Archive for April, 2016


P&Y Story Contest – 2nd Place

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Salvaged Parts, by Rawel Sidhu


“Mr. Drumpf, the doctor can see you now.” With much effort, the disheveled man turned to face the voice that was beckoning him to come forward. “Finally,” he blubbered, “You folks sure like to keep an old man waiting. Probably been sittin’ here for a week I reckon, maybe even a bit – “his words were cut short however as a throbbing wave of pain enveloped his frail body. Clenching his teeth so not to succumb to the sudden onset of nausea, he allowed himself to be escorted down the hallway of an increasingly winding corridor. The lifeless white walls of the hospital did an admirable job of muffling the screeching wheels of his walker. He’d oil them later when they finally release him from this godforsaken place he thought, and with a grim smile bemused, if they release me.

“Please have a seat,” encouraged the young nurse, “Dr. Sidhu will be with you shortly.” She had grown rather attached to the stubborn old man sitting slouched before her. At first, she had been put-off by his obnoxious and grouchy behavior. His hard-to-please attitude had won him the scorn and contempt from her entire department, and as the youngest addition to the oncology nursing unit, she had – involuntarily – become his primary caretaker. But as the months progressed, she grew to recognize and appreciate the events leading up to his admittance at the B. K. Hospital – events that undoubtedly shaped his now cynical nature towards others. “Well he damn well better! Else I’ll write up a complaint directed straight to the Ministry of Health! He’ll be sued into the Stone Age! My son is a medical malpractice lawyer!” While the disgruntled patient continued listing a tirade of threats (detailing a rather lengthy procedure riddled with lawsuits and litigation), the nurse couldn’t help but smile sadly: they both knew his frail hands were too weak to even write his first name. Also, his records indicated he had no family to speak of.

Dr. Sidhu was usually a bubbly and animated ball of energy wherever he went, so the old man was surprised to see him walk somberly into the room. In lieu of a corny joke that no one laughed to except for himself, the oncologist instead reached for a clipboard on his desk and stared blankly at its contents. After a terse few seconds of silence, he finally looked up and acknowledged the visibly annoyed patient sitting across from him. “Tell me Mr. Drumpf, if you could do anything other than stay cooped-up in this stuffy old hospital all day…what would you do?” The question caught the man by surprise. Dr. Sidhu had always focused on the positive parts of his time spent at the hospital, so to hear him speak of it in a negative light was very out of the ordinary. “What do you mean,” he managed to spit out, “I usually don’t have time to think before I’m rushed off to do another test or see another white-coated-know-it-all who wants to run yet another analysis or examination. Why do you ask?” With a deep and willful sigh, the spectacled doctor replied, “I’m not one to beat around the bush, and my experiences tell me neither are you…so here’s the good and honest truth. The experimental drugs are not working. The cancer has metastasized to other parts of your body. At best you have another three to four weeks.” Although he spoke with hushed clarity and deliberation, Dr. Sidhu’s words echoed their way down the hall. Unbeknownst to both men, a young woman who had donned her graduation cap just two-months ago smothered a soft cry.

The doctor was no novice to giving ill-fated prognoses – it came with the territory – so imagine his surprise when instead of weeping in self-pity, or flailing out in anger, he instead was met with a hearty chuckle. “Guess I can stop taking my vitamins then. Those iron pills you prescribed felt like they were rusting up my system anyhow.” The oncologist said nothing; experience told him it was best to let the patient do most of the talking from this point on. “So tell me doctor…do ‘ya think you can grant this old man one final wish?” Last-minute requests were not uncommon. “What did you have in mind,” replied Dr. Sidhu, “If it is reasonable and within my capacity, I will do my best to carry it out.” Now grinning, his patient gestured towards his purple jacket. “It’s clear everything around here is completely shot,” he said with his trembling fingers pointing at his sternum, “But do ‘ya think there’s anything worth salvaging elsewhere?”

