Courtesy is dead

This just in: an update to the workmen situation from Monday.


So yesterday, I missed my doctor’s appointment to sit at home all day because the neighbour told my mum that they needed to get into the back yard. I need to physically open the gate, which only opens from the inside, and because it shuts on it’s own, I need to do it to let them in, because sensible people generally don’t leave their back gate open for anyone to wander in, especially in an area with kids and bikies (probably the nice ones) and serial breakins in the area.

Nobody came to get me to open the gate. My mum called the neighbour (she does this without consulting me a lot, and then complains that he’s hard to deal with) and he said a time. Nobody came, again, and I explained to my mum, again, that I need to physically open the gate for them.

I saw them leave and nobody told my mum anything, nor did my mum get through to the property manager to confirm anything. We thought they were done, and were generally relieved.

So today they turn up, and I watched through the window as a guy got out of a van, pulled out power tools, and started working. Lesson number one: don’t approach people you don’t know who have power tools.

So, I called the police. This isn’t easy for me, as you know, but I felt it was justified and I didn’t feel like spending another afternoon stuck inside my house terrified.

Calling the police involves the relay, which didn’t work too well again. Apparently, instead of me talking to the police operator, the relay operator just paraphrased, told me off for speaking, and the police operator said they’d send someone and hung up. Already, I sensed this wasn’t going to be taken seriously.


Over half an hour later, by the time things had graduated from power tools to house-shaking banging, the doorbell rang.

A single, solitary police officer was there to tell me that he was satisfied I was safe and it wasn’t his problem. He had already talked to the neighbour, who had told him I had refused access yesterday (remember how I have to physically open the gate and nobody came to get me). I asked if I was allowed to see the worker’s ID. You know, how it is on the police-issued flyer about how when people turn up to the house to do work without letting you know first? I was not. I was told that it was strata, he knew my landlords were my parents, and I was told to take it up with them.

I told him I had, and they had not been able to confirm work was meant to be done.

He said it wasn’t his problem because the neighbour thought it was okay.

And he refused to talk any more. He just kept saying ‘I won’t explain this to you again’ when I was trying to ask clarifying questions and explain the situation properly. He wouldn’t let me finish sentences. And then he walked away after telling me I would be fine if I kept the door closed. “He doesn’t have any intention of even speaking with you.” was one of the things he said.



Everyone, we now live in an age where people can just turn up and do work on your house without even knocking first, and the police think it’s okay.


A few minutes later, the doorbell rang again, and a different officer was there, and he said his partner was filling out the report. He asked if I was okay. I told him I was not. He asked if I could talk. (The fact that I called¬†on the relay, meaning they were meant to have this information?) I explained that people are meant to tell me in advance because the noise gives me migraines. His partner was standing right next to him, where I suppose I wasn’t meant to see him.


The conclusion out of all of this: the worker is going to call his manager, who will call the property manager, who will call my mum (who has been trying to contact him for two days to find out what is going on, because he was meant to call her to get the work order approved in the first place).


Please note the following ways this all could have been avoided:
– ANY OF THE MEN involved bothering to talk to me. Including the neighbour, instead of going through my mum.
– My mum not going off on her own and talking to the neighbour without talking to me.
– The worker bothering to knock on the door before starting work on my house, on any day.


Please note the following ways the situation this afternoon could have been handled better:
– The police person not talking down to me and ignoring me then walking away.
– The neighbour not inserting himself and making it worse

What happened after the second police person talked to me is that the worker said he would go work on another house and call his manager to call the property manager. My mum asked why I even bothered calling the police at all because nothing ever happens.

What just happened now is that my mum got a call from the property manager:
– He did not know workers were there and hadn’t authorised it.
– The manager had ordered the workers to stop work entirely until it was sorted out.
– My mum authorised the workers to finish work today, and informed me.
– My mum reminded the property manager that we need to be informed in advance of people coming.

Turns out, the neighbour had authorised the work without letting anyone know, and since he doesn’t have the authority to do so… yeah. The property manager had not contacted my mum because he didn’t know workers were there and thought it was… I don’t know, what is it when people don’t know something so they think it’s not important? That.


So, it turns out that calling the police, while it upset everyone (my mum threatened to sell, again), ended up facilitating the communication which was meant to happen and hadn’t. The police person telling me that the work was authorised and dismissing me saying it was not was, well, not correctly informed.


And I don’t really know how to frame this to be a teachable thing or an example of how my disability affected the situation. The fact is, because the neighbour told the police that my parents are my landlords, because I don’t wear makeup at home, and because I was wearing a skirt and have long hair, the police person could have assumed I was a young female and talked down to me out of some ingrained sexism, or was just annoyed that there was a call that wasn’t someone dying and involved lots of shooting. (I did hear him laughing with the worker about it, so there’s that.) The fact is, the work¬†wasn’t authorised through the right channels, so it was an issue. The police person refusing to engage with me and listen, for whatever reason, when he had the wrong facts (sorry, “alternative facts”) was an example of something, even if it doesn’t fit into a neat ‘only men know about construction’ or ‘the disabled person doesn’t know what’s going on’ set of motivations. Maybe it’s ‘common courtesy doesn’t exist any more and it disproportionately affects people in my space or on any axis on which I intersect’?


Final piece of amusement: they were meant to come back in 20 minutes an hour ago, to do 20 minutes of work, but they can only make it to their next job on Friday morning. The neighbour won’t leave while they’re working on his house because he needs to be there to supervise. The work they are doing doesn’t match the work on the quote they provided two years ago.

Oh, and guess what? When I asked for the workers’ name and ID after I was told to talk to my landlord, I wasn’t allowed to have it, because the police person was satisfied. Um. How am I meant to say to my mum ‘um yeah a dude showed up and is banging on the house but I don’t know who he is, can you ask the property manager if he sent anyone? But I can’t check if this is the same person, we good?’.


I swear, sometimes my brain just functions on an entirely different level to everyone else. Like my worldview and sense of right/wrong/funny is just so different that I belong somewhere else. Like, ‘hi, I’m working on your house, there’s going to be some banging and stuff for a few days’ isn’t hard. At all. right?

‘He didn’t even intend to tell you he would be there’ isn’t making anyone safer.