A Fresh Bit of Perspective

Joel's Journal - January 3, 2018 - Volume 3 - Entry #3


A Fresh Bit of Perspective

Driving through Toronto in the early morning is like driving through one of the world’s largest old growth forests, if that forest were made of metal and glass. 

The thin sky scrapers along the Gardiner Expressway reach high into the sky, and you have to stretch your neck back to try and catch a glimpse of the top, like someone peering into the canopy of a forest for small birds flitting about in the branches. 

There’s also a weird dichotomy that exists in the early hours. There’s so much light, but everything seems bathed in darkness. Perhaps a good allegory for our world today. 

There’s red running lights of the cars on the road around me, there’s the spiky orbs of the streetlights that hang along the edge of the highway, and there’s the checkered squares of light that randomly speckle the rising walls of buildings. It all comes together in a milky aura that glows, but in the morning hours, it’s like the world has slid down the dimmer switch. 

There’s also the shadows. The black masses that smother the road the sky and any piece of window that is left dark, covering it all like black moss. 

I noticed it all as I rubbed sleep from my eyes and cruised down the highway. 

It was about 6:30 in the morning, and I’d just dropped M off at work before making my way back to the Don Valley Parkway that would take me out of the downtown core. 

Now, ideas for these posts are always kicking around inside my head, and I usually save them for when the day doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to an exciting story. So, like gum balls in a machine, all I need to do is turn the lever and an idea falls out. 

Today I thought would be one of those days. Laying my head on the pillow last night, I thought to myself. 

It’s Wednesday. Wednesdays are usually for planning and emails. Essentially more housekeeping like Tuesday afternoon. So, we’ll need something else. 

So, I’d decided that I would write today about productivity and time management. For me, it’s a topic I read a lot about and something that I’m always trying to get better at. 

We only have one life and a limited amount of hours, I want to be sure to be making the most of them. Also, as a guy with many passions (writing, photography, journalism, etc), I need to be sure to manage my time appropriately so that no passion project falls by the wayside. I want to accomplish a lot, and like I said, there’s only a limited amount of hours to do it in. 

However, something on my morning commute caused me to drop that idea. And it’s pretty tragic. 

Early this morning, two people died in a violent car crash on Highway 401. I’m not sure of all the details yet, but here’s a bit of information. 

I saw the news bit on CP24 this morning before leaving with M, but because it happened in the collector lanes, I figured I could make my way on the the Express lanes and bypass the traffic. 

However, as Green Day’s Dookie album reached it’s halfway point on my speakers and I rolled around the curve for the on-ramp to the 401, I realized my assumption had been mistaken. The Express was also closed and I was forced to join the sea of red lights slowing inching along the collector lanes toward the eventual exit at Warden, about three kilometres up the road. 

I swore under my breath, turned the music up louder, and stewed in my frustration, bathed in the red glow of the brake lights in front of me. 

Looking around, I could see others slamming their steering wheels, some shaking their heads, throwing their hands up in frustration. And then there were others honking their horns and trying to weave in and out of the vehicles in an attempt to speed up their commute, displeased that such an inconvenience would dare come about in their lives. 

I empathized with the frustration, but I quickly dispelled it. It’s honestly a habit I’ve gotten into in all traffic situations (they come about a lot when you’re commuting in and out of Toronto), especially when there’s an accident involved. 

In this case, two people are now dead. Two people’s lives ripped off this earth quicker than the time it takes to type the word “gone”. That’s two families, siblings, friends, co-workers, a whole collective of people who are probably only hours away from learning someone they know, or love is gone for good. 

And you’re sitting in your car pissed off because all of this has inconvenienced your drive to work?

To that, I only say, put things in fucking perspective.

I did get to work, and on-time too. 

It wasn’t even 8 a.m. 

The rest of the day went really smooth. 


Thanks for reading!



Joel Wittnebel