife’s sisters married a Tico (the term used proudly by Costa Ricans to refer to themselves) and settled there to raise their family. Not long after her arrival, she suggested her mother, my mother-in-law and her mother, my wife’s grandmother should also make the move from Venezuala which at that time, and sadly to this day, was facing political difficulties. Therefore Costa Rica has become not just a magnificent place to visit but also allows for my in-laws to get together.

I quite like the sound of it…El Gringo! And I do tend to win most blue eye contests!

Being linguistically challenged – my Spanish is limited to the basics such as cerveza por favor, Feliz Navidad and, feliz cumpleaños – I spend significant time catching up on my reading and writing while the familia catches up with each other. It is a system made in heaven. They understand that I do not feel left out of their conversations and I am free to relax. I even have my own ‘office’ off to which I saunter each morning after breakfast to do my thing while they discuss the world in Spanish.

My office in Costa Rica

But don’t think it’s all just office time. My brother-in-law, a very proud Tico, is fond of putting his country on display. Our first foray, indeed on our first day, was a hike at a coffee plantation. I have already posted about this here, so I will not go into the details again as doing so causes my blood pressure to rise. Suffice to say I bit off significantly more than I was able to chew. Silly Gringo!

Speaking of ‘Gringo’, I have grown into this moniker during my time with the family. The word is defined as follows: in Spanish-speaking countries and contexts, chiefly in the Americas a person, especially an American, who is not Hispanic or Latino. I dare say the word fits for a Canadian such as myself as well. I quite like the sound of it…El Gringo! But I digress. And I do tend to win most blue eye contests!

One of the many treasures of Costa Rica is the vast array of wildlife. From what we in North America would call exotic birds, to reptiles, including crocodiles, all are on display in their natural habitat. Sitting in my office just listening to and watching the birds was worth the trip. On one occasion while we were on our way west, we stopped for a photo opportunity. While there I heard birds calling and looked up in time to see two brilliant parrots flying by. I have seen parrots before, in zoos and pet shops, but to see them in their own environment was astounding!

Breakfast anyone?

While in Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast we stayed in a lovely resort located in the jungle. Yes indeed, this city boy was introduced to jungle life in a hurry. From our iguana breakfast guest to a family of Titi monkeys looking for snacks we were kept entertained, and alert as these little primates can be very stealthy when it comes to food, hats, and eyeglasses. Cheeky monkey indeed!

… and alert as these little primates can be very stealthy when it comes to food, hats, and eyeglasses. Cheeky monkey indeed!
Titi Monkey

My first two trips to Costa Rica were fantastic, however there was something missing. I have long been interested in sloths. Any beast that can appear to be so entirely relaxed is something I admire. No stress, no worries, no rushing about. Some medical affiliation, perhaps heart related, should adopt the sloth as their mascot. Unfortunately, I was unable to see a sloth (well, except for the carcass of one that had been run over on the highway, but that doesn’t count) until my third visit.

Hell, we even malign these cool animals with the word ‘slothlike’, which is never used as a positive attribute, although it probably should be given so many heart attacks and anxiety-related issues in modern day.

The beach was a stone’s throw from the breakfast area. As we made our way between the monkeys and iguanas, someone looked up at the leafy canopy overhead and pointed. Soon all were following suit, and it was explained to me that we were within viewing distance of a sloth. Sure enough, there he or she was. My initial reaction was how accurate the fake sloths in souvenir stores are, except for the movement, I could have easily been fooled. Silly Gringo.

A sloth at last

My second thought, as I watched the sloth move about among the branches, was that they, or at least this one, can move somewhat faster than I had expected. Don’t get me wrong, this was no tree-top gazelle, but it did swing from branch to branch smoothy and with elegance, and not a little bit of haste. On behalf of sloths everywhere I think it’s time to debunk the indolent myth. Hell, we even malign these cool animals with the word ‘slothlike’, which is never used as a positive attribute, although it probably should be given so many heart attacks and anxiety-related issues in modern day.

