I’ve seen my share of airports, ferry terminals, bus stations, train stations and gas stations. 25 countries on four continents isn’t too shabby for one so young. (Be quiet Mr. MacBride!)
I had a deep fear of flying – mostly a contagious condition caught from my mother, who was totally freaked about planes. And from a bad experience in a small Cessna as a kid that made me sick. Other than that one experience, the only travel queasiness I suffer from is seasickness, but that’s another story.
I was settled into my flight to Vancouver so nicely that I’d closed my eyes when we were over the snow-topped mountains and opened them when we were over ocean. I wasn’t really asleep, just a pseudo-sleep thing I do sometimes when I’m tired.
I love flying in over the ocean in Vancouver. If you’ve ever been there, you know how the runways go right out over reclaimed land – former ocean floor turned into Vancouver airport property. So you literally look like you’re going into the water until you’re over pavement.
This landing was so smooth, I wasn’t even sure if we’d touched down until I heard the brakes. Then I knew I was home – my second home.
And I love Westjet. I haven’t had a bad flight yet, and I always fly Westjet, given the choice. Yes, I am a westerner.
On the way home we stopped in Kelowna, so I had two landings for the price of one. And not just a take-off over the Pacific, but the image of rising above Lake Okanagan, still partially covered in ice. Turbulence in Kelowna though, a bit of a bumpy descent and a definite jump or two on the runway.
Which, of course, doesn’t compare to my scariest landing ever. Japan airlines felt the need to turn the bigscreen tv’s to the external camera’s on landing, and the people right in front of the screens screamed their heads off. I never realized how close the plane could come to going off the runway and have to be jerked back on course, and yet it felt like a very good, smooth landing.
Arriving back in Calgary was a shock. Oh, smooth. I was so engrossed in A Field of Darkness - a fabulous debut by an exceptional author that I hardly noticed until we were taxiing to the gate. Except for the Westjet jokes and singing, which are customary at the end of every flight. But the shock was, I went from +8 spring weather to the –13 blanket of snow. Except the blanket was like 3 overstuffed comforters stitched together.
And, of course, the holiday was over. And I was back.
Some of you know about my current legal situation, regarding the mineral rights on our property that a thieving energy company started extracting with the convenient use of directional drilling in 2004. They were stopped in 2005. Though we’ve yet to see a dime.
Now – despite the fact that we negotiated a sale but our bank has not authorized it because they don’t seem to feel it’s a fair shake, and the energy company knows this – they’ve taken legal action to take our rights away from us. There will be more about this in the days to come, no doubt.
But something else was waiting. To do with the writer’s group I blogged about a few weeks ago.
I have responsibilities in the group. Although I decided not to return to the group physically or renew my membership in the fall, I did not “RESIGN” from the group or my position. The person who did my job last year only attended 50% of the meetings. Attendance obviously wasn’t essential.
I’ve attended every meeting thus far. So I’m not attending anymore. Big frickin’ deal – I’m still at 60%+.
I paid my membership fees. I’ve spent a lot in expenses I’ve never been reimbursed for because of my board responsibilities, and I still have expenses to incur. And since I’m a member, technically, until the end of September this year when my membership lapses, I have a right to listen to the audio files on the website (if they ever update them – still can’t find any past October) and get my newsletter downloads. It’s my choice.
But I received a letter instructing me to turn over all materials required for the rest of the year to the president so she can give them to my replacement.
You see, I’ve done 98% of the work for this year already. Booking program is front-loaded. The program was finalized before September. My major contributions were December and January, when I was on panels. I’m not responsible for the June meeting at all.
But I am the contact person for the speakers each month, including March, April and May. I’ve arranged for them to be introduced at those meetings.
And I have the thank you cards here, ready to mail out (and I pay for the postage. And the paper.)
The only thing I have left to do is email the speakers for April and May (March is done) and make sure they have all they need and they should, because I did my job months ago.
So, you know, it isn’t much stuff left to do. And I’m big on fulfilling my commitments.
No matter how I feel about certain people in the group, my issues are primarily personal. A select number of people have tarnished the whole experience. Were it not for an increasing stream of abusive emails from a select number of people – really just a few specific ones that others failed to address despite being aware of them, I would have stayed with the group but not attend meetings next year. In fact, I fought pretty hard to keep the personal conflicts out of the group, until one person attacked me via group email. Then private became public, except nobody else had the context – or bothered to even ask what the hell was going on.
My main problems prompting the decision to not attend meetings next year had to do with location and incidents when I was arriving/leaving, to the point where my husband started waiting with me until I had full access to the building and wasn’t alone.
Plus the time factor. Attending a meeting was not an evening out, and with our life schedules, I can’t manage getting home at 11 pm and getting up at 4:30 am. The rest of my week was a write-off, and that was getting frustrating, because with the need to run errands before meetings (to do photocopies for speakers and such) it meant two days were pretty much shot.
Plus pressure to do more. I only joined in Sept. 2004, yet I spent both years on the board, served on three committees and virtually single-handedly organized the group’s only workshop because exactly one person volunteered to be on the committee, and nobody wanted a big share of responsibility. I made sure I recruited people for the small and last-minute things, but the rest was mine. And it was an enormous job.
On the one hand, I could just dump my responsibilities now and walk away. It isn’t like I asked to do this or resigned. I simply made it abundantly clear I wasn’t returning to the group, and I did this to a select group of people - the ones who didn’t stand up and say ‘what the hell’ when the shit hit the fan. I haven’t sent out a public resignation letter.
