Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Holding a grudge

Someone I follow on twitter commented today that a neighbour who wouldn't help with a boost the other day found themselves needing one today and that it was karma. Stories of neighbours who are un-neighbourly always remind me of my days growing up in the burbs. In particular they remind me of Jeff Stoughton.

See, way back when, when babysitters didn't demand to be paid the same as other minimum wage jobs I, in addition to being the papergirl for my block, would also occasionally babysit. One of the parents I babysat for was Jeff Stoughton. He had the biggest TV I had ever seen.

Now, I only babysat for them a few times, but imagine my surprise when one cold winter day - when I managed to get my car started and backed out of the driveway (avoiding falling in a notorious Charleswood ditch) and onto the snowy street only to have it promptly die - that Mr. Stoughton refused to give me a boost because he "didn't want to ruin his battery". WTF? Is that even a thing? And who would leave a 16/17ish year old girl to fend for herself in the middle of the road (he had to ease around me to NOT help)? I acutely remember being confused and hurt that he valued a battery over me as a person.

I have secretly decided that although he has had many successes as a curler over the years, that the reason that an Olympic medal still escapes him is because of the resulting bad karma from this incident.

On a very random note, I either owe Jeff Stoughton an apology after this blog post because although I have been 100% sure of this story for many years, when wanting to confirm his lack of Olympic wins I went to Wikipedia to research. According to Wikipedia, he only has one daughter, born in 2004 - but that is, oh, about a decade past my babysitting days. So, if somehow I actually babysat for someone else, who also happened to be a curler and wouldn't help me boost my car, I'm really really sorry for always cheering for the other guys whenever Jeff Stoughton's team is playing.

Of course, I'm pretty sure it was him, so someone needs to get on updating that Wikipedia article. And maybe, just maybe, if he gives someone a boost this winter his luck will turn around and he will eventually get to the Olympics.


  1. What is it about the suburbs that makes people act un-neighbourly? My family had issues with (and subsequently were, I'm ashamed to say) bad neighbours for years.

    Then I moved into West Broadway and -surprise surprise!- have consistently had thoughtful and considerate neighbours. But maybe I'm just lucky.

  2. I can't help with Stoughton's past or how many kids he has, but I'll say this: my run-ins with him have been positive. For example: I was on the treadmill at the gym but the TV hanging from the ceiling was pointed in a different direction. I didn't want to stop my workout to adjust it, but Jeff happened to walk by and noticed the TV and he adjusted it for me without being asked. I've seen him hold doors for people. Little things, but he seems like a nice enough guy to me.

    Maybe it wasn't Jeff that you baby sat for, or maybe he's changed, or maybe he's more conscious of his public image (remember what his hair used to look like?), or maybe his alternator was blown and he had a bad battery, or maybe he knows nothing about cars. It's hard to say. Just thought I'd share my experience for what it's worth.

    1. Thanks to Joey (below) for confirming the other two kid thing - I was fairly certain I wasn't crazy! Cherenkov, I don't doubt that he's probably all around a pretty nice guy, it just goes to show, we never really know how our actions are going to impact other people. I'm sure I've done things in my past that people haven't been thrilled with.

      I think more than anything the reason that it sticks out in my mind was because of my age (16 or 17) and the fact that there was a pre-established connection there that went well beyond waving when one another passed. I also seem to recall that it was a brand new vehicle (mini van maybe?) and that was part of the "ruining the battery" rationale, so it came off very much like I'm not ruining my van (as someone who has now owned about ten cars I still don't buy this excuse) to help your little $hitbox.

      If I was to find myself in a similar situation with a neighbour now, I would probably shrug it off; but then, feeling very vulnerable and having an adult that I trusted brushing me off, it really hurt!

  3. That entry is incomplete. The child born in 2004 is from his second marriage. Jeff has two children from his first marriage, so those are the kids you would have babysat.