Observations of an ex-pat who has moved back home

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As a Newfoundlander who lived away for 23 years and just returned to The Rock, I am struck by changes, whether positive, disappointing or ugly.

St. John’s and the Avalon are booming, consumers have more choice and the weather is better. The downside is as markedly different — traffic congestion, fewer people speaking with an accent, and our culture of kindness and politeness is weaker.

This week I was gobsmacked by another disheartening trend: more fast, reckless and impatient drivers, spurred on by the pursuit of some higher goal, like making an extra buck or going nowhere fast.

I was on my bike on Pinebud Avenue in St. John’s and construction was up ahead. So a few motorists and I had to wait one minute. For one of these motorists, this inconvenience must have been life-threatening as he or she lay on the horn despite the road being blocked by heavy equipment. This was especially jarring given that a highway worker was recently crushed to death on the west coast. What this driver did not ponder before blasting the horn was that these people are working on our roads that take us safely from points A to B. They brave the elements through dust storms, tar and heat. Their work benefits our city and they risk their lives. They deserve more than just a little bit of respect. Our vehicular and personal safety depends on them.

Next time, take a deep breath and utter a silent thank you, rather than blaring your horn or, even worse, trying to drive through the construction and risking lives. And by doing this, you will be helping strengthen our culture of kindness, instead of taking chunks out of it.

David Coish

St. John’s

Geographic location: Pinebud Avenue

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