Monday, 31 January 2011

Incongruity - a short story

Once there way a boy. He lived with his parents and two years older sister in a new flat to which the family had moved a few month earlier. The middle school the boy attended has topped the rankings for five years in a row, so it was decided that the boy would still attend it. The distance between the new flat and the school (five kilometres) necessitated every day commutes. However, they were not a nuisance, as the journey by bus lasted mere eight minutes, buses in the morning ran every five minutes and the bus stop was a stone's throw from the block where the family lived.

One winter morning when the temperature was hovering around zero, the boy and his sister were about to leave for school. The sister began going out with her first boyfriend just a few weeks ago and since then has much more cared about her appearance. Her boyfriend had promised to take her out after classes and she wanted to look really splendid. She occupied the only bathroom for over a quarter putting on make-up on her face. The boy did not want to come late to school, so he knocked at the bathroom door and asked his sister if she could let him in, because he wanted to a morning toiletry and go away. She was very busy tweaking with her eyelashes so she told her brother to get lost and wait his turn. After a few minutes she left the bathroom, the boy did what he had to go, put on his winter coat, shoes and set off towards the bus stop.

He knew he still stood a chance of catching the 7:43 service, so he marched towards the stop very briskly. When he was just twenty metres away, he saw his bus pulling up. He ran to the bus stop at full pelt to get into the vehicle. Unfortunately, the driver did not show sympathy for the hurrying boy and shut the door just before his face. The boy had to choice but to wait for the next bus, due in five minutes. The wind was gusty that morning, so, understandably, he decided to wait in a bus shelter.

A nineteen-year-old spaced-out student was returning home from a post-exam-period party in his also nineteen-year-old BMW (abbr. Burak Ma Wózek - Bumpkin has a cart). As he was approaching the bus lay-by it seemed to him another driver cut in on him. To avoid rear-ending the car, which was still on the other lane, he swerved swiftly. The car went into a skid in the icy road. Its driver, scared stiff, instead of skimming on the brakes pushed the accelerator pedal. The car did around 100 kmph when it smashed into the bus shelter. The boy had to chance to survive. He died at the scene.

Who should be held culpable for the boy's death?
Answer 1: His fastidious sister who had to finish doing her make-up?
Answer 2: The fastidious bus driver, who closed the door?


Brad Zimmerman said...

You could also consider blaming:

- The driver of the car (for not knowing how to drive in a skid or how to drive properly in poor conditions or for, possibly, being distracted or not paying attention)

- The city, for improperly salting or otherwise ensuring the roads are snow/ice-free

- The family for choosing to move further rather than closer to school yet not providing safe transportation for their children

You could also take a stab at blaming one or more supernatural beings ("God"), the boy himself, the school system for not providing transportation to the school, fate and or luck.

They are all, with the exceptions of the supernatural being, luck and fate some degree, responsible. That being said, sometimes shit happens. That's just life.

Michael Dembinski said...

Bartek - you are on TOP form here tonight! Please re-write in Polish and post it to Toyah:)

adthelad said...

Neither is to blame and neither wanted to cause him harm. However,if this is meant to be an analogy with respect to comments made recently by Jarosłąw Kaczyński, you (and Michał also) have obviously not done your homework with respect to what was actually said.

Just imagine you were the father of a girl who rushing for the night bus has the door slammed in her face by the driver only to be raped and murdured on the way home. There's a difference between being fastidious and being an onoxious dickhead.

Never mind. Must try harder.

P.S. Also read your Questions blog and your remark regarding facts is most poignant to this as to that case. First of all facts are not facts when it comes to GW and PiS and Lech/ Jarosław Kaczyński and secondly facts are not always the harbingers of truth. I started to write a reply to that post but soon realised it would take so much time to answer all the GW crap it just wasn't worth the bother.

student SGH said...

Sorry to hear you gave it up Adam.

You could have taken the trouble...

adthelad said...

There's just too much of it but take the Gruzja facts for example. The way they're presented it's as if the world revolves around the pilot and the president has no powers, has no right to clarify his powers, and has no right to act the way he did with respect to his own perceived duty, experience and geopolitical imperative within the confines of the powers and obligations bestowed by his Office. The Opposition has no right to make political capital by lambasting the pilot's actions, no right to impute they may have been politically instructed and has no right to question their military lawfulness. Who did Kaczyński and all the other presidents and prime minister think they were anyway? Who said they could go interfering in Russian operations?

Of course some may think that the way in which the 'pressure' card is being played (from the start) with respect to the plane crash at Smoleńsk is more than just coincidental and that it's not simply an added ironical bonus dealt by fate to the PR gurus in Moscow and their independent and scrupulous interstate aviation authority.

But that would be silly, wouldn't it?



Yagotta B. Kidding said...


Lubisz paradoxony? To czytaj o pytaniach i tym jak bardzo trudna jest sztuka odpowiadania na nie.

Odpowiedź wydaje się jedna i słuszna, lecz nic nie jest tak oczywiste, kiedy do głosu dochodzi człek światły i spragniony wiedzy - student.

lub tu:

BTW: why for all in the world do you think that dressing your thoughts into English will make you or if not that then at least these thoughts understandable?

Take me. I do make a lot of mistakes. However, I'd never resort to a tool I cannot handle well enough for the job.

Is it the tool that fascinates you and takes you FAR BEYOND the job you set out to accomplish? Let me guess: you are a land rat. Never been to high seas, always spinning around low to the ground, feet deep in clay - is it so?

Well, have courage. I wish you the best.


adthelad said...


