A Stress Free Week for a Change

As I was walking from the parking lot catch my train to work this morning, the public address system blurted out an announcement twice ; “ To all passengers – the 7:53 westbound train will be late by approximately 5 minutes”. It was about 7:43am and I told myself – it’s Friday and I am on a training course anyways so no big deal. I could afford to be late. A few minutes later, the station bells started ringing, signaling the approach of a train. Could it be my train? Yes it was and it came right on time. Then came another announcement; “To all passengers. The 7:53 westbound train will be late by 5 minutes and is now arriving at track no 1”. LOL.. I boarded the train with a grin in my face and so did everybody. The station manager was quite creative in masking out his booboo!

I was on a training course this week which gave me a break from the stress of office life. The rule of the house was we were to turn off our cell phones and blackberries which made me incommunicado for the most part of the working day. I had a reason not to return phones or emails because I was not to be disturbed. The course ended at 430pm everyday which also gave me a bit more time to pick up my daughter from the day care. The training centre was located at a building close to the Eaton Centre , downtown Toronto’s largest mall. I would hang around the mall area during lunch break browsing the stores and fulfilling my craving for beef sharwama replete with the salad trimmings and pickled peppers. The mall is flanked by Yonge Street , known to be the longest street in the world in the Guinness Book of Records. Yonge St starts at the Lake Ontario, a few blocks down south of Eaton Centre stretching 1,986 kms all the way to an isolated feeder road at Rainy River, Ontario close to the Minnesota border. It would take some 20 hours to drive Yonge St from point A to point Z, the same time it would take to drive from San Diego, Calif to Seattle, Washington. It sure is one heck of a stretch and considering that you’d end up in the same province speaks of the size of Ontario.

I always thought of Pinoys as people of “raffle” mentality, that everytime we attempt to promote a product or host an event we engage in a raffle or lottery to add fun and excitement to the experience. That probability of winning something lures people to participate. I remember many years ago, in a Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Bacolod the flight crew held a raffle in the plane for fun. The prices weren’t that ostentatious. There were T-shirts and hats and all sorts of giveaways and the highlight was the draw for a couple of plane tickets. With all the safety and security concerns, hosting a raffle in a passenger plane here in North America is almost inconceivable.

Last Thursday, our instructor did something totally unexpected – a surprise raffle in class. The price was absolutely incredible; free technical training course for the student along with his boss and two other colleagues in the company. The choice of the course is entirely up to the individual, to be taken in 2007. Considering that the training company is an internationally renowned institution and the cost averaging 2.5 grand per course, the total package was worth about 10 grand, never shabby by any stretch of the imagination. I put my boss’ name and two of my closest colleagues in the list. Win or lose I would be back next year for another course but an extra week of training would be really nice. Unfortunately and as I have the habit of expecting, I didn’t win. I never ever won any raffle, big or small in my entire life. If I won in gambling, it had to do with me getting involved in making some kind of decision. Perhaps I’m due for a real big one, like the 24 million Lotto tomorrow. LOL.. The raffle odds were pretty good – 1 in 19 chances. The dude that won was all smiles. He would be back next year; his boss will give him a good review and his buddies will be buying him beer the whole year round!

Bottom line, my week was stress free and quite enjoyable. I should get plenty of these !

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24 Responses

  1. We’re the same. I’ve never won anything. If I had to choose between two tickets and only one was the winning million dollar lotto ticket, I’d probably choose the losing ticket. 😦

    Hope all your weeks would be like this last one! 🙂

  2. Had you won in the raffle draw, your week would have been much better than simply being stress-free. Who knows, you’ll be lucky in bigger raffle draws. I wish you’d win in the lotto today. But have you bought tickets already? Good luck.

  3. Nice to hear that someone’s had a stress-free week. Wish I could say the same thing about mine.

    Speaking of raffle mentality, it is almost every Pinoy’s dream of hitting the big one. The lure of instant riches is evident in the long lines in the lotto outlets.

  4. Toe – LOL. because of my pitiful luck with raffles, I’m thinking I’d narrow it down to a 50-50 odds game all the time. Maybe I should just play sabong or roulette – not the numbers part, but simply betting on red or black!

  5. Abaniko – yep, it would have been dandy if I won the raffle draw and there will be a lot of happy faces in the office. I do buy tickets when the jackpot is large.. many office folks pass around the hat to buy many tickets and increase their chance to win. I remember the news story about 7 store workers who always buy the weekend tickets. One day, one of them passed and said she will not participate. It turned out the group won the jackpot ! With a little over a million bucks in their individual pockets, the 6 of them didn’t show up for work the following Monday except for this luckless girl who had to continue grinding with minimum wage. Now that’s a real downer. I would hate that to happen to me!