It took a moment for the request to be registered, but when it finally did a gradual smile began making its way across the doctor’s face. “There’s a young man in ward six that desperately needs a new kidney.” Eyes twinkling and with a sly grin, the terminally-ill patient dug out a small carton of cigarettes from his fluorescent-yellow pants, pulled one out, lit it, and took in a long drag – much to the bemused look of the oncologist. “Let’s get ‘er done then!” Today he thought, the no-smoking policy would take a day off.
Stripping apart old bikes and salvaging working parts always leaves me with a sense of admiration. As an aspiring doctor myself, I find the act comparable to those who donate their organs. In that moment, an otherwise defunct machine is able to impart its best qualities to strangers it will never meet, so that it can be immortalized in journeys it will never ride.

As Shakespeare so adamantly said in Sonnet 18:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

 


 

P&Y Story Contest- 1st Place

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

It will make you smile; it will make you reminisce about your first months on campus; and most importantly it will make you want to get your hands on a P&Y. Here is the 1st place winner of our P&Y Story Contest. Enjoy!

Ode to my first campus bike 

By Jordan Mackinnon

The first time I saw you

you weren’t much to look at

let’s be honest

rusted

a patchy paintjob

purple and yellow

even on the cranks and pedals

stranded by Koerner’s indifferent glass

with one of your wheels locked

bent and flat

 

I’d been in the city all of a few months

on campus

the city inside the city

even less

still learning the paths

the places to hide

to cheat

to sit and think

take in all the beauty like a deep breath

 

I had a bike

that kinda fit

and kinda didn’t

and I rode it

anyway

but you

you were my size

your seatpost wasn’t seized

and your drop bars beckoned

so pulled out my key for your lock

earned just a few weeks prior

 

It was raining that day

when I dragged you back to the Kitchen

 

Then

the next Tuesday

I found you a new

(used) wheel

pried the tire off

with my soft undergrad fingers

pulled

finessed

torqued and bent

adjusted

until you were hardly rusted

your wheels spun true

and your chain moved quietly through all the gears

as it had certainly done

at some point

before

 

That first test ride I knew

I should keep you safe

locked you up to a little known bike rack

by the stony grad-student-income residences

ran back and made it in time for pizza

 

You were still there the next morning

it was raining then too

the November day already doomed to grey

me a bit early for class

ready

 

I turned the key

unwrapped the cable

set my foot on the pedal

and pushed

 

Here we go

 

Main mall became a cobbled combination

obstacle course and drag race

down past Scarfe

weaving amongst slow-moving umbrellas

on the way the Forestry

rip down the sidewalk to West Mall

dodging more plodding figures

passed the swing space

then hammering up Thunderbird toward Wesbrook

overtaking some timid Toyota

 

I was getting wet and could not have cared less

 

Hooked left on Westbrook

running the light

getting intimate with the line of traffic

passing the buses heading to the loop

pedaling

the sound of leaving home

on something I’d fixed on my own

I grinned

coasting by the faces and the cars

thinking how

now we both have another chance

to belong

 


 

Practice Putting Your Bike on the Bus

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

If there’s something that frustrates every cyclist, it’s attempting to stick your bike on the front of the 99 while  everyone gets on. You’re stuck outside in the rain, not quite sure what to do with all those yellow handles and everyone else is safely on the bus. The driver is trying to point at something and mouthing you words, but you can’t tell what they are saying through the windshield. By the time you have figured out how to get the weird metal arm into the right spot to keep your bike from toppling off the bus, you kind of wish you had just left your bike at home! Or perhaps the idea of all that has kept you from even attempting to get your bike on the bus in the first place. If the answer is yes, read on, there is a solution!

True, it can be stressful to get a bike onto the bus at first, but after practicing a few times it’s no big deal. It is worth learning how to do because using the bus to supplement your bike commute can be really useful. Each bus has space for two bicycles on the front, and bikes are also welcome on the SkyTrain. Maybe you want to go for a ride on Bowen Island, but you’d rather not bike to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Maybe you biked this morning but now its pouring rain and you’re not up for getting soggy. Making use of this cool part of our public transit system opens up a lot of options for traveling near and far.

If only there were somewhere quiet and peaceful to test out these mystical bike racks. Well you can find a rack just for that, right across from the AMS Bike Co-op Office in the basement of the old SUB on the far west side. It’s pretty quiet there, the old SUB isn’t exactly bustling with activity. The Co-op is the only club over there, and we won’t watch, we promise. Come try it out so you can start biking and bussing like a pro.

Check out TransLink’s video explaining how the bike racks work.