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Is Toronto Complacent?

MoFo

TRIBE Member
A while ago, I was talking with a friend about how he witnessed a girl on the subway obviously being followed. And he felt bad that he didn't do anything about it.

And this summer, I found that friends were really reluctant to help a drunk man who was lying on the road near the curb. My first instinct was to pick the guy up and drag him to the sidewalk (at least).

And all too many times, I've seen people not give up their seats to someone who has a physical disability or a baby in their arms. And the worse is when a mother can't get her baby up subway stairs about 10 people whizz by her when she is obviously frustrated.

I'm rarely a complacent person. I react. And sometimes it backfires. I'll get told to butt out or get myself in an argument if I am trying to help someone out.

Last night was really cold. And I saw a man waiting for the streetcar. So I told the cabbie to let him in and we could drop him off on the way downtown. The cabbie was really surprised and kept trying to get money out of the guy. But I wouldn't let the guy pay. I mean, whatever. Do any other people do this when they're alone in a cab? Pick up strangers?

I haven't lived in other cities before but I've noticed that people in Toronto tend to want to ignore things, not deal with situations.

What's the deal? Are people just ignorant? Or just scared to get involved because they fear for their own safety? Or is Toronto just generally made up of complacent people?

EDIT: I'm talking about the downtown core. Because acts of kindness are pretty common in the suburbs or the outskirts like Rexdale, Weston, hell, even Scarlem. Something about downtown that irks me.
 
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LeoGirl

TRIBE Member
scared to get involved because they fear for their own safety
I think this pretty much says it. On more than a few occassions I've been in the presence of some pretty scary stuff. Saw a guy stabbed on Spadina, saw a that little light flashing on the back of a Taxi that says "call 911 if this light is flashing", saw a drunk guy trying to get hit by cars on the QEW. In ALL these cases I've called 911 but left the scene (or didn't follow the taxi).


acts of kindness are pretty common in the suburbs
don't fool yourself. suburbians (at least in my experience) are way colder than people downtown. Way to self absorbed to even notice when something is wrong.
 
I don't think so Sunny - when push comes to shove most people will act. If they don't, I don't think it has anything to do with being downtown versus on the edge of the city, it has more to do with group and individual psychological response to scary/unusual shit.
 

shortbus

TRIBE Member
ok, time for another 'what the fuck is up toronto?'
story from me.
note* i have weird luck, if something bizzare is going to happen, it will be either to me, or around me.


i was walking down university, i had just left the greyhound station and was heading twoards the st.patrick subway.

a sadly drunk and dishevled man approached me for money. i diddnt have any change on me, so i shook my head and said 'sorry not right now'.

SO HE DECIDED TO PUNCH ME IN THE FACE!

hard right in the nose and mouth.

i stood there shocked as he ran off.

just then two college aged guys came running around the corner twoards me.
they stopped to ask if that man had just hit me, and if i was ok. i said yes, and that i was fine.

a girl that saw what had happened stopped to stay with me and see if i was okay
while the two guys took off after the man that hit me.

apparantly when they rounded the other corner after him, they found him trying to beat up a man who was fending him off with an umbrella.

they chased him down, and hauled him to the nearby police station, with me in tow to press charges.




these guys that helped me were amazingly kind and decent people.
although they hauled the man to the sation against his will, they remained sensitive to the fact that he had obvious mental health problems. and did treat him with respect when he tried to talk to them.

the cops we assholes as usual. but whatever.

anyway
WHAT THE FUCK IS UP TORONTO?!! I WAS LUCKY, BUT GET OFF YOUR FUCKING ASSES WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE ELSE IN TROUBLE!
 
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You would see someone in a small town picking up people from bus stops as much as you would in a city. In fact, I'd bet it would happen far less what with people's fear of picking up strangers in their own cars (versus it being a thousand times safer with a cabbie and not in your own car).
 
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shortbus

TRIBE Member
this all has to do with delisting of mental health assistance and the government destorying social services.

it means the people that need constant observation and assistance are being recycled onto the street.

the guy that hit me didnt have a clue what he was doing and shouldve been in a heavily monitored group home instead of on the street.

it was not his personal failures that lead to this.

it was a failure of the system.

im sure hes back on the streets by now.

the cop tried to convince me that he would get help, i dont think so.

the cop told me that he would recieve medication, but wouldnt take it.

i blatantly told the cop "thats because he doesnt understand he has to take it, he needs monitoring, now whos going to do that? you? please dont try to convince me that this problem will be solved, hes just going to be recycled into the system and its sad"
 

diablo

TRIBE Member
I picked up hitchhikers in Collingwood last weekend.

But they were attractive girls, so it probably doesn't count. :p
 

Gunark

TRIBE Member
Here is my complacency story:

A few years ago, when I was living on Adelaide near Jarvis, I found a homeless person sleeping on the stairs into my apartment. It was bitterly cold, minus 30, and the guy was flat out on his back with no jacket. What's worse, it looked like he wasn't breathing.

I ran upstairs, found the number for the homeless assistance line. They called 911 and told me to wait downstairs next to the guy. So I go downstairs, and now the guy is not only breathing again, but snoring loudly like he's having the best sleep of his life. Two firetrucks and an ambulance show up, pick up the guy, and tell me this is the third time this week that they're picking up this same guy.