Maybe I've misuderstood, but Your comment regarding student's use of English seems a bit below the belt. One only learns by practicing and by making mistakes - so why not write in English a little every day. A blog seems the perfect vehicle for such an enterprise.


Pan Steeva said...

I'm a great believer that emotional reasoning, rather than cold factual logical reasoning, has a much more important influence on our lives than we realise.

My immediate reaction to your answer was that neither were culpable and there is no way that they could be seen as such.

However, reword the question to be: who would feel guilty and/or who would Mum and Dad think was guilty? People's lives and families have been destroyed in similar circumstances because the sister feels complete guilt and/or the parents blame her for their son's death.

Look now at any Kaczyński analogy. Blaming the PO government does seem to fit this pattern, but blaming the Russians is something else entirely - the facts are still in question and, giving it conspiracy theory status, always will be. Either way though, is Kaczyński not acting completely normally in such circumstances?

By the way, calling (lovely name) Yagotta B Kidding's comments on use of English 'a bit below the belt' is completely unfair. They are absurd.

I'd would have liked to suggest that YBK seems to be a wan*er [someone who creates his own intimate satisfaction], but I do see that he admits that he'd "never resort to a tool" he "cannot handle well enough for the job", so I guess that rules that one out (and children generally I guess). Great hidden English implication there, so I just had to comment. I don't really mean it personally.

student SGH said...


I'm not an expert in military aviation law, but as far as I know, pilot is a captain and he takes all decision. His overriding goal is to ensure safety of all passengers. President on board of a plane is a passengers and he of course has a right to express his opinion or ask, but even if he insists on taking a specific decision, a pilot does not have to execute his order. From Georgia our president returned safe and sound. Head of state should not behave recklessly and in Georgia by all accounts it seems Lech Kaczynski did so.

Who denies opposition the right to pull pilots up? I'll tell you more, they exercised that right and at the end of the day made fool of themselves. You also have the right to claim that driving without fastened belts or pushing accelerator pedal when you see amber light is a safe driving technique.

Russians, as you know are unpredictable and I'll be astounded if yo deny it, they could have shot down the plane if it had trespassed into their air space without permission.

The "pressure" might have been long out of play, if only politicians of PiS had conceded their faults in Georgian case before the Smolensk crash.


You've got to be kidding!

Normally, commentators gainsay someone's views, opinions or arguments when they disagree with them. Here, instead of commenting on the content of the post, you picked on the author and the language he uses.

@Pan Steeva

Next time please hold back from such waspish taunts. Comment box is a place for exchange of opinions, not trading insults.


Comments below the belt will not be deleted. Such a comment is a problem of its author, not mine ;)

adthelad said...

Of course a pilot is master of his vessel. And when an army pilot is given an order by his superiors he can refuse and take the consequences. 'Fly to A.' says his superior (Officer, not President). "No, I will not obey the order.' He may do so with respect to his own safety but in this specific case he is dealing with adults who are not behaving recklessly but may be said to be taking a calculated risk. And I would guard you against patronising them.

Re PiS, I didn't notice them making fools of themselves. Obviously you must be in possession of information of which I'm not aware.

There were no faults in the Georgian case, either by the opposition, the President of Poland or the other Presidents. There was only post factum propaganda and political point scoring. Naturally, for PO and GW political point scoring read 'good' for PiS point scoring read 'bad'.

Oh well, I suppose a touch of objectivity is too much to ask :(

student SGH said...

If not GW, maybe rzepa?

Given all circumstances quoted there:
Nie było zgód dyplomatycznych na lot do Tbilisi, pilot nie miał wiedzy, kto kontroluje przestrzeń powietrzną Gruzji, kto zabezpiecza naziemne środki kontroli ruchu, w jakim stanie jest lotnisko. Po analizie sytuacji pilot podjął decyzję, by lecieć zgodnie z planem
It seems that late presidents and his counterparts were unaware of some nuances that could put their lives at peril.

What Mr Karski did, i.e. filing a lawsuit against pilots to military prosecutor's office, and calling them 'cowards' was, just in my humble opinion, making fool of himself. He's never taken back those words. Moreover, PiS leaders do realise this was a misstep (let's not use the word "fault") and keep him away from the media.

So what was the true account of those events?

Let's separate two things:
1) Lies, misrepresentations, distortions, insunuations, unconfirmed "facts and allegations" aimed at destroying political rival,
2) Criticism towards it, often below the belt, with more than a tinge of malice, but based on substantiated information.

Gazeta Wyb(i)orcza is, as every newspaper, weekly, TV station, biased. When it resorts to what I listed in point 1, it is reprehensible. When it picks out unquestionably true facts to back up its hypotheses it does what everyone in this country does...

Best wishes!

adthelad said...

..or maybe GW?,75478,7821881,Incydent_gruzinski_oczami_pierwszego_pilota.html

Why should Karski take back those words? I don't understand. Just because something is not known to be safe doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. That's what soldiers are for. You or I may not agree with him but that doesn't make him wrong.

As to the description of GW, I agree, the problem is whether the reader can discern truth from 'facts'.

Best regards,

adthelad said...

..and when I say not wrong I don't mean with respect to cowardice but with respect to using the incident for political purposes. As we are both aware, the relationship between the President and the pilot was by all accounts, much more level headed, courteous and professional (during and post the Gruzja incident). You wouldn't guess that of course going by GW's 'reporting' on the Smoleńsk tragedy.

adthelad said...

Some additional information


student SGH said...

I somehow recall reading about that before, so the artice in ND didn't bring any shocking information.

Almost two months have passed and some questions from the other post ("Questions") seem to be partly answered (amid understatements, allegations, conjectures, manipulations...).

Miłej niedzieli!