  6. Sngl – it’s a temporary relief considering that the previous week I was griding my ass in Calgary 🙂

    People are suckered into that dream of winning millions. Unfortunately, here in canada part of the rule is winner has to be photographed and published in the papers. YOu can never hide! The good part is winnings are tax free unlike in the US.

  7. I always enjoyed attending those company-sponsored training programs. Not only do you gain further knowledge, you also get to enjoy all those free food and giveaways.

  8. Senor Enrique – it has become sort of normal policy for most companies these days that staff need to go on training or re-training every year as part of their development, esp those engaged in technology. It is most of the time fun, I agree.

  9. I am not sure it is a good idea for a instruction company to organize a raffle. They made 1 person happy and 19 unhappy…
    Nice to hear you had a stress free week !

  10. Sidney – it does leave a little sour taste in the mouth doesn’t it. Not really sure what their motivation is for the raffle draw but it does make students want to come back!

    Yes, for a change I had a stress free week and had been bumming around the shopping district. The bad part is I’ve set my sights on a digital SLR camera and I’m craving to buy it. Dang, I’ve been holding on to it for days now. Looks like I can’t wait for Xmas when prices drop.

  11. i hate raffles…but i once won an expensive microwave oven

    btw, bryan here

    woof!

  12. am not lucky with raffles, too. and i can remember only one win, when i was conceiving my first born. they say pregnant women are lucky. i dont know. maybe just a coincidence.

    that was one cool week for you. i love training courses most especially if they have that loads of provisions.

  13. Talking of the world longest road; way back in the early 80s, may and a group of friends went camping one summer weekend and had decided which camp to go. First it was just a camp an hour or two north, but most were booked. We end driving the trans-canada, which I believe is the yonge street almost to the border of Manitoba and we camped at some place called ‘white point’ or something and did’nt last more than 3 nights cuz it was freezing at night in the middle of summer. What a waste, but a memorable experience, as I run over a dog at an Indian Reservation and saw a fellow came out with a rifle, thinking that oh boy! or he going to shoot me, but instead he did eutanized the dog that I run over and just told me it was an accident. good fellow our first nation, ended buying lots of drink for the next 3 nights.

  14. Bryan Anthony – good for you pal, at least you’ve won something!

  15. Bing – there’s something with pregnant women I guess – they always seem to get that fat lady’s luck 🙂

  16. Vic – he he.. that was a close one. But you know what, the Indian brothers are quite friendly with brown people like us. I used to fish for big trout at an Indian reservation at Parry Sound, about 4 hours north and we cross a single lane wooden toll bridge into the reserve and a native bro would chat with us for a bit while we’re paying our 8 bucks toll. They’re quite nice and friendly folks. But that was a heck of a long trip for you and I love doing something like that man.

  17. Ah, I’ve never one a single raffle. I think I have to work my butt all my life to get what I want but never through chances like raffle and lottos. 🙂

  18. You clearly deserved this stress-free week; any hardworking guy should. Seminars and trainings is such a swell time for me when I was working in a government agency some years ago; you can get carefree somehow and I’ve got to meet a lot of new people…made me wish that time that I am on seminars all year round—if that”d be possible.

  19. sometimes i am lucky in raffles that’s why i join them. or at times, so just to help a friend. but you’re right, raffles are always used in the philippines. because it’s the easiest way to raise funds 🙂

  20. Same here Ipanema. I’ve been in a lifelong funk with raffles and lotteries believe it or not. Like you I can’t win anything until it involves some decision making on my part 🙂

  21. Major Tom – talking about stress free, I just came back from a long weekend trip up north ( Remembrance Day weekeend here) aka Veterans Day and government offices and financial institutions don’t have to come to work. Coincidentally, me and my wife both work for competing financial institutions so we both took off. Having a seminar all year round and getting paid the salary would be dandy bro. If I get one of those it will be like winning the lottery!

  22. Tin – lotteries are on heck of a fund raising tool I agree. Good for you if you’re lucky with raffle draws. Some people are just darn lucky. A friend of mine won a 400 cc motorbike manufactured by a sister company of Harley-Davidson at a free art conference he attended. The guy doesn’t even know how to drive a motor bike!

  23. I also don’t have luck with raffles either. I’m jealous. I didn’t get a long weekend. Somehow, we here in Winnipeg didn’t get that extra day off since Remembrance Day fell on a Saturday. Just when I could have really used a holiday. I kind of feel cheated. 😦

  24. Niceheart – just a coincidence that I work for a financial institution, that’s why I have the holiday. For some strange reason, only govt offices and banks get it. I think they should make Remembrance Day a statutory holiday for everyone. There’s just too much significance in the event – much more than Boxing Day or the Civic Holiday!

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