I’m a Gecko saver

(San Isidro, Costa Rica) A few years ago I wrote a post explaining one of the inspirations I have to donate blood. The components of my blood make me a baby saver. The fact that I am both CMV Negative and O Negative puts me in a very small group; about 1.4% of the world’s population. Recently on my Costa Rican vacation I discovered that I am also a gecko saver.

As a true blue city boy, the kind of wildlife I am used to is warm-blooded, and usually more afraid of me than I am of it. Or so I have been able to convince myself over time. The occasional squirrel that finds its way into a house is usually intent on getting out and not causing trouble. But here in tropical Costa Rica the local beasts are alien to me, which can make them a little scary.

As a true blue city boy, the kind of wildlife I am used to is warm blooded, and usually more afraid of me than I am of it.

For instance the other night while going upstairs to bed, there was a bit of a skirmish on the stairs as it became evident that a baby gecko had become separated from its family and wandered into the house. This little guy was all of five or six centimetres long- three inches or so – and seemed to be somewhat disoriented.

While one of my hosts kept an eye on him, I sought a disposable beer cup. I placed the cup in front of the gecko but he was showing no signs of getting in. So a little shove was required. Yes, I can now claim to have touched a wild gecko. My partner in this high-skilled rescue claimed that in all of his twenty years, all of them in Costa Rica, he has managed to avoid actually touching a gecko. I told him it was a bit like poking a scaly marshmallow.

Yes, he will go on to make millions on television as an insrance-selling Cockney-accented gecko.

With our surprise guest comfortably in the cup, we made our way out to the large front lawn to release him. Initially he showed no signs of gratitude, but I believe he will one day come to appreciate that a small gecko on a flight of stairs was a recipe for disaster.

I harbour no illusions of ever learning my little buddy’s fate, but I have convinced myself that he will be reunited with his family. He will excel at school and will win a scholarship to study acting abroad, in England. While there he will perfect a Cockney accent (although why Cockney and not Oxford I don’t know). Upon the completion of his education, he will make his way to the big screen where he will have a few little roles in several small-budget horror films until one day when he’ll get his big break. Yes, he will go on to make millions on television as an insurance-selling Cockney-accented gecko.

Naw, who am I kidding? That would never work.

… in it’s most recent telling, evolved into a life or death fight with a sixty pound, four foot long, razor-fanged, scaly monster.

As a bit of a sidebar, I have learned that gecko-saving stories are very similar to fish tales. Recreational fishermen tend to be prone to exaggeration. The occasional bit of embellishment when it comes to fish size is all part of the fun. What started out for me as a narrative of moving a small lizard in a beer cup has, in its most recent telling, evolved into a life or death rassle with a sixty-pound, four or five-foot long, razor-fanged, scaly monster.

A landlubber rides the ferry

(San Isidro, Costa Rica) If you read this blog with any regularity, you may well be aware of the fact that I cannot swim. On the list of the many things that I am capable of doing, swimming is not included. Interestingly, over the years when I have mentioned this simple fact, people don’t want to believe it. For some reason they refuse to, choosing instead to claim that perhaps I am a weak swimmer. Nope, I cannot swim.

My father was a grand swimmer, possibly due to having served in the navy during the Second World War. One of my brothers is also a fine swimmer, while the other shares my shortcoming. Given this, I have come to view bodies of water not as potential cooling lakes, surfable oceans or Marco Polo venues. Rather I see them for what they are; varying-sized vats of slow, panic-imbued death. When they coined the term landlubber they were looking at me.

Given this,  I have come to view bodies of water not as potential cooling lakes, surfable oceans or Marco Polo venues. Rather I see them for what they are; varying sized vats of slow, panic imbued death.

With this in mind, I’m sure it is understandable that floating things, from inner tubes to yachts to cruise ships are not on my list of welcomed transport. The term pleasure craft to refer to a boat is, for me, an oxymoron. For decades this has caused me absolutely no problem. Until, that is, my current trip to Costa Rica. In my last post I explained how my in-laws are very proud Ticos. In particular, my brother-in-law is always showing me the many wonders of his country. This time he planned a trip to a resort on the Pacific coast, Samara Beach. The most direct route involves a 90-minute ferry ride.

