For the past four days my wife Gimalle and I, along with thousands of fellow Calgarian’s, have been living with no electricity or water.
On Saturday night an underground explosion in an electrical station wiped out power to an area covering approximately 25 city blocks.
They say the true test of a person occurs not when things are going well but when things are going wrong and over the past four days I have had ample opportunity to witness and witness how folks respond when things don’t always go according to plan.
I am a member of our condo Board of Directors so I immediately went down to the lobby of one of our buildings moments after we lost all power and, along with fellow Board members took whatever steps we deemed necessary to ensure the safety of all residents.
For the following 48 hours, with two tiny breaks to catch up on some sleep, both Gimalle and I camped out in the lobby providing whatever assistance we could and we have been overwhelmed by the spirit of cooperation and offers of assistance from the majority of our neighbours.
Our condo complex comprises two high-rise towers with some 400 to 500 residents and there was a steady stream of folks offering to do whatever was necessary to maintain continuity and functionality of our buildings.
This blog is not about those gallant folks.
Today I would like to introduce a new habit – The Habit of Dealing with It – and spend a little time sharing with you some of the experiences we encountered in our interactions with a tiny minority of our residents.
Let’s put this in perspective. At the time of writing we are now entering our fifth day with no order and no electricity. We are all safe, our building is secure and there have been no injuries or fatalities. We are blessed to live in a city with vast resources to throw at solving these types of situations and our city resides inside a province with even greater resources that have been made available to us.
In short, this is no more than a minor inconvenience.
A quick search of the internet tells us that just last week, some 6 natural disasters around the planet claimed the lives of dozens of people, injured hundreds more and lived thousands of people homeless.
Many of these disasters occurred in countries where help is not only not coming soon, it is not coming at all. These folks are left to fend for themselves with scant resources, limited infrastructure and, worst of all, no hope.
Most of the folks in our buildings and, those in the general area with whom I came in contact, were all somewhat stoic in their response to the situation and most went about quietly making arrangements to continue with their lives and not to allow disruptions of this kind to slow them down in any way.
These folks have all mastered The Habit of Dealing with It. They understand that sometimes life does not always deal us the hand we wish to play, but that the game goes on regardless. They also understand that as long as you stay in the game, then losing a few hands here and there are of little significance.
This blog is not about these people either.
We have had the extreme displeasure of interacting with a small group of whiners for whom this event has become far more catastrophic and devastating than any of the natural disasters referred to above.
From the little princess whose life was destroyed because she couldn’t charge her cell phone and demanded that we “do something about this, or else” to the middle-aged lady who proclaimed to all who would listen that “I can’t take this anymore I’m getting out of this $#!+hole,” we witnessed human helplessness, unwarranted anger and indescribable stupidity.
We were ordered by the Fire Marshall to evacuate and shutdown our parkade. I drove to my office and hastily printed 300 notices which we distributed to each unit and placed in common areas advising residents that after 6 PM on Sunday they would not be able to get their vehicles in, or out of, the garage.
We explained the reason – the potential threat of rising carbon monoxide levels – and at 6:30 PM we blocked off the entrances and placed a security guard at the top of the ramp to ensure that the garage remain empty.
Apparently the threat of death by carbon monoxide poisoning is not sufficient to deter those who feel their rights are being trampled on and we spent several hours dealing with people demanding they be allowed access to the vehicles or we would be sued into the middle of next year.
The more we attempted to explain the safety reasons behind actions the more desperate some became in their efforts to insult and belittle us.
On Sunday morning, at 4:30 AM, I, along with one of our security guards posted signs informing residents had access to the garbage disposal rooms was prohibited. We also placed yellow caution tape outside of the access areas.
By 11:30 that morning at least seven people chosen to duck under the yellow tape and enter those rooms. When we questioned them as to why they would risk their lives to dispose of garbage two of them explained that they were just “too stressed out to carry their garbage all around to the back of the building.”
The Habit of Dealing with It is one that allows practitioners to convert adversityinto adaptability and clearly those folks who caused us the most grief, complained the most and wrapped themselves in the pathetic discomfort of self-pity would benefit greatly by embracing this.
They clearly don’t realize how lucky they are to become stressed out by such tiny first world issues. I wonder how they would survive should they ever have to deal with real serious stuff.
The Habit of Dealing with It. Ignore it at your own peril.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.