We as individual persons tend to think that what we do, how we do it, what we say, how we say it and the choices we make as individuals to govern our lives only impacts us. That the implicit decisions intended to focus, elevate and better our personal lives is no body’s business but our own. The singular acts of personal choice with a sole agenda to impact one, the self, the “I”. Lovely notion isn't it and while it is true it is equally untrue. The truth, there is a ripple effect to the choices we make.
There ripple effect intention or not is a natural phenomenon (consequence) of choice. It is so because we do not live on this planet by ourselves, we are not an Island unto ourselves hence what we do, what we say, how we act, the choices we make has an impact.
The impact starts with our inner circles, the ones we hold closest, the ones we loved dearly and it ripples out as we interact with each other because we are all connected. The degree of impact will vary depending on our degrees of separations. We may feel a murmur, some may feel a buzz, a tingle, a tremor, others a deep shaking of the equilibrium. The point is we all feel it.
Yesterday was such a day for me. I felt the ripple effect, for me a murmuring. Though I don’t know the faces, the persons behind the choices and I am likely never to know, I felt the ripple effect. I was caught up in its maelstrom as were many others.
I was on my way home from work. 6:00 pm, I boarded the bus to the subway and boarded the subway to my home destination. On the train I sat back sipping on my drink and eating a chicken patty before diving enthusiastically into my 26 volume of Christine Feehan’s Dark Series “Dark Blood” when an announcement came over the P.A. system.
“Attention all passengers due to a personal injury on track level at the Yonge/University line, we will be bypassing St. George Subway. If you need to transfer to the Yonge/University line you can do so at Spadina or Yonge.”
I thought, ‘no biggie, that doesn’t affect me since am going way pass St. George and I don’t need the Yonge/University line.’ We reached and passed Yonge on our way to Sherbourne when the P.A. system crackled again and another announcement was made.
“Attention passengers of the Bloor/Danforth line, due to the personal injury at Pape Subway, this train will be stopping at Broadview. All passengers must leave the train. Shuttle buses will be waiting to take you to Woodbine subway for those wishing to go further East.”
Now this definitely impacts me as I am travelling the Bloor/Danforth line. I thought, hmmm, ok, this will be a nightmare because trains are bailing people out at Broadview, it will be pandemonium, pushing, shoving etc. I stood back like a tourist watching the crowd.
Hoards of people like bees swamped the stairways and escalators. The platform at Broadview was packed and shuttle buses were yet to be dispatched. I had no intension of staying in that mess. Being familiar with the area I strategized alternatives. I boarded the Broadview streetcar to Gerrard & Broadview where I intended to board the streetcar going to main station, then a bus home. As I sat on the streetcar I thought about what “personal injury” meant, it is code for suicide attempts-death by subway trains. It meant sadly that there were two jumpers, one on the Yonge/University line and one on the Bloor/Danforth line within hours of each other. My heart went out to the families who at the time were yet to be told and begin to deal with the impact of their loved ones decisions.
I got off at the intersection of Gerrard and Broadview and boarded the Carlton Street car going east to Main Subway Station. Ten minutes into the ride the streetcar driver announced,
“attention passengers, this streetcar will be short turning at Coxwell, if you wish to go further to Main Subway Station you will have to get off at Coxwell and wait for the other streetcar going to main.”
There were collective groans as many of the passengers like me came from subway and were using this alternate route.
“Oh for craps sakes,” I said loudly, “at this rate I’d be home by midnight.”
Everyone started to laugh. We all exited the streetcar at coxwell and waited for the other streetcar to arrive. The blessing in the storm, it was not an overly cold night.
7:15 I boarded the streetcar with my fingers crossed hoping it will be indeed going to Main Subway Station without any further delays. As we neared Main station the streetcar driver announce,
“the East/West (Bloor/Danforth) line is now running.”
Everyone cheered. At Main Station I decided to go back down to the subway as the bus schedule indicated another 20 minute wait before my bus arrived. I had no such patience, it was whittled away with the endless stops, bail outs and transfers. Down to the subway I went. The drive was smooth and uneventful. My bus was waiting at the platform when I arrived. I quickly boarded and arrived home safely, it was 8:20 pm.
It took 2 hours and 20 minutes for a normally 45 minute ride home. I was a little inconvenienced but safe. I thought to the two people who made the sad choice to end their lives and know for those closest to them the hurricane impact will be dynamically and powerfully heart wrenching. I experienced just a ripple, set backs in the form of delays and transfers. I had to endure (though minor) the wave of inconvenience, an indirect consequence of another’s choice.
So you see, our choices, no matter how small has a ripple effect. This does not mean that we stop making choices. It simply means we ought to be become more mindful, more aware, more conscious of the choices we make for just as our choices impact others so does their choices impact us.
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