Is your glass of sprinkles* half empty or half full?

This post is a little bit simplistic. Certainly not my finest.  I know. It started because of some delightful paintings my sister has been doing of Bajan bus stops. Also simple. And beautiful. Then it got me thinking about transportation in Toronto and somehow I ended up with sprinkles. Random I know.  A bit Forrest Gump. Again I’m sorry. I have good intentions too.

I have always thought of myself as a little bit of a pessimist, a worrier, a hypochondriac. And yes, a little bit ‘OCD’ if you read my last story about Nana and Dettol. Recently, however, I have been trying my best to change those little voices in my head and pivot just enough to think about my own neurosis. Right now, my best is this jar of sprinkles*.

But first, I know on the surface it appears rather basic, but let’s think about Barbados for a minute. Life is pretty simple in Barbados. Does not matter if you live there, or if you are a visitor. Now I am not suggesting that everything in Barbados is perfect. Far from. The saying: no such thing as paradise has always been true. Several issues plague the island of a political, economic and environmental nature. Way too deep for the scope of my blog because let’s be honest, you cannot really talk about sprinkles* and politics without wanting to throw the (*insert profanity) jar. Let’s just say that I am trying to share a KISS with you. Keep It Simple Silly. And for the record, I think the original saying includes the word stupid but I really do not like that word. And that is about as negative as I want to be today. But the KISS message I believe in. And sprinkles*.

Take a simple example like transportation in Barbados. To this very day, there are only two types of bus stops. One says: To City. The other says: Out of City.

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[Artist credit: My beautiful sister, Erica Carter]

Pretty profound when you really stop and think about it. If you ain’t coming, you’re going. You choose. There’s always a choice.

When I was 19 I moved to Toronto to study. It is where I live today. I also love Toronto. A choice I made. Transportation is slightly different. Alright, a lot different. Streetcars, buses, subways, trains. There are shortcomings in Toronto as well. It works. But yes it could be better. Take the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). If you are a rider you will not need an explanation. If you are not, however, the best way I can describe it is like looking into that jar of sprinkles*. That’s a whole lot of people standing very close to each other in a single jar. Unlike a jar of sprinkles*, however, being on the subway is not so pretty when you are the sprinkle at the bottom of the jar and your station is pulling up. It is not easy to get on or off the subway in rush hour. I have stood closer to people on the subway than I have ever stood beside my own husband. There is no such thing as the ability to respect another person’s space. Because there is no space. Look at those sprinkles*. Not a lot of wiggle room, is there?

But this is also a city where you can use a free App like Rocket Man to find out not only the location of your preferred bus stop, but the Arrival Time of the next bus and each time to follow should you be running late. You can even select the Bus Location and see the cutest little red and white cartoon bus on a map and watch it move closer to your stop.

We are a family that is often running late. I chalk it up to “island time”. Each morning when my teenagers are just about ready to leave, they say to me as they hustle to pack up their bags, books, jackets, lunch, TTC tickets:

“When is the next bus coming?”

And just like that, I grab my phone and make the transformation. I literally turn into a visionary with superhero-like (*insert profanity) powers. Call me Rocket Woman. Sorry folks, I checked already, there is no App for that. Rachel, take note of the idea before it finds another host. Anyways, the App gives me wisdom beyond my wildest imagination. To the nearest minute, at least.

It works too. Could be better. A whole lot better. I am not going to lie. But we can’t have everything we want, even if we pay taxes. So maybe there is another way to look at it. Like the saying, the glass is either half empty, or half full. Add the word “sprinkles” to your state of mind. Either way you look at it, the glass is beautiful.

*sprinkles has many different names… way too many to share: ‘hundreds and thousands’ if you are from the UK, New Zealand or Australia. ‘hagelslag’ or ‘muisjes’ if you are from the Netherlands (Dutch translation: “little mice”). How cute is that? ‘nonpareils’ if you are from France. ‘chispitas’ if you are from Spain. Or good old ‘jimmies’ if you are from some parts of the US. Doesn’t matter where you live. Life is beautiful if you are willing to stop and take a closer look.

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