Aboard the Tambor II

In fairness he checked with my wife beforehand, she in turn checked with me, and I decided to through caution to the wind, or the water, and go for it. Mind you, I first asked about the size of said ferry. Once I learned that it held several hundred vehicles I felt much more at ease. When I learned that they sell beer onboard I was sold!

As we arrived we were just in time to board the ferry. This was great as it eliminated the fight or flight I may have experienced waiting.

On the way to the ferry we encountered significant traffic, not at all uncommon in Costa Rica. Tension was rising as we had a booking on the 2:30 PM departure. I was not aware of this concern as it took place in Spanish. As we arrived we were just in time to board the ferry. This was great as it eliminated the fight or flight I may have experienced waiting. This reminded me of when I had my wisdom teeth removed. All four were impacted and I, coward that I am, put the removal off until it absolutely had to be done. Two days after my 50th birthday. When discussing my trepidation over the process with my dental surgeon, he assured me I would be well sedated and would feel nothing. I did not doubt him for a moment, but explained that my concern was getting up the three steps to his front door. He understood perfectly and prescribed Ativan for the morning of the surgery. But I digress.

Once aboard the ferry I started to relax. We moved up to the third level that, being in Latin America, featured loud Latino dance music. I looked around and figured if these folks can make a party out of this, the least I can do is quell my impending panic attack with prayer and pints.

I looked around and figured if these folks can make a party out of this, the least I can do is quell my impending panic attack with prayer and pints.

So there I was, landlubber at sea, well actually the Gulf of Nicoya. The first twenty minutes were a bit dodgy as the water was choppy. I learned that when on a boat, much like when on a plane, I don’t like the movement. Nice and smooth, please. No up and down no banking in the sky. Drinking cans of Imperial Light while imagining I was sitting in my favourite bar. Before I knew it we were hopping off the ferry and I was quickly able to regain my land legs, having never really lost them.

So non-traumatic was the experience, that I feared not the return voyage. And sure enough, it was smooth sailing. Great stuff that Imperial beer!

Hiking: Thick Canadian blood meets Costa Rican hills and humidity

Much better than hiking

(San Isidro, Costa Rica) My wife and I arrived in this beautiful country just over a week ago. It’s our third visit together, although my wife has been here a few times without me. The reason for our numerous visits is to meet up with family members; my wife’s mother lives here, as does one of her sisters and family.

My in-laws are some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Generous,  kind, understanding and, fiercely proud Ticos …

My in-laws are some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Generous,  kind, understanding and, fiercely proud Ticos, the term of affection favored by Costa Ricans. On my prior two visits they have been ideal hosts – so why would they try to kill me this time?

Having braved the much-ballyhooed chaos at Montreal’s Trudeau International airport on a Sunday,  (in honesty I have to admit it really was not bad, the key is to get there early) we arrived late that evening. With immigration and baggage claim over, the ride from the airport behind us, and initial greetings completed, it was a long day. I knew there was a plan to go for a hike through a coffee plantation the next day, meaning the late night was to be followed by an early morning. 

Meeting up with some friends on route, we arrived at our destination Hacienda y Benificio La Chimba about midmorning.  We registered, received our wristbands, selected our walking sticks from a large number available (the need for a walking stick should have tipped me off),  and listened to the instructions before heading off. Although a nine-kilometre trail exists, we opted for the 4.5 kms.  

However, as much as I enjoy a nice stroll on a level surface, I abhor hills. Nothing ruins a nice promenade like an uphill gradient. 

A word or two of explanation is required at this point. I like walking, everyday I try to get in my 10,000 steps. Often I use a favourite watering hole as a destination. However, as much as I enjoy a nice stroll on a level surface, I abhor hills. Nothing ruins a nice promenade like an uphill gradient. 

