One place I volunteered for had an elderly woman who had been the Head Secretary FOREVER and perpetually walked around looking scornfully at everybody with her penetrating and mean ice-blue eyes. She wasn’t one of those grouchy nannas because of any pain – she had her younger sisters running around like maids in her home. She was incredibly healthy and fit. Great eye-sight, sharp as a whip, no hip surgery – perfect health! Her energy was just way off.
She would basically ‘glue’ herself to the dear Parish Priest. I had to ask her several times to roster me on for the ‘Ladies Luncheons’ until finally I approached her one night outside the church, away from the church perimeter and off the ‘holy’ grass and onto the ‘secular’ grass where one can be more conversational and I said to her, ‘I noticed you put the same person on the roster three times in a row and I’m still waiting for one spot on the roster. Just tell me what imaginary scene you are playing in your mind about me and your position because I am over this!’ Well that knocked the wind out of her sail. She was speechless after that and told me that she will make sure I get on the roster. After that, no more problems with Cranky Nanna. No more chasing her up with emails and phone calls, no more wasting my time and energy being fake nice/polite to someone who was not open to being positive and operating on a different frequency. No more me playing victim and using ‘her age’ as an excuse to not say anything sooner. This whole charade of her exercising power over me went on for about a MONTH. This mean old lady was getting away with some very bad behaviour and I was complicit in that. The next week after that ‘heart-to-heart’ I went back to mass. I went all the way to the back of the church and there on the counter, shining like the Holy Grail, was an envelope and beside it was a name-tag with my name on it! She and I get along great now that we have cleared up her misunderstanding. We drink tea and eat cucumber sandwiches together – in happy silence. So the moral of this story is that sometimes it is necessary to step out of being nice and just be truthful to get a positive outcome.