This has been a week full of conflict, both actual and potential. I had three mediations - usually I take on only one, but this week the weather was so good my spirits were high as well as my energy level.
In mediations, each party is pretty sure they're right and the other is wrong. Usually it's also a matter of "the principle of the thing". So, in small claims, one person may owe money to another, but for some reason there's been perceived unfairness or poor treatment, so one party files a claim against the other. A mediator's job is to help the parties hear each other and work out an agreement they both can live with, rather than going to trial. We tell them the judge won't be interested in what's fair or who did the most wrong thing to the other; the judge will simply apply the law. In this week's small claims court, one man said he had been treated rudely by a customer service department, so not only did he want his money back but also a written apology from the customer service person, who did not attend the session. Somehow we worked out an agreement. Small claims mediations last only an hour or so; I think of them as "Mediation Light".
In the other two mediations both parties were convinced the other had done them wrong. That's always the case - whether it's a divorcing couple, angry neighbors or a disgruntled tenant. Again, the job of mediators is to listen and reflect, to encourage the parties to hear each other and to reach an agreement they can live with. These mediations are scheduled for three hours but can go longer than that.
By Thursday evening, when I finished the final mediation for the week, I was tired!
On the home front, it's not always easy to be neutral and to seek common ground that's positive. I try to keep an open mind myself but I am not always successful. I felt wronged this weekend by two other residents of the household and I was quite annoyed. One of the other residents didn't think they had wronged me. They said it was a misunderstanding. I think it was a deliberate attempt to do an end run around my strongly-held brief. I wish I could have cloned myself and mediated between us. The issue is still unresolved. The cynical part of me thinks the other parties are going to ignore the issue and hope it goes away, which will leave me with the choice of pursuing it or letting it go. Behave myself or assert my rights. What should it be?
There are times when I think people with short fuses have too much control of things, and people with longer fuses have to put up with bad behavior. In the long run, I usually feel better when I am behaving myself.
Right now, though, I'm waiting to feel better.
Last week I didn't get to my water aerobics class, not even once, and I didn't walk. Tomorrow I start back to my regular exercise routine. That will help.
My Summer Bucket List - July Update
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