Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I can still be a PITA; I still have work to do...

Sometimes I congratulate myself on being older, wiser, more compassionate, less rebellious etc. etc., than in my youth. Thinking happily that my days as a smart-a** and a sh*t-disturber are far behind me.

And THEN...

...Along comes someone and all my so-called higher self-development melts like sugar left out in the rain.

Sunday night I climbed into the hot tub at the local hotel where we have a pool membership. Another couple of members were already there and the woman, who was monopolizing the conversation much to her companion's dismay (the glazed over look and half-hearted uh-huhs gave it away), was holding forth on the proposed half-way house for drug addicts soon to happen in her neighbourhood. This was in the local paper, and all the NIMBYs (Not In My Backyarders) were in full umbrage about this.

This woman couldn't believe that the City would allow this to happen on a street that had 5 schools on or near it.

Hmmmmm. I really don't understand how a bunch of ex-junkies could pose a threat to schoolchildren so I said with great enthusiasm:

"I agree - what are people thinking? Those poor half-way house people are in way too-close proximity to drugs, what with 5 schools in the neighbourhood!!"

This brought about a guffaw from Mr. Glazed-Over but Ms. Nimby was not impressed, nor did she stop her tirade against the half-way house.

So I asked her to explain. "What is the issue here? I don't understand. These are not sex offenders, they are drug addicts. How are they are threat to schoolchildren?"

I honestly wanted to know if I was missing something. I was not trying to be a PITA (pain in the butt) by asking.

No response. Just a glare that spoke volumes. Volumes as in: if I have to explain this to you, you are way too stupid for me to waste my breath on. Then she continued to speak about another proposed half-way house, but one in which the inhabitants had to pay $2-3K a week for the privilege of being there. She appeared to think 2 things about this:

1 - these people were "serious" about recovery because they were paying so much for it.

2 - they were "better" people to begin with because they could afford to pay so much.

Then she questioned why people had to go to half way houses in the first place, when they should just go home to their families after rehab. I explained to her that to my knowledge, rehab is just the beginning, and that half way homes are important so that the newly sober have a safe abode in which to relearn how to live in the real world again, without drugs.

I could have also mentioned that the families often contribute (unknowingly or otherwise) to the addiction in the first place and need counselling as well but I could see she wasn't at all interested in anything other than her own point of view so I just shut up.

I also kept my mouth shut when she then opined on how sneaky the social service agency was to try to get this house set up with as little publicity as possible. "If it's such a great thing, why wait till the last minute to tell us this house is coming to the neighbourhood?"

BECAUSE OF PIN-HEADED NIMBY'S LIKE YOURSELF WHO WILL MARSHALL FORCES TO DERAIL THE PROJECT, I wanted to shout at her, but didn't. Ah, self-control at last......

Then she started some evil gossip about the woman heading up this project (who actually lives in the same neighbourhood as this woman and the proposed half-way house)...blah blah blah. Yuck.
At this point I turned my attention to the other gentleman in the tub and switched the conversation to a seemingly safe topic: golf.

However, also in the local paper, was an article about the 18 hole golf course (also close to this woman's home), that is suffering financially and is cutting back to one 9 hole course with the intention of putting other sports-related facilities (golf academy etc.) in the remainder of its grounds.

Again, umbrage from Mrs. Nimby - what about the poor folks who paid a premium to have their homes back onto a golf course, and now this happens!! Someone needs to reimburse them; if not the golf course, then the City!!!! Because they are "allowing" it to happen.

"Look," I said, "This stuff happens. There are no guarantees in life. You buy your dream home and 5 years later the gov't appropriates the land next to you and puts through an expressway. It's bad luck but what can you do? This is a business decision, to save the business."

Again, no direct response, just more illogical spewing of outrage. I left the hot tub at this point.

I am sorry I let this woman get to me. It scares me to think how many people there are out there who think just like her. It saddens me to think of the suffering this woman inflicts upon herself, let alone others, by her attitude.

Offering my opinions was just a waste of air. It did no good. It probably fueled the fire. She couldn't enlighten me on her point of view. My verbal volleys back at her did not change her mind. As Dr. Phil would say, how's that workin' for ya?

Didn't work at all.

Since that exchange, I keep asking myself WWDLD (what would the Dalai Lama do?) in the face of such close-mindedness. When I know the answer, then I'll be the Grasshopper, snatching the pebble from the master's hand, or I'll know what the sound is, of one hand clapping...or some such other Zen mystery!

Until then, I still have lots of work to do.


  1. Better a smart PITA than a silly, squirrelly, NIMBY. In this case I'd be proud to be a PITA.
    I AM proud of you for keeping your cool yet saying something. No doubt your comments were a welcome relief for the poor guy trapped in hot tub hell.

  2. Thanks Pal. I'm kinda glad I spoke up too. But disappointed that there are people like this in the world, and that I let them get to me.