Saturday, May 13, 2006

strictly speaking, this belongs on my normal blog, but I want to really let loose and don't want there to be any chance of the relevant person finding it.

I've been trying to get a new fence around my country place; called the neighbour several times; eventually sent a letter laying out my position, because I had a deadline to get it done (mind you, I was offering to pay the FULL amount). eventually the fencer brokered a kind of deal, while the neighbour refused to call me back.

so this afternoon, as I was happily sweeping the path, the phone rang. "it's S... x from y," she said. I thought "who?". Maybe a tenant or the a friend of the cleaner. turns out this was the wife of the neighbour. she said she was calling because I'd written a letter giving them a deadline of the end of April (that deadline was actually to decide about the blackberry clearing, but whatever, it's now May 13, so you can see where this is heading). She said something about how they hadn't got back to me on it, and I said "I did come up, but G... didn't turn up."

this was a reference to my having driven a return trip of 260 kilometres, and my Dad driving 140 kilometres, with my 2 1/2 year old in tow, ringing G the night before - admittedly late, but he did agree to meet me - then waiting until dark with my Dad and tired kid until I gave up. I waited for the apologetic phone call; none came.

so what did this person's wife say about that? "What did you expect him to do, drop all his jobs? he's got jobs booked in. is that what you expect?" delivered, of course, in the sharpish shrewish tone you can imagine.

I could have responded: He could have at least called to cancel. He could have said no. He could have called me afterwards. I could have said that I took a whole day out of my life and he only had to drive 10 minutes down the road.

but I said absolutely nothing. not a sound. after a few seconds, she said something else about the fencer's quote only just having reached them ( the guy is a whacker, meaning the fencer, but I'm stuck with him due to the deadline). at that point I asked "are you a part owner of the property?" because frankly, if she wasn't, I was going to suggest G ring me directly. she snapped "of course I am, I'm his wife."

so I lowered my voice and very gently asked whether my understanding of the deal the fencer has outlined was correct; asked what it was they weren't happy about with the quote they have; agreed that G probably has the best idea of what fence needs doing; listened to her say they "thought" they'd have the posts they (the neighbours) are supplying ready by the end of next week; thanked her for the call; got out my notebook of people and services and plans for the place and wrote down her name with the words: "rude. don't trust."

and frankly, although I'm nervous about them not supplying the posts in time, I'm not telling them so. I'm not having another thing to do with them unless they call me. If their blackberries get out of control, I'm going straight to the council. if the fence doesn't go up in time, I'm putting an internal fence around my trees and they can take me to court for their rabbitproofing. and with luck, the day will come when they need me to help them out, or to not object to what they want to do with their property. and I'll open my notebook or read this post and remember that unnecessary attack when all I've done is be polite and communicative, if assertive, and think: fuck you, S, fuck you.

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