|Re: Through the looking glasses?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Victoria (victoriatrillium-hollow.org)|
|Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 19:31:21 -0700 (MST)|
Dear Patty, Thank you so much for the story, it helps put problems into a wider perspective. Not that we have any where I live of course! Vicky Leary Trillium Hollow ----- Original Message ----- From: <PattyMara [at] aol.com> To: Multiple recipients of list <cohousing-l [at] freedom2.mtn.org> Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2000 4:18 PM Subject: Fwd: Through the looking glasses? > > --part1_67.d6685d.25b8ffe7_boundary > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" > Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit > > > > --part1_67.d6685d.25b8ffe7_boundary > Content-Type: message/rfc822 > Content-Disposition: inline > > Return-path: PattyMara [at] aol.com > From: PattyMara [at] aol.com > Full-name: PattyMara > Message-ID: <e3.5dca88.25b8a8ef [at] aol.com> > Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 13:07:43 EST > Subject: Re: Through the looking glasses? > To: Zen [at] iinet.net.au > MIME-Version: 1.0 > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" > Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit > > In a message dated 1/20/00 12:26:05 AM, Zen [at] iinet.net.au writes: > > << How easily we can dive into our pain - the need for a tenant in one of > the newly finished houses has divided the community. There are all > sorts of assumptions flying about - it's like a snowball fight. After > having caught a couple in the back of the head I've started ducking. > Good people doing dumb things. How does this happen? > >> > > OK, Zen, spill. The rest of the post was the good feeling stuff (kids and > carols) which is entertaining and warm and fuzzy. But. One of the > aspirations of my original "Through the Looking Glass" posts was to comment > not only on the warmfuzzies, but to reveal the "warts and all" of community > life. > > I suspect that you minimized your comments about the tenant "snowball fight" > because the issue is too intense at the moment. So I'll contribute a story > from Tierra Nueva that involves a renter which happened over six months ago. > At the time it occurred, emotions were running so hot that I felt uneasy > discussing it on the list. > > Tierra Nueva, on the central CA coast, has 27 homes. 25 are owned and > occupied by members. The remaining 2 are rented out to tenants. One of the > owners is local and involved actively in community life: business meetings, > meals, work days etc. The other owner lives out of town and has not > integrated into community life, but plans to once she retires and moves here > in the next 5 years. After six months of her unit remaining empty because > her real estate agent had trouble finding renters, she finally found a > tenant, a middle aged woman from out of town who integrated slowly into the > community. After a couple of months this first tenant found a second tenant > to live the downstairs portion, a single man in his thirties, from out of > state, new to the area. > > Within a few weeks, this new person, Pete (not his real name), was the topic > of rife speculation among the mothers of young children in the community. > Pete spent a great deal of time hanging out with the kids in the village > playground, throwing the frisbee around, playing soccer. He didn't seem to > be employed and had lots of free time. He did not attend meetings or meals, > even when invited and encouraged. When engaged conversationally by various > folks and asked about where he moved from, he would answer that he was just > released from a prison...then laugh about it, jokingly. Pete had a knack for > trying to joke about inappropriate things, including sexual innuendoes to > members and guests in the common house. At the same time he was not getting > along with his house tenant. > > After a few weeks of this nebulous interaction with adults and increasingly > ardent playtime with the kids (mostly the 3-6 year olds) the mothers of > Tierra Nueva were in a lather. Kids were not allowed to be with him alone, > supervision was amped up, and talk soon spread to doing a backround check on > Pete. Some were uneasy confronting him but others took it upon themselves > to have a sit down with him and try to diffuse the tension. This went on for > a few more weeks until it reached a fevered pitch. At this time most of the > community members had been living on site less than 3 or 4 months, and some > were still not moved in. It was a time of fatigue and over-extension. We > saw the need for a community meeting...and decided to use the Open Space > process (Harrison Owen) to see what would percolate up from the group as > needing to be discussed. Sure nuf, it did get put up on the topics board as > "Owner-Renter Relations" along with other topics like ping pong vs. pool > table, community meal menus and who gets to use the workshop. It was heavily > attended, lasted over 2 hours and was intense but honest. Pete hung in there > for the whole time as parents explained to him how inappropriate his behavior > *appeared* when he spent time with the young children without establishing a > trust level first with the adults. There was a flurry of support for Pete by > some of the men who suggested that accusations were gender related, because > he is a single *man" and therefore stereotyped as dangerous by the women and > mothers. > > Hoo baby. It was good stuff...difficult work and of course, just the > beginning. After the meeting one of the moms made this comment privately to > me: "Well, Pete's not a pervert, he's just a dufus". Tensions were > diffused in the short run. Personally I made a promise to him to speak to > him directly when I witnessed behaviors that were questionable or comments > that were in poor taste. I have had to do this on a couple of occasions > when Pete's "jokes" were inappropriate. He seems to be getting it slowly. > Finally I suggested that he simply not make jokes with the women here. He > stopped hanging with the kids, seems to be getting to know a few of the > parents and attends meetings and meals occasionally. > > It has been a most interesting experience. I was surprised by the intensity > of the distrust, the capacity for gossip to run rampant and the subtle > expectations placed on renters to "fit in". Well, not everyone who comes to > community does fit in, and it remains to be seen if Pete will stay. But it's > not just renters. Some of the buyers have also had some difficulty settling > in as well. > > We're working on a set of behaviors which we found in a Community magazine > article called "Respects and Responsibilities" and some conflict resolution > agreements. But it has taken us months of discussion. There is a reluctance > to codify behavior. One of the best agreements we did consense was the > children's version of R and R's So progress has been made. I'm going to > bring up the R and R's for us "dults" at tonight's meeting, since I'm > thinking about it. > > So that's my renter story, only able to tell it after six months of cooling > off. > > Anymore stories from the naked city? Warts and all. > > Coheartedly, > Patty Mara Gourley > Tierra Nueva, cen CA coast, where after months of clear skies it is finally > raining and we may miss the full eclipse tonight. But we do need the rain. > I'm holding out for both seeing the eclipse AND getting more rain. > > > > --part1_67.d6685d.25b8ffe7_boundary--
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