Lesson learned: never go out of your way to help homeless people.
 
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Gunark

TRIBE Member
On another note though, many years ago, not long after I moved downtown, I remember seeing a guy out cold in the middle of the sidewalk at Yonge and Queen. This was around lunch hour on a busy summer weekday. People were just stepping right over him, like a piece of garbage. And it's not like he was just passed out sleeping. It looked like he had just collapsed right there.

The sad part---I stepped right over him and kept on walking too, thinking someone more qualified (a doctor) will come along and do something.



Anyway I don't think this is a "Toronto" issue. It's a big city issue. But a big part of the problem, I think, has to do with commuter suburbanites, who come here for a few hours a day and leave. None of them feel attached to this place. It's not their community. The working commuters resent this place, because they associate it with work and stress, and the weekend clubgoers just treat it like an amusement park. None of them have a real attachment or sense of responsibility towards the city, and this attitude starts to premeate.... if you wanna see this to the extreme, look at any number of American cities and their urban decay. Detroit is a prime example. People need to live where they work, otherwise they stop caring.
 

terrawrist III

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by MoFo
A while ago, I was talking with a friend about how he witnessed a girl on the subway obviously being followed. And he felt bad that he didn't do anything about it.

exact same occurance happened to a girl at the runnymede stop...this freak was eyeing her and muttering stuff under his breath...the only thing he DIDN'T do to make her more uncomfortable was whip 'it" out.

I had this bad feeling that the look in his eye would lead to him following her when she got off at her stop(which happened to be mine!)...right when she got out he LEPT out at the last second and sped up and that's when I told her " don't worry...just walk"...and I basically walked backwards saying to the guy " what are you gonna do??" :D

he kept walking then looking at the tracks then quickly turned around

from that moment on I vowed to stand up to the freaks and druggies on mass transit simply for the fact that my actions detoured a possible violent situation
 

Skipper

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Gunark
But a big part of the problem, I think, has to do with commuter suburbanites, who come here for a few hours a day and leave. None of them feel attached to this place. It's not their community.
Agreed.
Not only that, but you have a whole bunch of people who live here but commute outside the city, like myself. during the week, I rarely spend anytime downtown other than at my own apartment, and I have often thought that that is part of the reason why I still don't feel toronto is home to me, or I don't feel a part of it, even after almost 3 years living downtown.
 

StreetDreams

TRIBE Member
who the fuck would pay a premium to live downtown in an overcrowded, smog infested, violent city with the worse smelling waterfront in the world? When i drive by the lakeshore I always pause when the smell first hits me and think "did i forget to wipe my ass?" but then i realize its the lake. Id rather go to a tribe party than live downtown.
 

vinder

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by StreetDreams
who the fuck would pay a premium to live downtown in an overcrowded, smog infested, violent city with the worse smelling waterfront in the world? When i drive by the lakeshore I always pause when the smell first hits me and think "did i forget to wipe my ass?" but then i realize its the lake. Id rather go to a tribe party than live downtown.
it's your BO dude, take a shower
 
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rubytuesday

TRIBE Member
I think people are complacent out of fear mainly, in the cases where someone else is in physical danger. Total bystander effect, as evidenced by poor Kitty Genovese. I've been followed enough times on the subway or street to be more assertive. I'll move away, mouth off, sit next to the biggest most scary looking man I can find.
I remember how scared I was the first time it happened, I didn't know what to do at all so I just tried to get away (by getting off the subway...smrt)! So if you see a situation where someone is clearly uncomfortable please just butt into the conversation, that's usually enough to get the creep to fuck off. Or if there's no conversation but still creepy behaviour chat the girl up, ask for the time, pretend you know her.
In cases of people not giving up seats or helping with strollers it's pure laziness combined with the shitty mindset of people in Toronto. Everyone's in such a rush, I find the subways brutal, no one looks you in the eye, everyone's stressed/sleep deprived. I offer to help if I see a mother (or sometimes fathers) struggling with a stroller or lots of bags.
I hate how people hide behind their newspapers as they take up two seats when others are standing. But the more serious issue that pisses me off is with the elderly who sometimes are visibly shaking and don't get offered a seat or even a better grip on a pole.
I think it's definitely the lack of a sense of community, because in smaller pockets of Toronto people will get involved more often in my experience.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
I lived down at John and Adelade for a solid couple of years. Great place and a total load of fun.

Occassionally you will look out over the street and see a couple of clubbers just go at it. Or you will see a drunk pain in the ass wander out and collapse against a building. Its not often but it does happen.

Rarely did I help these people. I know it sounds bad and I know it sounds horrible, but drunk people and fighting and stupidity tend to go togther. I'm somebody who does help, if your stuck on the side of the road I'll change your tire. I'm not necessarily complacent but I do ignore drunks and homeless people.

More than once because of a subway going down or a delay I would snag a cab. Each and everytime I offered the extra seat to others in the same boat, not a money thing more an issue that it just makes common sense. I will help someone who obviously needs it, but the mentally ill and the drunk and the homeless don't generally get my direct intervention, at best they get a cell call to the police or I tell the next police officer I see to go and take a look.
 
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