Several years ago when I was yet a “China Hand”, I would often hear those involved in Washington State politics refer to D.C. as “The Other Washington”. At the same time, people who live on the East Coast refer to “our” (local) politics as “The Other Washington”. I am quite certain that this hasn’t changed.

Now disregarding your political inclination, imagine what happens when someone gets all bent out of shape when someone from the other location will not submit to the same view. Essentially this person for the sake of maintaining the “integrity” of her self identity absolutely has to have her belief recognized as to which location is the “real Washington”… which of course also allows her to distinguish it from “The Other Washington.”

Pretty stupid … right? Quite evidently, this is a trivial discussion. But, this dichotomy can help to understand some of the zaniness attendant to boundary disputes. So let’s explore this mental construct a bit more and then draw some conclusions.

Imagine we have a person living here in Greater Seattle transplanted from D.C. and she still wants to maintain that she now lives in “The Other Washington” because naturally in her mind D.C. is “the real Washington.”

Now it would be one thing if this person went around town wearing  cap and scarf of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Though many in our state who are loyal to the Seahawks may find it “different” when she opens her mouth and talks about how she is living in “The Other Washington”, most people would probably dismiss the matter as an allowed loyalty to her version of reality. Who cares – right?

But what happens when she becomes absolutely “in your face” about this “issue?” You can be just about certain she will receive a good dose of “Seattle Nice” whereby when she goes on one of her rants people will just smile – albeit likely with a cringe – in order to appease her rather strident view. Yet here, they will do their best to just give this person plenty of space.

Now that is the critical point. Because this person is not challenged on her (locally) out of place perceptions, she has been given more space … i.e. a vacuum.

Here, please remember that “nature abhors a vacuum.” So, this oddball likely becomes increasingly expansive and perhaps expressive in her view because she is not self-limiting and her mental boundaries are rarely if ever challenged … its just not worth it.

Unfortunately for you, this person now moves in next to you and gets it in her head that she is entitled to land which the majority of people – i.e. both jury and judge – are highly unlikely to [assist to] determine as hers.

The jury isn’t disinclined to grant her the land because she disregards normal convention. No, instead the jury is simply assisting the court to determine the facts and afterward the judge determines how those facts will fall into place with respect to the law.

Remember though, this person fails to recognize bounds and has not been challenged for her transgression of them for quite some time because of the space given to her.

Question #1: Do you think she will use rational faculties when presented with law and fact?

Answer: NO!

You are likely in for one heck of a confrontation in which her patterns of thought must be interrupted and scrambled before she will begrudging relent to have her physical boundaries properly bound.

If money were no object, having the court drop its gavel to interrupt her “regularly scheduled program” might be completely satisfactory.

But, with the exception of extraordinarily wealthy individuals, money is indeed an object.

Question #2: What is the best answer for anyone who isn’t an extraordinarily wealthy individual involved in an impossible situation like this?  

Answer: Do everything you can to get the matter to mediation.

Now, there are three types of mediation approaches: (1) facilitative; (2) evaluative; and (3) transformative.

Determining which of these three approaches to pursue is perhaps the most important determination when seeking to bring a boundary dispute to resolve.

If wanting help evaluating your boundary dispute and determining the best process and strategy to attempt to bring resolution to it, please answer less than a dozen questions by contacting Justice Smiles [HERE].