There was a time when I used to be an avid runner.  Every morning,  rain, shine, snow, or sleet, I was out there making my way around town at a steady if not fast pace. As the vast majority of my running was done on sidewalks, one of the remaining effects is a right foot neuroma that can be very painful. Currently the only shoes I can do any substantial walking in are an old pair of Rockports with essentially worn flat soles. What could possibly go wrong?

Costa Rica is a very hilly country. The world famous coffee grows in these hills. I should have seen this coming. Off we started, down a very steep incline that, to make it a little easier, had built in cement steps. Even the downward trek was a bit of a chore, tough on the knees, but the fun was just starting.  

I’m neither egoist nor egotist, but on this day I was all about…I!

Like a good Canadian,  I have thick, cold-weather enduring blood. Our hike took place during the Green Season, or what used to be called the rainy season until some shrewd travel agent realized that was not great for business. The sky was overcast, and the humidity felt as if it were at about 400%. I was sweating while standing still. As we started our trek upwards, on muddy, narrow, rocky,  tree root-crossed trails, I could feel my body temperature rising significantly, like a kettle on the boil.   After a few stops to allow me, the Gringo, to catch my breath, my co-hikers realized that I needed cooling down. Wisely they poured water over me and this allowed me to go on.

After what felt like 10 kms but was only three, I felt I was done.  The only problem, and one I think the owners need to address, is that there is no way out. It is not like IKEA’s basement where they make you walk through a maze of merchandise but always post signs that indicate the quick way out. The news of this lack of a safety valve caused me to almost become panicky.  I started calculating the cost of a helicopter rescue in my mind. But, we pushed on; actually, it was them pushing me

Just as I thought I was doing ok, and that I might just make it, the skies opened and the rain fell. So there I was on my first day of vacation, exhausted, soaked, hot,  wearing shoes that provided zero traction on the increasingly steep and now wet mud and rocks, unable to see through rain spattered and fogged up glasses. I fully expected a swarm of locusts to arrive at any moment.  I liken my experience to the old hangover joke: at first I was afraid I was going to die, then, as it got worse I was afraid I wasn’t going to.

It is not like IKEA’s basement where they make you walk through a maze of merchandise but always post signs that indicate the quick way out.

At about the 3.5 kms point hikers are faced with a choice: to call it quits and head down an outlet to the main area, or continue to the very top.  My day was done. I think my wife could have gone on, but she was kind enough to accompany me back down the vehicle accessible exit road.  The others carried on to the top.  Once we arrived at the restaurant, drenched and hot, the rain intensified. My fellow hikers showed their true mettle and finished the trek, albeit under rotten conditions. 

These Latinos are tough.

Lack of downtown traffic information on local radio

When it comes to commuting to and from work I have been very lucky. I have always worked within walking distance, or, when the weather was inclement, easy access to public transit. Therefore, radio traffic reports have played a very small part in my getting around town.

However, there are times when I do find myself in our car in the downtown area. Often, my wife picks me up on her way home from school, and we have to navigate Montreal’s downtown traffic mayhem. Yesterday, for example, there was a major fire that closed a principal downtown street (CTV News photo above) used by thousands of motorists to egress the city. As we circumnavigated the fire, following the flashing police cars indicating which way to go, a traffic report aired on the radio. As we inched our way along, the traffic reporter spoke of volume on bridges and highways but made absolutely no mention of the snarl in the downtown core.

I’m not suggesting the focus be solely on downtown, but I have to believe there is time for the occasional update

How can this be? These reports are quarter-hourly – every fifteen minutes – is it not conceivable that those of us downtown could be informed of traffic situations? With all the construction sites causing traffic havoc, it seems to me it is more important than ever to inform drivers about the downtown situation. Frankly, I couldn’t care less how blocked a bridge is, nor what volume of cars are present on an east-end highway. Traffic conditions off the island? Not doing anything for me.

I’m not suggesting the focus be solely on downtown, but I have to believe there is time for the occasional update.

Or perhaps, when it comes to traffic, they’ve just written off downtown altogether.

