Hello, my (I hope) loyal readers! Though I have been away from posting for about two weeks now, and have nothing literary to contribute today, I nevertheless have something to say. I was at my brother’s in Vermont for an extended period of time over the Thanksgiving break because we were working as a family unit to plant garlic and build a greenhouse and cook meals and watch a young misbehaving (sweetheart) of a dog, and enjoy youthful games with a ten-year-old family member, and other chores and duties. We were looking down the road to a happy if more economical Christmas holiday break again three weeks from now in Vermont, when we got home today to a nasty surprise: sometime during our absence, someone had super-glued our condo door, and we couldn’t get in. We had several days’ groceries with us including frozen foods, which we had picked up on the way back home from our trip, and two large carriers full of luggage and vacation bedding, and we were outside our condo in the hall for nearly two hours while we waited for the locksmith to come.
We found what people’s tried and true selves were as we confronted our dilemma, but not everyone is playing with a clean hand (and some not with a full deck, apparently). The probable cause of our situation? There has been for several years now an intimidation factor going on in our condo building, and other people have had packages from the postal service stolen, items on cars damaged, things wrecked, mailbox and now (with us the evident first) condo doors damaged with superglue, among other acts of vandalism. There have been additional sorts of outrage going on which are harder to pinpoint, and no exact culprit or culprits has been located, because even though the building has several times discussed getting security cameras in the common areas, nothing yet has been done. This time, because our door was damaged from the hallway (which is a common area) the condo board was gracious enough to take the charge of payment for us.
The root source of all this, in an apparently middle-income to upscale building (depending on how high up you live)? It’s hard to pinpoint too, except that for several years now there have been two factions in rivalry for the unpaid positions of being on the Board of Trustees, and the additional hired jobs that are decided by the board. The pot is on the boil, and things have gotten steadily worse. How did we get involved? My roommate, who is my mother, a conscientious, highly intelligent, and tactful person with many friends, merely stood up in a meeting and said that we should all try to get along better the way we used to do, and that it would have been odd if the newest elected board members were the ones doing the vandalizing (or any of their contingent friends, or allies), because why would they? They had gained power by a legitimate election. She wasn’t taking sides, she was just using her noggin and voicing an opinion. This was all she said, and someone bided their time and waited until we went out of town and vandalized our door. Now, it’s useless to point fingers. In even the best communities, there are people who do damaging things because they are just wacko or wired differently from other people, and each person who has heard about it (with the exception of the one or ones who know they did it themselves) has a slightly different take on who’s guilty. The police came to take a report and were able to verify that many other incidents had happened in our building in the last few years, and that it wasn’t entirely unusual to find such situations even in otherwise “nice” buildings. We are finding sympathy everywhere, and empathy among some who’ve had the same thing happen to them. And this situation is why–despite my mother’s strong and ebullient recovery from the negative surprise–I call this the Scroogiest season. This is the atmosphere not of fairness and equity which is supposed to obtain in a community like this one, but an atmosphere of special patronage and thuggery. We don’t live expensively, and had the Board of Trustees not guaranteed my mother repayment of the damage repair costs, it would have been a hardship which hadn’t been figured into the monthly amounts.
Here’s hoping the Christmas season brings the notion of concord and graciousness back to people’s minds, when true friends can be true friends, and enemies can bury the hatchet somewhere other than in each other, and we can all re-learn joy and peace, not just for a short time or a cold winter season when people are lethargic anyway, but for a permanent part of our lives and living arrangements. And here’s hoping you yourselves are enjoying or are preparing for a lovely holiday of whichever one is yours this year: may it be a comforting and enlightened one!