My advice to Toronto residents about the civic strike: relax.

Why waste energy on something you can’t change?

The breakdown in relations between the city leaders and two large unions representing city staff is not much different than a marital collapse. The parties have separated for five days now and are living apart. Each party thinks the other one is deluded, foolish, dishonest, and/or untrustworthy and neither is about to give the other respect. The last thing they want to do is talk about how they can sort out their differences.

Sure, you can take sides. You can say that the union is wrong to defend the existing arrangement which gives them up to eighteen sick days a year, days that if not taken can be accumulated and partially used as a payout on retirement.

Maybe this is the way public employees like police and fire fighters are treated, but few other working people have these benefits.

You can say the city’s leaders, who gave themselves a raise without many questions and are now paid almost $100,000 a year, should have been promoting better relations with staff during the past year or two so that negotiations didn’t lead to a breakdown.

But that too is like blowing in the wind.

A strike means the normal rules no longer hold. Who knows how long it will last? What event will finally tip the parties into looking for an agreement? What will happen to political careers?

Will more city services be privatized in the future? We don’t know.

All of us on the outside are without the power or influence to put this broken Humpty Dumpty together again. This is a fact of life that personal anger won’t change.

In the heat of the early summer sun, for what it’s worth I say the rational strategy for us is simple: just cool it.