But I’ve approached this with the following decisions:
1. I’m fulfilling my responsibilities, not dumping them on people – save one thing – I’ve banned a few people from sending me email. Harass me once, shame on you. Harass me again and again, fuck you.
2. I won’t name names. The people I’ve had problems with, it’s between me and them. Many people wouldn’t be able to figure it out based on the info available or that I’m willing to share, and that’s fine by me. I’m not getting into that backstabbing bullshit – not when that’s part of what drove me out the door in the end.
3. I have no vested interest in seeing the group die. If it does, it’ll have nothing to do with me making it go down. This is my experience, it’s how it ended up for me. Bottom line is, I learned a lot during my time there and I’m disappointed that personal conflicts escalated to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable in the group. I could have continued going, but I was never going to trust some people again after personal information about me was disclosed, not to mention the harassing emails…
4. I can’t stop people from talking about me. It has happened (part of what contributed to this) and it will happen. Then again, these people have said things about other members too, which was part of the reason I started being cautious. You go from feeling you can say things in confidence (and everyone vents) to feeling really uncomfortable with what you hear about others once it crosses a certain line and then wondering what’s being said about you…until it comes back to you.
The point is, I’m not special.
So, all of this leaves me wondering whether I should:
a. walk away now, like I’ve been pretty much told to
b. fight to fulfill my end
c. ignore the letter entirely and do exactly what I planned to do
d. speak to more members and the uninvolved board members before making a decision
Here’s the other thing. I have no paperwork. I lobbied last year for there to be official email accounts so that they could be transferred to the new board members year to year, with the records, because I never received any information from my predecessor. (Now, there are reasons, and I don’t blame her, knowing what I know now. But last year I was a bit choked.) But the email addy’s never happened. Five frickin’ minutes to set them up – easy breezy. I know – we do it all the time because we use the same host for one of our sites.
So all I’ve got is all my email correspondence, which I’m not planning to print out, as it totals hundreds of emails. And further to that, any condensed version requires me to drop everything and compile this info into some sensible fashion.
I had planned to gather stuff together and meet with the next pc in what I suspected would be April (but probably May because I addressed this issue in January – I was signed on in February last year – and there was no action on it) and review what they needed to know and answer questions.
And I still intended to do that, because it’s not about being shitty to the next person and depriving them of that chance to ask questions and feel confident they can do the job –I’ve certainly figured it out on my own, but I had the benefit of being a conference receptionist years ago, so it wasn’t a big stretch.
And it isn’t about screwing over everyone else in the group either. There are a lot of people I still like there. I’m not calling them all up and telling my side of the story – anyone who contacts me, I’ll meet with, but that’s where I’m leaving it. I’ve had five meetings so far.
But to do this prior to the March meeting on the 9th? With a few days notice? I don’t think so.
I don’t want to drag this out – I want it to not be part of my day to day life anymore and to stop thinking about it, which I pretty much had, save the one-on-one meetings - but as a somewhat prominent person in the group, people will notice my absence. I would have liked to quietly fade next year and given it some time to see what happened, but that isn’t to be.
So the question is, what do I do now? What would you guys do? I know it might seem simple to wash my hands and drop it, but it’s ingrained in me to fulfill my commitments. I’ve known nothing but family who could walk away from each other in a heartbeat – there was always someone not speaking to someone else, and the bitterness runs deep. From that perspective, I could have been pressured into staying, but the well had been so poisoned for me, I had to weigh that out and I’m glad I made the call to withdraw. Everything that’s happened since has shown me that people I thought were friends weren’t at all, and sooner or later, I was going to face that reality. Better sooner. And I’ve had a lot of peace of mind since.
I’m a pathetic judge. I always want to give second chances and yet Kevin pegs people precisely in no time flat. I should know after 6.5 years to just listen to him, and then I would’ve started backing out months ago.
Silly, silly, stupid me.
Now tell me what you think I should do. Because really, I’m almost completely unemotional about it right now. It isn’t like me to be too pragmatic about stuff like this, when it’s personal. But I’m so drained with the legal situation that I just don’t have time or energy to give a damn anymore.
I have fleeting seconds of worry for what will get said about me and distorted and what people will believe that isn’t true.
But like I said, that’ll happen anyway. So is it worth it to hold on a few more months and do this to fulfill my sense of obligation?
It is to the next program chair. I can benefit them. Unless they’re one of the people involved in this present situation. In which case, they created their problem.
But you know, if I really don’t like how I’m being treated by the group I could sue the board…
And seriously, I could send a letter out to everyone with a condensed explanation. I thought that would be pretty low. But not if I’m getting shoved out the door by people proclaiming that I’ve resigned when I haven’t.
Geez, this is so 13-years-old. Fucking women. Whenever there’s a lot of women involved, the claws tend (generalizing here ladies!) to come out and a high percentage can’t separate business and personal. Which means if you lobby for change, it’s a personal attack instead of the right thing to do for the group.
Right. ‘Nuff said. Winners of the contest posted below.
And tomorrow, I’ll strive for shorter. And hopefully, much much sweeter.
But until then, I’m totally psyched about this! Much as I don’t watch the Oscars,Crash is such a worthy Best Picture winner. Compelling, thought-provoking…love that movie.