Today I had a really awful day. I had a great meeting with someone in the morning and it all went downhill after that. I wasn’t going to post about this but I am trying to make sense of it and I want to share what I’m thinking. Last year I went to Gordon Neufeld’s conference. He’s a developmental psychologist and in his keynote he commented that “emotion has to go somewhere” and I have never been able to shake how true this comment is, not just in raising my son but also in so much of my life.
And so, Arbolog readers, this is where my emotion is going.
A local company’s van has been parked on my road every night and I called them to ask why. Our parking bylaw *does* allow for it to park there, but I couldn’t figure out who owned it as it is not anyone’s on my street. Instead of dealing with it, the call taker opted to give the driver of the van (who lives in the next block, apparently) my personal information. The driver then called and left a pretty snarky message, accusing me of harassment and threatening to call police. I wasn’t sure how to respond, and decided to call the company back to express my dismay and unhappiness that they had given out my info to someone who would clearly react poorly.
After they told me a supervisor would call me back, they let must have told their driver I had called again, because the driver then called the police to file a harassment charge against me. Law-abiding, live and let live, suburban, little old me. An hour or so later, a cop was at my door. The officer was acting a bit embarrassed to be a party to this, and I was terribly embarrassed to be wasting police time over it.
After establishing that the voice mail, while angry and totally an overreaction, was not a threat to my safety, and that I clearly wasn’t ‘harassing’ the driver by calling to bitch about his van, the officer told me he’d call the driver back and let him know what had really happened and instruct him to leave me alone.
The whole thing has made me rather uneasy, and I have some thoughts, after a full day of thinking through what happened. If you’ll bear with me, here they are:
- Most importantly, if you own a company with vehicles with your name plastered all over it, don’t fucking do this. Giving out a complainer’s personal information to the target of their complaint is a shitty and mean spirited thing to do. I’m still not sure if I’m willing to name and shame the company – because I’m fucking better than that and am a reasonable person – but you can bet I have developed a utter disgust about a local company I’ll remember for a long, long time. As a business, you should develop a policy of how and who deals with complaints, and view complaints as an opportunity to win business, not as a reason to become despised.
- If you are accused of something fairly innocuous, try not to react react with complete and utter rage and with accusations of harassment and then waste police resources because you feel defensive. A reasonable complaint about where you park your big stupid van isn’t a reason to threaten a person.
- Don’t be an asshole to your neighbours. We have been broken into and I have had all of my jewelry stolen, we have had people smash into our rock retaining wall and drive away, and yet despite these blips of crime I’ve experienced, the people I live near are great people I trust and am happy to live near. But now there’s an angry dude renting a basement suite within rock-throwing distance. Awesome. Can’t wait for the annual block party.
- I am a strong, confident, capable woman who for my entire life has been instructed to walk tall, walk proud, and look ’em right in the eye and not be a victim. For the first time in a very long time, today I felt unsafe, in my own damn home, even! It was unexpected, and it hit home and has made me furious.