I usually got good grades in school. But there was one grade I never scored well at. I never achieved an “O” for “Outstanding” at working well with others. In fact, some of my teachers criticized me for this lack of social skills. Damn you Miss Durklemeyer!
But now that I’m much older I realize that it isn’t just me. Nobody works well with others. Not even Miss Durklemeyer.
This has been very evident to me while dealing with some recent challenges. Early this month my father-in-law, Jake, passed away. And he passed away at an inconvenient time. Damn you Jake! Had Jake been more cooperative, he would have stuck around to deal with the aftermath of an uncooperative tenant.
This tenant had been evicted from one of Jake’s rentals just a week before Jake died. You can read more on her by clicking this link. She was evicted because she wasn’t being cooperative with paying the rent. And she was a hoarder, and she left behind a house and yard full of junk. Damn her!
My wife and I are in the middle of dealing with Jake’s estate. And on top of that we must clean up the property that the evicted hoarder left full of junk. Thus far we have spent nearly $3,000 of estate money on this cleanup, and have hauled away four 30 cubic-yard dumpsters full of rubbish.
But we’ve had help. Help from workers whom we’ve hired. Or are they tortoises? Help from workers who’ve required rides to and from the cleanup site. And help from workers who said they were coming back to help more, and never showed up.
We pay well, but money doesn’t always overcome the human condition. That condition of not working well with others. Damn you condition, and damn you, workers!
We need Jake’s death certificate to handle a number of paperwork issues for the estate. But we’re going on a month since Jake’s uncooperative demise, yet still no certificate. I understand this is normal for our underfunded county. Apparently nobody is allowed to die here, because the county can’t afford it. Damn you, taxpayers, and damn you bureaucrats!
Property appraisers get the value all wrong. Relatives get angry about being left out of the will. And doctor’s offices continue to call, to remind us of upcoming appointments for Jake, even though we’ve told them he’s dead.
Tenants don’t pay the rent. Handymen gouge us when charging for repairs on rentals. And visitors stop by when we’re busy, then stay too long. Damn you all!
Nobody works well with others. This is not my own jeremiad; everyone has this problem. There is no such thing as teamwork. We humans will never cooperate fully with each other.
But maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe this keeps us independent, unique, and interesting. Otherwise maybe we’d be a bunch of robots, slaves to conformity, and dull as dishwater.
I’ve learned that if I want to work with others I must have patience and a sense of humor. Meditating on my omphalos also helps. It calms me down, and prevents me from throttling my uncooperative compatriots.
And as I relax and settle down I reflect that I, too, can be a pain in the ass. I’m not so easy to work with, myself. I demand much from others, and get pissed off when they don’t cooperate. I try to hide my anger, but apparently my red face and creased forehead give me away. Damn my face!
Sometimes I give up and just do the job myself. Yeah, that’s teamwork, right?
I realize I’ve been this way since grade school. At least according to Miss Durklemeyer. And still, I have not learned my lesson.
I’m like everyone else. I do not, and will never, work well with others.