Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Back from my final scheduled trip of the season, my job having been abolished to offset dwindling ridership. Hard to believe this is my fourth season working on the rails now. It passed quickly, but I'm glad to see the end of it. Lots of other stuff to do.

Pretty quiet trip till we got to Jasper, more than five hours late. I wound up pitching in to help the dining car, so that they could serve all the new passengers in one sitting, instead of having people sit down for supper at 10 pm. I was thanked heartily for this by the dining car staff, but it wasn't really a selfless act. People generally, I find, have a very poor understanding of self-interest. By doing what I did, I didn't have to listen to people in my car bitching about how late they were being made to eat, nor did I have to try to appease them--and I didn't have to wait till 11 pm to have supper myself. Helping out just made sense. No, I didn't have to do it, but I saved passengers, co-workers, company and myself some grief in the process. Not to mention the fact that I knew it would be appreciated by my co-workers, which could only stand me in good stead down the road. A win-win-win-win situation. But I gather very few of my colleagues--my colleagues being a fairly representative sample of humanity--see their self-interest so clearly. I had a supervisor in Iqaluit who said that the truly lazy person does the job right the first time so he won't have to do it again. Simple philosophy, but as uncommon in practice as any other article of common sense. I'm thinking I need to re-read Bentham and J.S. Mill. I haven't read either since I was nineteen, and I think I was probably too idealistic at the time to appreciate their ideas properly.

So the GG shortlists have been announced. Naturally enough, I have some thoughts on the poetry list, but I'll save 'em for tomorrow, for I'm pooped.

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