Shun Control

I broke silence, wrote about why I need to join the resistance on my YBWorks blog.

I expect negative feedback from family and friends who voted for Trump. Some will quietly unfriend me on Facebook, others will blow up my phone. I might get shunned again.

Oh well, shunning only works the first time… then you find yourself not willing to let yourself get too close again. Trust is gone… if they can shun you once, they can do it again.

It was my fault… I did the unthinkable… I survived and thrived without a husband and that, dear friends, set a very bad example for my married sisters.

It took awhile to connect the dots. 

I never really understood why I got shunned… the explanation given when my youngest sister broke silence was a vague excuse carefully worded so I wouldn’t ask any questions. She had to deal with some “personal” things.   

Okay, like that explains two long years of absolutely no contact, the bullshit story used to ensure that our paths would never cross, and the disconnect from other relatives who also shunned me as they took her side in our imaginary war.

Yes, word was that me and baby sis were fighting so much that we couldn’t be in the same room, so I was not invited to any family function that she planned to attend… even our family Christmas party was split into two events, held on separate days.

Two long years passed with absolutely no contact before our paths crossed at a family cookout hosted by other sisters to celebrate two birthdays: my 50th and mom’s 69th.

When I arrived, a big “uh-oh, aunt Nancy is here” flashed over faces on in the next generation down. Baby sis was in the house so I walked in… that’s when she hugged me and apologized with the weak excuse.  After talking, we were okay… but the young ones who had taken her side continued to shun me. I found that rather amusing, like who goes to a birthday party and doesn’t say one word to the birthday girl? One niece actually lifted her nose and turned her head as she walked passed me.

The weird thing about shunning is it intends to punish people by withdrawing highly desired contact and affection, as if the person being shunned will be thrilled to once again be welcomed back into the family fold. If too much time passes, the opposite effect is achieved. The shunned person is not so willing to fully embrace those who are capable of shunning people they supposedly love. The closeness once shared can never be restored as the trust is gone.

I know, supposed to let bygones be bygones, life goes on… but, seven years have passed since she broke the silence and we are not as close as we used to be. I still feel a distance between us. As for the young ones, time has made us strangers. We say hello on the rare occasions when our paths cross, but we don’t know each other anymore. Some have birthed babies who are now school aged children that I have never met.

It always bothered me that I never really knew why I got shunned. If there was a plausible why, I could understand. For nine years, I did not know why. Then a light bulb of illumination clicked on just a couple months ago, when I heard an older relative say, “Married women who want to stay married do not associate with divorced women.”

She went on to elaborate, explain the perils of such associations.

I had heard those words before, in regards to another sister with whom contact was limited after my divorce. I had blamed her husband… thought that odd idea came from his church.

Now it all makes sense… baby sis must have taken the old lady’s advice, abruptly cut off all contact with me while she was desperately trying to salvage her marriage.

So, why did I go off on this tangent?

Oh yes… the possibility of being shunned again, which raises a question: Is the possibility of being shunned for your opinion an effective deterrent used to silence voices?

 

Back Doors (REVISED)

ORGstar3Yes, I am the egress safety bee… as sick as y’all are about me talking about doors, documenting the saga of the doors is more than an irate tenant whining about nonsense. There are 173 apartments in this high rise building located in downtown Youngstown.  All units are rented by elderly and/or disabled Americans.  I talk and write about it because change needs rendered before someone ends up dead.

This is the first place that I have ever lived where I felt the need to sleep with an evacuation bag and lay my shoes (and coat in winter) out where I can grab them on my way out the door at a moments notice any time day or night. I cannot count the number of times fire trucks have pulled up to this building. I have evacuated down the stairs so often that I do not hesitate nor panic when I hear the alarms. It feels more like a “fire drill” than the real thing, and most tenants do not even bother to evacuate because they know that most fire alarms here are the result of smoke from failed cooking attempts setting off the alarm in a hallway.  But, there have been minor fires here, real fires from a microwave meltdown and other things, and at least one major fire years ago that resulted in a fatality.

There are two stairwells here for emergency evacuations, one on each end of the building. Naturally, tenants should avoid elevators and head to their nearest stairwell. There is only one problem… when tenants reach the ground floor, the emergency exit doors are FRIKKIN LOCKED!!!

HALT, DELETE, EDIT

(blog post revision starts here)

ARE THE DOORS LOCKED… or NOT LOCKED?

ARE TENANTS ABLE – OR UNABLE – TO OPEN EMERGENCY EXIT DOORS

IF THEY NEED TO EVACUATE THIS BUILDING?

South "Back Door" emergency exit, also used for various purposes during business hours.

South “Back Door” emergency exit, also used for various purposes during business hours.

It depends on who you talk to…

Three staff members have told me that the doors are set at 5pm to sound an alarm for five minutes when the emergency exit door is opened from the inside, that it works the way it is supposed to, that tenants CAN open the door from the inside, and of course, it cannot be opened from the outside.

Three different tenants have told me that they have tried to open the emergency exit door from the inside only to discover that the door CANNOT be opened from the inside.

One of our security guards told me that the emergency exit doors must be locked down so they CANNOT be opened from the inside at night to “keep sex offenders out” which makes no sense at all because the doors would still be locked from the outside.  A tenant would have to open the emergency exit to let the sex offender in… and who would do that? It is more like tenants sneaking their… uh… shall we say, their Independent Recreational Pharmaceutical Representative and/or other guests who do not wish to sign in at a desk and show a state issued ID to a security guard?

Bottom line is… if they have a problem with a tenant using the emergency exit door to bypass security, the problem is with that particular tenant.  It is illegal to lock down emergency exit doors.  Staff THINKS it is unlocked, a security guard SAYS it is locked, and some tenants FOUND it locked.

So, are the doors locked or not? 
If they are locked and staff isn’t locking down the doors, who is?

Well, to answer the first question… there is only one way to find out:  Test the doors.

Yes, random tests by pairs of tenants – one to try to open an emergency exit door while the other videos the test with a cell phone for documentation. Then submit a report of test date, time, and results to management with a copy for the tenant association.

Random tests by tenants… as in tenants should occasionally test the emergency exit doors on an ongoing basis because we live here, it is our safety at stake, and we need to know that we CAN evacuate this building as necessary.

As for the second question? Hopefully, there will be no need to ask.

And by the way… there was a SHORT in the sensor system on the main egress doors causing it to malfunction. It was installed by a third party company – NOT a DIY installation by maintenance staff – so when the short caused problems, other problems were discovered (such as the omission of the manual unlocking device) that I blogged about in Push to Exit with and update here.

Yes, a talk with a staff member today clarified some things and helped to ease some of the tensions caused by failed attempts to communicate effectively.  And that’s why I updated this blog post.

Thanks for reading!