Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My Filthy House or Why it Sometimes Hurts When You Open Your Doors

The story goes this way...a friend was in Dominion (the supermarket) and bumped into a fellow North Shore resident. They get to talking and the subjects came and went and then they were talking about the Doors Open event. And the one starts telling the other how the organizers don't want to invite THM back next year (along with another participant) because we received negative feedback. My friend is surprised because it all seemed so successful to them but returns home to let me know the latest gossip from the Dominion check-out line.

I am shocked too since I thought it went incredibly well and I am wondering how it is that this other person even has access to the evaluations (esp. since I never heard a word about anything negative or positive). Finally, today, I reached the source of actual true information--the local organizer of the event--and ask her straight out about what was said in Dominion She tells me that there were a couple (three total) negative comments. This is not so bad considering the number of people who came through--we're talking a 90% satisfied rate, at least. Then she reads the three comments.

One is about how, as an outsider, I should not be allowed to represent Newfoundland culture. Ok, obviously my message did not reach that person because I am not in any way trying to represent Newfoundland culture. I am trying to provide a venue so that others can discuss Newfoundland culture. But I can handle that with some extra attention to my greeting at the front door. At this point, I am dusting my hands off. Heck, these are easy! Bring on the next one! This one I can't remember word for word but it was something along the lines that there was nothing to see here. Well, if that's what you think, that's what you think and there is not much I can do about it. Next! But here is where it gets ugly. The person wrote that they found my house "filthy" and "an embarrassment" and that it never should have been included in the tour since it is a shameful representation of Newfoundland--who picked these sites anyway?


I have to admit I was really taken aback by that one. Filthy? The word rang through my head as I picked up things to prepare for a class coming through this afternoon from the college. I see wear and tear that hasn't all be glossed over but I honestly don't see filth. Such a strong word! More than just dirty but dirty with a tinge of evil. Well, well, I have to confess that one really hurt.

But to find the silver lining, it is good hear from people who aren't all supporters since it is all too easy to surround oneself with the people who say nice things to us. I wish the person had had the nerve to speak up while they were actually in my house--it is the very purpose of the project: to talk about everything here, the good and the bad, the stuff they like and the stuff that pisses them off. And I like to think that getting such a strong reaction means I have touched a nerve, not a nice nerve, but a nerve.

I never meant this project to be easy, and somedays it really is not.

1 comment:

island sweet said...

i remember getting evaluations from the students when i taught and i could get 29 good evaluations and 1 bad and of course that is the one i dwelled on. why do we do this to ourselves? there is no question that what you are doing is wonderful and valuable. and some people just won't understand much at all.