No longer a poutine virgin

Last Friday, June 24, was the feast day of Quebec’s patron saint John the Baptist – or Saint-Jean-Baptiste in French. Like many things in Quebec, even these simplest occasions are often more complex than meets the eye. Although Quebec is a province of Canada, some here insist on it being referred to as a nation unto itself. Therefore there are those who refer to the holiday as La fete national. Go figure.

Leaving the debate about nationhood and Quebec aside, last Friday was a milestone day for me. Whatever Quebec’s status politically, it is still the home to a culinary concoction called poutine; not surprisingly, even the pronunciation of this word is debated. According to Wikipedia, poutine is a dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy. It emerged in Quebec, in the late 1950s.

Therefore, in true Quebecois fashion, on the Fête nationale, at the age of 62 years, I partook of my first poutine. And it was delicious.
Your trusty blogger digs into his first poutine

Although I’m fond of all three of these ingredients, the combination never really appealed to me. However, I figured millions of people worldwide acn’t all be wrong. Therefore, in true Quebecois fashion, on the Fête nationale, at the age of 62 years, I partook of my first poutine. And it was delicious.

There was a time when taverns in Quebec, and Montreal in particular, were to be found everywhere. These men-only watering holes served no spirits or wine, just beer. bottled but primarily on-tap. They often had tasty food menus. One traditional dish that was a staple in Montreal taverns was known simply as frites sauce. It consisted of a bowl of, what were once called French fried potatoes, swimming in a sea of brown gravy. Essentially, poutine without the cheese. After a few glasses of cold draft beer, this was a tasty, if not overly healthy meal, yet for some reason, perhaps I’m a purist, the addition of cheese did not sit well with me.

… as frites sauce. It was made up of a bowl of, what were once called French fried potatoes, swimming in a sea of brown gravy.

But, just to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks, I announced to my wife upon awakening on Friday that I was going to take advantage of the day to have my first poutine. In the absence of taverns, I decided to partake of my momentous endeavour at a local shop, the type of place once-called a greasy spoon. People in the know when it comes to poutine will tell you these are the places to find the best preparations. Well, things didn’t work out exactly as planned, and I found myself not in a traditional poutine emporium, but in downtown Montreal’s Hurley’s Irish Pub. Given the important role the Irish community has played in the development of Montreal over the centuries, this seemed like a perfect balance.

Given the important role the Irish community has played in the development of Montreal over the centuries, this seemed like a perfect balance.

If I continue on this track, next January 25, Robbie Burns’ Day, I may just have to have a go at the traditional Scottish dish known as Haggis. Although, I can’t deny that may take a little more culinary moxy than I can muster.

Earbud Wires Mystery Tangle

I like to walk. When I do, I enjoy listening to music via my iPhone. I use the free streaming service AccuRadio which offers a wide range of music and a reasonable amount of advertising. A great balance.

… at some point forces known only to wired earbuds take over and jumble the whole thing into a mass of knots that a dreadlock-sporting Rastafarian would envy

I use the wired earbuds that came with my iPhone. I know the trend is to purchase wireless buds, but given the expense, and the fact I have no doubt I would lose at least one of them within days – hours? – I’ll stick with the freebies, thank you.

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how I can painstakingly gently coil the wire of my earbuds, slowly slip them into my pocket, or place them on a table only to find when I want to use them that the wire has become severely tangled. It’s diabolical. No matter how carefully I wrap the wires, at some point forces known only to wired earbuds take over and jumble the whole thing into a mass of knots that a dreadlock-sporting Rastafarian would envy.

I have even wondered if what I am experiencing is some sort of wired earbud poltergeist. Instead of pieces of furniture flying around my living room, or unexplained sounds, my poltergeist sets to driving me mad by enmeshing wires that I have carefully put away.

… my poltergeist sets to driving me mad by enmeshing wires that I have carefully put away

If I could get back the time I’ve spent trying to disentangle the wires of earbuds I might just be able to make more of a contribution to society. But I feel that what is holding me back from being a truly remarkable person is all this time I waste unsnarling these stupid wires.