My problems are never original. They are always in some sense generic, typical, almost universal. So when I write about them, it’s not because I expect you to be surprised or impressed. No, I expect you’ll recognise them.
Joy of the day — dancing!
Today is exciting and joyful because it’s the first of our 3-day dance season in Wellington. I’ll walk to the theatre at 4.45 (in 2 minutes) buying two bananas on route, ready for warm-up and tech rehearsal at 5.30. Hang out with friends while we organise our costumes and props and do panicky little rehearsals of tricky bits. And then dance dance dance our socks off, disoriented by lights and thrilled with our usual appreciative (ahem, discerning) audience. This year we — four groups of Crows Feet from four centres — do Climate Change, which is inspiring and entertaining too. Youngest dancer is 40, oldest is me at 77.
For this weekend, I must banish an infuriating (and common) problem to the back of my neck.
The curious case of the non-voluntary volunteers
I’m chair of a small body corporate (i.e. group of 5 owners who share an old 6-apartment block). I’ve been on the body corp for 31 years without ever hitting an insoluble problem. In that time we have gotten rid of two white-collar criminal members, legitimately and without fuss. I’ve had the occasional hissy fit but our finances, admin, and property have been managed successfully for 3 decades by the owners, mandatory volunteers, amateurs obliged to cooperate in a professional job of work. We have almost always managed to comply with the letter and the spirit of the law. I’m proud of what we have accomplished.
Until now. Two years ago, by sheer chance, all the apartments except mine were sold to new owners. Three of the owners are great people, cooperative, generous with their ideas and time. The other one (who bought two apartments, aaarrgh!) is one of those OSANPs.
Curse of the year — the body corporate OSANP
It’s a law of nature: every body corporate gets one of these people doled out to them at some point. All my body corp- friends have had their own versions, and I wondered why we were spared. Then the gods noticed their error and threw us a right humdinger.
It’s taken time to realise that this person lies by default, often with seemingly pointless lies that are spotted instantly. Makes promises, forgets and denies promises. Desperately wants to rule. Abuses and bullies anyone who opposes him. Has a contempt for the law and two abiding values: money and power. (Sound familiar?)
Yes, he’s a case study but what good does a fancy label do?
No more Mrs Nice Guy
Now I get it. He’s non-comprehensible. He’s almost like another species. He’ll never change no matter what we do so I’m getting tough.
He has recourse (through the very Act he despises) — he can take us to the Tenancy Tribunal, mediation, or the High Court. Meantime I want us to appoint a professional manager, just for starters.
And then… There will be ructions but A. we will have professional support and B. there would be ructions no matter how nice I am.
And then… I will get my life back. I will have room for the creative activities that are my lifeblood. I will revert to my baseline of steadiness and joy. That’s the plan.
Wish me luck. And tell me, have you been there, done that too?
And now… on with the dance!