This Body Corporate life.


The hostility by some of my fellow residents of our housing complex sometimes borders on the plain silly. On my approach they turn around or start coughing. Of the eight homes four are lived in by owners and the other four by people renting. Of the owners, we are the only couple. An item on its own a solid reason for their chagrin. The other three ‘owner homes’ are occupied by bitter divorced women. The husbands are probably still running or celebrating their lucky escapes. The eldest, apart from being bitter, divorced, and eighty-three years old is also the ‘chairperson’ of the ‘committee’ in charge of implementing the rules of the common held property. She does so with the fervour of Stalin. The Chairperson makes a big difference between owners and renters. She is also English and hints at being Prince Philips illegitimate daughter.

It is sometimes thought that in ageing people soften up and become less hostage of their nastiness or being mean-spirited. That’s not really true. Those with so much time on their hands still needs their attention to be focussed on something. They can’t just dwell on misery or relive past spousal battles. Those with nasty character traits will sharpen them and exercise those skills in doing harm to others. They have all that time. Readers might remember my twenty minutes career in being secretary of the same committee of our housing complex. I resigned when I was expected to write nasty letters to my fellow residents (the renters) about non-existing car parking problems.

Lucky that we have nice immediate neighbours who also happen to rent. They are busy and go to work each day. They sometimes pop in, exchange the latest gossip. They too are aware of the bitter divorcees and their obsession with trivial. It gives us no greater subject to regale upon than to speculate what next rule they will dig up from the Strata Law manual…They have meetings whereby they have Strata Law readings. Lately, the subject of ‘gardens’ have been perused. A letter was sent. “Three dead plants have to be removed opposite the common-held garden of the Oostermans.” A clear war declaration and reprisal for refusing to cross swords with my neighbours about parking, ( by-law 33d) Narrow-mindedness is increasing with age.There is nothing much we can do about it.

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26 Responses to “This Body Corporate life.”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    That narrow-mindedness and pickiness and general obnoxiousness? There is something to be done about it. Ignore it. If I may give my inner Lutheranism a bit of free rein, I’ll offer this wonderful tidbit from the blessed Father Martin himself: “We can’t keep the birds from flying about our heads, but we can prevent them from building a nest in our hair.” Nice, huh?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, we do try and ignore it, Linda. But, it seems to also inspire to endless reflections and to writing little amusing pieces.
      I know there are bigger things to be inspired by, not least by yours and many other bloggers articles.
      I like to get the words out and this at times seems to end up me writing about tedium. On the other hand so much of life does entail the less than the amazingl tantalising adventures.


      • shoreacres Says:

        Now, this is good — that you describe them as amusing pieces. When I finished reading this one, I was feeling a bit depressed by it all — and was fearing that you were feeling the same. Of course, senses of humor are as varied as people, so I’ll not worry about you so much. This is why the word-on-a-page can be so difficult. It would be easier if we were sharing a glass of wine and grinning at each other over the silliness of it all!

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Thank you, Linda. I am not as depressed as might at times be seen, due to a macabre or curmudgeon way of expressing myself. I am touched by “so I’ll not worry about you so much.”

        We have had a difficult family time, but we both enjoy life under the circumstances. A shared glass of wine while steeped in the silliness of it all is what we should all be good at or at least aim for.


  2. Cheri Says:

    Love Shoreacres’ comment. My solution is similar to hers: don’t be old. Remember how you felt in your youth and go forth. Laugh more at provincialism.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lifecameos Says:

    I agree it is hard when people just keep on coming back at you and at you. There are a few people I avoid myself. Your oldest neighbour really needs to take up bowls or croquet or golf or fishing – or something. But I doubt you can alter that. Good luck.


  4. Yvonne Says:

    Have you seen this movie? You might like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrew Says:

    Witches. Burn them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    You are right, opinions tend to harden not soften with time as the brain dries out.

    On a different subject, I made Gerard’s Potato Bake and my husband wanted to complement the chef… Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Narrowness and intolerance increase with age and doesn’t lesson. Perhaps the opposite is true too. There is hope in that case.

      I am so pleased with you trying the Potato Bake. It can be made in many variations.

      We had friends over and I made a curry using cream of coconut, a good stock and pieces of lamb with lots of fine-leaved spinach, two capsicums, tomatoes and turmeric with curry paste. The whole lot slow-cooked in an enamelled cast iron pot. It was lovely.

      Hilary, I remember you had lots of peppers coming on in your garden. They are very nice in curries.


      • hilarycustancegreen Says:

        Curries? Unfortunately my husband’s boarding school used curry powder to disguise old meat… the taste still lingers, so no curries permitted in our house. Yes, we are enjoying our peppers!

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Boarding school curries? Many schools here smell of spag. sandwiches. The favourite sandwich of the fifties and sixties. After our arrival in the fifties, my mum could not believe it. Tinned spaghetti on sandwiches and…Devon too. A kind of sausage made of reconstituted beef mixed with lard and, so they say, dead convicts.
        No wonder Australia to this day is still traumatized.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Dorothy brett Says:

    You might have read my suggestion somewhere else. Just ignore them and why not try putting your hand on Helvi,s bum as you walk with Milo. Adding kissing etc, well not so much of the etc but you knowvehat mean.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We just ignore her. My hand on Helvi’s bum might overexcite this 83 year old chairperson. In which case she will go for eating even more chocolate and becoming overweight. I am afraid she will just have to console herself with romantic re-runs on Commercial TV, interspersed with Omo or Persil ads…


  8. Charlotte Hoather Says:

    Hehe sorry I can’t help but chuckle, my brother had neighbours who couldn’t be bothered to take their rubbish to the shared big bins in the basement and he would moan about the leaking bags left outside their front door in his corridor, smelling the corridor and staining the carpet. I told him to knock on their door and tell them it wasn’t pleasant and could they move them or put them back in their flat. He eventually put a polite note through their door worrying what they’d say or do. These three busybodies would have sorted that out for him pronto😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Having been a condo association inmate for a number of years, Gerard, mainly I chuckle at your stories. I’ve been there where cranky people are given more power than they have ever had before. By far the best thing to do is laugh, but occasionally a bit of secret revenge is in order as well. My take on cranky people is that they don’t mellow with age; they just get worse. But I also think the opposite is true. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I decided years ago to never get old. Somewhat like Peter Pan. Life is too short and it is easier to laugh off the ridiculous. You and Helvi will not become old either Gerard as long as you keep laughing.


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