Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an untenable situation.
For me, ultimatum is just another word for threat – if you don’t do what I want, I will do something you don’t like, e.g. generally speaking, I believe ultimatums are part of tantrums and should be reserved for use by individuals of 7 years or less. As adults, we are supposed to be able to reason, and if we can reason, we should be able to work out that a situation is not to our liking long before it becomes untenable, and deal with whatever the issue might be.
However, I do have a story. When my mum was in her eighties, I would act as the “Bingo Bus” to bring her and her two buddies round the corner to the parish hall every Wednesday. My friends called it my granny wrangling night. Although seatbelts are mandatory in Ireland, elderly ladies can be quite selective about what rules apply to them, and I fought a losing battle on that front with the oldest and largest buddy.
I did explain to her that should I be stopped by the police when she was travelling without her seatbelt, she was going to have to deal with them, so you might consider that as my first ultimatum.
Lo and behold, one dark, wet, Wednesday night, a gung-ho young chap from the local station placed himself at the gates of the parish grounds and flagged me down. I explained that as far as I was concerned, anybody over 18 is responsible for their own safety, and good luck trying to get a granny over 80 to do what she doesn’t want to do. Ultimatum #2, I believe.
Out came the notebook and he prepared to write a ticket. I took aim, and fired a salvo of grannies at him (actually I just told largest, oldest granny to sort him out and her two pals backed her up).
In addition to the three grannies I had loaded into my car, there was a large batch of loose grannies trundling down the drive. As with many predators, they noticed the first three circling the young victim and closed in on him. As the red-faced young country lad slowly sank under the weight of geriatric disapprobation and tried desperately to breathe through the miasma of BenGay, I lit a cigarette, smiled at him, and turned up the radio so he could hear the strains of “Who’s sorry now?”