The toxic tentacles of OSANP (one strange and nasty person)

A dancing octopus

A glorious dancing octopus. Tentacles are its only common attribute with OSANP. Photo by DaugaardDK CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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.

climate-image 2

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

OSANPS are not quite the same as other people. Alien in a suit. CC0 from Max Pixel

OSANPS (one strange and nasty persons) are not quite the same as other people. CC0 from Max Pixel

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!

19 thoughts on “The toxic tentacles of OSANP (one strange and nasty person)

  1. lifecameos says:

    Good luck ! I’ve done my time with OSAP flatmates / boarders etc, and there is no easy way out. It is lengthy and in my cases was only ended when they moved out.

    1. That’s realistic. Thanks!

  2. toutparmoi says:

    I’ve met plenty of SANPs in the workplace. They have a knack of rising to or near the top. They’re not the only ones who do, of course, but they must cost their employers an extraordinary amount of money in staff turnover as their underlings and co-worker flee to happier places.

    So glad, by the way, for your caption on the octopus. For one fearful moment I thought you might be going to suggest octopuses had a lot in common SANPs.

    1. All too true. But octopuses are favourites and stars.

  3. bone&silver says:

    Ugh- we had a dodgy person in our body corp; took 3 years to get rid of her but we did it eventually. Having a professional manager, and Minutes of agreements definitely helped. Plus firm boundaries. Good luck 😐

    1. This is so encouraging especially as that is the strategy we will follow. Thank you.

  4. Less ruckus and more dancing. Good luck with your bizarre flat mate.

    1. Too right, that’s the plan! We don’t call a flat

  5. Sorry: I must stop replying on my phone. Was going to say, in New Zealand a flat mate shares your flat, not your building. And a room mate shares your room. Trivia of the day!

  6. Robyn Haynes says:

    I sympathise Rachel. Our resident OSANP was a harridan of monumental proportions – note the past tense. No, we didn’t bump her off but not because it wasn’t suggested. She left of her own accord. You’re right. Every body corp committee has one. I think of it as a lesson. When disappointed by someone’s behaviour, lower your expectations.

    1. Well we are learning hand over fist, that’s for sure. Learning not to expect truth and courtesy is quite a turnaround. But I agree that the bumping off solution is inadvisable.

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        Truth and courtesy? I’m still hopeful.

      2. Dreams ard free!

  7. Aunt Beulah says:

    OSANP is one of the more useful acronyms I’ve seen in awhile. I’ve known a few, but never in the situation you are in where I directly impacted by them. Good luck. It sounds miserable.

    1. Your support is much appreciated.

  8. joared says:

    Perhaps in time they’ll leave one way or another. We have OSANP running our whole country. You’ll just have to tough it out. At least we have the hope of a vote in the future if it comes to that.

    1. We have votes too 😋

  9. Sounds to me that you have the same problem as the good citizens of the US of A. Good luck in your endeavours.

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