Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and humid

So last night was “testing”, to say the least.

The day was great — loved yoga on the beach, mowed when I returned, and was still loose enough from yoga so the mowing didn’t hurt (in spite of the mower misbehaving). Wrote in the afternoon. Was racing to finish a scene before I was picked up for the night’s event.

The jazz concert itself was held up in an enclave above the beach. Originally, just after the Civil War, it was set up as a church camp. There’s a central church, and summer cottages all around it. The cottages evolved over the decades, were bought and sold etc. Some of them are in the fourth or fifth generations of families. One woman, there with her three kids (who were adorable, smart, and hilarious –and I am not fond of small children, generally) has been coming here her whole life. Her parents own two houses at the end of the street, and her brother and her uncle own houses just across from the concert site. A lot of people just sit on their decks and listen to the music.

Unfortunately, for me, it was not the blissful summer musical experience it should have been. I was asked to letter a sign when I got there — fine, my handwriting isn’t great, but I got the information and did the best I could. I was asked to man a table, which I specifically had said I was uncomfortable with, but they were short-handed, so I agreed to handle it until someone more public-friendly showed up. What was displayed and explained had been discussed and the majority agreed upon it in the last meeting. The audience starts to arrive; some of them stop and ask questions. I’m not hawking anything, because that’s not what I do, but I had actual conversations with people and some of them were interested/excited about what was going on. All good, right?

Until one of the committee women, who’d been outvoted in the meeting, sails up and starts SCREAMING at me, in front of everyone, about how stupid it is and I’m not doing it right, etc., etc. I told her that this was what we agreed on in the meeting and if she wanted to take over, she could, and that she could not speak to me that way. She said, “no, no, no”, backed off for about two minutes, and then, as the next wave of audience came, she attacked at an even higher pitch. So I stood up and said, “I’m happy to have you take over” and walked away.

The chair of the committee (who’d just stood by and watched) came up and started making excuses, “oh, that’s just her way”, etc., etc.. I told her that it was inappropriate behavior, especially in front of the audience. I did not tolerate that kind of behavior when I was being paid a lot of money to do events in NY, and I’m certainly not going to tolerate it when I’m a volunteer.

I went and helped with the lemonade, instead! Believe me, I considered simply walking away completely, But why should I be driven off by someone who thinks she is a big fish in a small pond?

The concert itself was lovely. Lots of families brought their kids, and the kids were dancing and having a marvelous time. At intermission, several of them came up to us and ASKED if they could help pass out lemonade! They were really good at it, and I told them that they were a big help, and that it made a wonderful difference in the evening. It was completely true — it kept people from overcrowding the table and us getting behind in the serving.

We cleaned up after, I came home, and had a nice, big glass of wine. I still felt emotionally bruised, but I have my lines, and if one crosses them, there are consequences. I never raised my voice or lost my temper, but I held my ground. If she pulls the same thing at the event at the beginning of August, I will leave the organization. Not everyone is the right fit for every organization. If there’s an individual — who is not in charge, mind you, and wasn’t there to either set up or clean up — who simply steamrolls over everyone and it’s allowed, that is not the organization with which I choose to donate my time. I’m lucky — I get to choose with whom I spend my time, both personally and professionally. I will not stay in a toxic situation. Why should I? There’s no value in it for me on any level. They wonder why they have so few people they can call on to help with events? Last night is a perfect example. It’s up to the leadership to diffuse this type of situation, not stand by and let one individual spread poison and vitriol. And to do so in public simply makes the organization look petty and disorganized. Why would a broader public support that?

Of course, I woke up with a raging migraine this morning, and I have a long, long list of things to do. I also have to take my mom to a medical appointment. I’ve got two classes to teach, work to do for the Mermaid Ball, and, of course, writing. Scenes are whirling around my head, and I don’t want to lose them.

And you know, sooner or later, I’ll kill off a character based on that harridan in a book! It’s all material. One of the many perks of being a writer.


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 6:53 am  Comments (8)  
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