The population are more concerned about "dog dumps" than they are about the death of third world children !!
For many years, I helped a neighbour with her computer.
In my “little world” it was a time filling pastime. Better than doing Sudoku !
The story, in 2018, I think, began like this.
Over the past 4 to 5 years, I had become a recluse.
I preferred my “small world”.
About six months before this story began, I was persuaded by neighbours to join them in the lounge for a chat & company.
I was never comfortable with the “village chat” and the “back-biting”.
I then reverted to my old reclusive self.
It had all started about a couple of months previous.
A close friend complained to me bitterly about the dog dumps in the front of the complex.
He complained frequently after that.
While walking round the complex, I saw several items of faeces. So I spoke to the warden, who came with me & she counted six items of faeces. She then wrote a note for Housing. A manager later visited me & I had a chat with him & gave him a sample letter that I thought should be considered for passing to all tenants.
One part of that note; was the suggestion that Housing adopt the procedure used by police & councils in using DNA testing. He did not think that this was practical.
A letter was subsequently sent to all tenants, asking that they report, in confidence, incidences of dog fouling.
Later, talking to my friend, I commented that asking neighbours to “spy & report” was not conducive to good neighbourliness.
So …………. That’s one incident.
Later I noticed, in the lounge two new coffee tables. I understood that they were bought by the committee, I saw that they had sharp corners & mentioned this to a warden.
Again, later, my close friend showed how he had hurt his leg on one of the tables. I then put an advisory note, regarding the safety of the tables, to Housing & handed it to the warden. I understand that action was taken, and protective corners were put on.
It was at that time that I was vaguely aware that people were saying that I should have put both notes to the committee - not to Housing. I had no formal knowledge that there was a committee, or that officers had been elected. I had no copy of the constitution, or rule book. I had been talking with my neighbour & she had mentioned the committee. When I made my observations as above; she became agitated & I “dropped back”.
A week or so later, after further chats with my friend, I decided to send a formal letter to Housing, expressing my unease that my neighbours were being asked to “spy & report” on their neighbours.
The letter included the following :-
"Already, a tenant has been “identified” as “spying & reporting” on a neighbour for allowing a visiting dog to urinate on the grass. It is also alleged that this act was motivated by revenge, not by communal spirit. True, or not, this indicates the suspicions that can be aroused by a “spy & report” policy."
I showed this very formal letter to my neighbour & she was in agreement with it & smiled. But, during the conversation, she once again, emphasized the role of the committee.
After some thought, and reflecting on what my neighbour had said, I re-wrote the letter, so that it was just an informal note to the secretary of the committee, who, I understood, was my next door neighbour.
The next day , I had just finished the note, when I heard voices in the corridor, and thought, “That’s my neighbour, I’ll give her a copy of the note & see what she thinks.” I was in anticipation that she would be very pleased at my taking her “hint”, and putting the note to the committee, and not to Housing. In the corridor, I saw that my neighbour was there with the Secretary, so I went and got the Secretary's copy, in an envelope, and then gave it to her. At the same time I gave my neighbour’s copy to her. I saw that she was making a “screwed up face”, so I told her, “It’s OK, I’ll show you what it is, in your flat. “
MY GOD !!!! As we got into my neighbour’s flat, she started shouting out loud, and wind-milling her arms around. I smiled & try to tell her that it was not the letter she had seen the previous day.
(Though, as I said, she was OK with it at that time.)
To no avail ! She would not look at the note, or listen to me.
I gave up.
She was screaming, still flailing her arms around, and shouting for me to get out of her flat & that I was never to return. She just kept repeating & repeating this. I realised that she had lost control; ducked down to avoid her flailing arms & left.
I let things settle for a week & had a good think about it. My first instinct was to tell her the truth of how I had seen what happened, and say that I did not want to be in her presence again. I later decided that the gentlemanly course of action, was to send a “Dear, John” letter to her accepting all the blame.
It is easier for me to do this in writing rather than personally.
I apologise most sincerely for causing you the upset last Monday.
We both know that on two other occasions recently I “lost it” with both you & our friend.
I also “lost it” with him when I shut the door on him once.
Together with the recent “notes” I have written to both Housing & our committee, I have been a bit irrational.
I have to conclude that my behaviour is due to my aging.
I have contacted my advocate, to ask for his advice.
Therefore, I think that I must “ keep myself to myself”, and we must both make alternative arrangements.
You may use this note to explain to others about recent events.
My apologies again,
But, I did not want her to assume that I would, once again, be comfortable in her company. So, I added that sentence :-
“Therefore, I think that I must “ keep myself to myself”,
and we must both make alternative arrangements.”
The next day she sent me a card
“Dear Ted, Still Pals ! Speak to you when your feeling better. Love *****”
But ………… that was not my vision of the future ……….
And that is how I left it. Could I really have done any different ?
A practical demonstration of the combined love of committees & the absolute detestation of "dog dumps" !