Day V9: Suburban Shock - Caucasian - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2024

Day V9: Suburban Shock

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There was one heck of a lot of riding in the suburbs today and some immense shock with that.  The shock could be summed up in 5 parts

1.  It is much easier to bike around than expected, even far out of the city

2. Distances are massive and things are so spread out

3.  Road rage is a serious problem and vibes are unnecessarily tense

4.  Those people who want to make a change will do so, those who don't just leave them alone

5.  Housing most certainly is being built

A lot of planning and strategizing had to go into today because there were four main goals, and I wanted to create a gigantic circle on the bike to tackle them in the right order.  To cut down the biking distance a little, I could get the bike on the skytrain and ride it to the terminal station in Central Surrey, which is a suburb south of Vancouver.  That I did and began the massive loop on the bike.

First of all was to pay my respects to my parents.  They are buried in a very large cemetery at the far south of the suburb, almost as far as the US border.  The ride there was surprisingly easy, and the bike lane infrastructure developed in a way I didn't remember at all before.  The only problem, and it was a big one, was a section of road under construction with one lane in each direction.  Following the strategy I always use in Thailand, I rode on the unfinished side of the road.  This was on the other side of the cones and as far away from traffic as possible.  A very good thing I did this, because the car traffic was extremely heavy and congested.  A man in a SUV was tailing a woman driving a van and they were yelling at each other back and forth using choice words.  The anger was unprecedented and uncalled for, and I thought someone was going to pull out a gun.  Then a mere 500 meters later, the construction crew were all smiling and waving at me riding the bike.  Unreal.  I told them to watch out as there was some road rage coming their way.

But then as I took stock of the situation, it was a beautiful lovely day with perfect sunshine weather now going a week in a row.  Again it was no different than Pattaya in January.  And the question has to be asked, "Would something like that happen over there?"  HELL NO!  So why here?  Why all these ridiculous tense vibes?  What is the reason why drivers are so angry?  Besides that, both of them were oversize and likely never working out a day in their lives.  What I saw in that instance was absolutely everything wrong with American culture in one package.   

Unfortunately, things weren't so peaceful and quiet at my parents' gravesite either.  They were doing construction work on the nearby building and the work crew basically spoiled the mood.  But what can you do?  I tried my best to tune them out, pay my respects, and move on.  First 20km biking done.

Next up, meet another friend from high school who lives out in Langley with her husband, another 15km away.  This couple has gone through so many hard times it would fill pages.  I'll try to sprinkle some of their story in as the blog goes on.  I hadn't had a chance to meet Anita since probably 15 years ago, maybe more, and it was the first time meeting her husband.  Needless to say the meeting was long overdue and we had a ton to catch up on.  

The only problem was that things are so far apart that the center part of Langley was still 7km away from out meeting point so it would take awhile to get there.  I told them to order whatever they wanted and I would join soon.  Meanwhile, I had to do a bank errand and replace a debit card when HSBC was taken over by Royal Bank.  Those sons of bitches never even mailed me a replacement card, so it wasn't lost in the mail in China after all as I had thought.

While I was doing my bank business, an irate customer in the line yelled out, "Can we get more tellers here?  Can't you see we're all waiting in line?  What is this, even a bank?  I want my fucking money.  And look at you guys, nobody even looks up when I'm yelling here.  Fucking hell."  He then stormed off.

This was all proving to be an immense culture shock.  Before this happened while I was in line, an older woman struck up a conversation and pointed out to me some hairstyle of a customer being served and she said, "It seems everyone is doing their hair after these famous NBA players."  She went on to describe them in detail.  I told her, "It looks like a great style, but honestly I haven't a clue about all these references.  I have been out of the country for a very long time and am back here on vacation."  Naturally this led to asking where I worked and I told her.  She was gobsmacked and said, "Well, welcome back!"  This just added to the culture shock.  To say I was a foreigner in my own country was an understatement to say the least.

Bank errand done I then realized the distance involved to meet Anita and set off.  By now it was above 30 degrees and of course there had to be a massive hill to climb.  When we got to the restaurant, we enjoyed a great meal and I appreciated how they were nice not to take advantage too much.  I was footing the whole bill and told them so ahead of time.  They have no transportation, their car got repossessed and they just moved into a new place.  They collect money from the government in various forms and also rely on the food banks.  After an amazing conversation, unfortunately I had to rush off to my fitness class (again back where the bank was) and we forgot to take a picture.

Class finished, Anita then mentioned we didn't get a picture and I was like oh shit.  Well there may be a way to solve this.  I was going to meet my next friend nearby for beers and asked if he would be ok if we all just met as a big group and got a picture?  Well unfortunately he said no.  Another case of culture shock:  if this was in Asia, people would combine friends together as a larger group.  It's a lot more efficient this way as today would certainly prove if we could have pulled it off.  I'm doing all this socializing on a bike, since I don't have a fucking car as he does.  But no, it had to be separate visits with separate friends and me biking my dick off.  Anyways, it is what it is.  I told him because of all this we would have to cut it short, just a couple of drinks and then bounce.  After this, I was biking up the hill again.

Later on Anita said not to worry about it, maybe this guy has social anxiety or something.  We then had another meal, all on my dime of course, but it was voluntary and I was putting this under my giving budget.  The waitress was gobsmacked when she saw all this and said, "So you're the famous guy coming from China, we've heard all about you." as they had told her.  When she saw me pull out a fat ass wallet with all sorts of credit cards and the fact I would pay for all this at the drop of a hat, I just had to brag a bit to her.  "Well I trade stocks you know".  She then suggested, "Dessert anyone?"  and of course we did.  Charge it to the brokerage account.

While we had a great time, the main purpose of this wasn't to show off, I wanted to catch up and try to help them turn their lives around.  They seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, and from the conversation it looked like Anita really took it seriously.  She mentioned how she was going to look for part time jobs, start selling stuff, and do whatever possible to save $1000 for a starter emergency fund.  Later on she would start a budget and then begin to chip away at the myriad of debts.  Meanwhile there were many other friends helping her too, and both of them had seen major life changes already.  Their new Chinese landlord was super kind and also willing to get them back on their feet.  They lived in a beautiful new basement suite that literally just got built a few months ago.  

The fact that so many people were willing to help them out gave me hope for their future.  Whatever small part I could play in the grand plan to transform their lives was the least I could do.  Despite some people talking shit about me this trip and accusing me of being selfish, they will never understand in a million years how a sigma male operates.  When we choose very carefully who to be generous to and who to help out, we don't hold back.  The goal we have is to make contributions for good and to enhance the value of things in this world.  We are very strategic about it, and we sure as hell don't make excuses, complain, and bitch like 99% of others out there. 

In this case, for example, I knew this couple was receptive to change.  The end goal is to have them start managing their finances, learning how to budget, and getting out of the debt and crisis cycle.  It might very well take 5 years or so to happen, but then and only then would stock trading be something on the table for them.

With such a delightful visit, two meals now, it was going to be a long bike ride back.  It took at least another 25 km.

Today's ride: 75 km (47 miles)
Total: 284 km (176 miles)

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