I can’t begin to tell you how much I love not having to shovel snow, rake leaves and lugging that garbage can brimming with bags of used litter down to the curb twice a week. That said, I really find the Board of Managers of my Homeowner Association, um, what’s the word? Yes, ‘exasperating’ works.
Every condo association has one and they are supposedly put in place to keep order and symmetry to the entire living experience. And, yes, a great many of these meetings are meaningless or worse, counter-productive. Why? Because when meetings are held decisions have to be made. Does it matter that those decisions are? Does it matter that those decisions in no way affect the daily life of the residents? Don’t be silly. Just make a decision…on something.
Having attended a meeting or two, I can say with some certainty that many of them sound like this: “Welcome everyone. As you all know, this is a meeting and we’re here to discuss a concern of many of our residents. Now, does anyone recall what that concern is?” “Wasn’t it about the, oh wait, I think it might have been about the dog poop left in mailboxes?” “No, that wasn’t it. Okay, let’s take a vote. Who wants pizza? All in favor of getting pizza, raise your hand. (Hands waving in the air) Great, pizza it is.”
We had a small tree in the back that by all accounts died sometime during the Hoover Administration but, for some reason, was still in the ground. We wrote to the board asking if it would be okay to have the tree removed and put up a small, latticed type fence in its place. We, of course, mentioned the demise of the tree and that the fence we have chosen would only add to beautify the property. A few days later, we received an unsigned note from a member of the board saying that we could proceed with the plans.
We put our contractor, Gomer, on it and a week later, the tree was gone and the fence was up. It was truly a work of art and although we greatly appreciate his handywork, what we loved most was the fact that he worked for four cases of Bud Light. Oh, how I wish the story ended there, but, no.
The board had to perform what the call a ‘walk around.’ This is where they take a stroll around the complex and find problems that don’t exist for the sole purpose of having another meeting. They descended to have a look, led by the president, a gruff guy named Jim with armpit stained tee shirts and a faded Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage tattoo on his bicep. “Where’s the tree and who gave permission for this fence,” he wanted to know? “Donna, was it you?” “Well, I’m not sure, Jim. They said the tree was dead but I thought Betty had talked with Norm and everyone had signed off on it.” “That’s ridiculous,” Jim screamed. “ I don’t think I ever knew about this, did I Norm?” “No sir. If you say you didn’t, you didn’t.” “Betty, do you remember speaking with the Miller’s?” “Not really, sir, no. I’m pretty sure I never spoke with them…I think, maybe.” By now, Jim was ready to explode. “Well, how dead was the Goddamn tree, anyway?” “Pretty dead, sir.” “Crap! Meeting in 5 minutes!”
So, the fence remains up while they continue to ponder just what to do to us for the horrific display of malfeasance we have burdened them with. Please don’t misunderstand me. I have the utmost respect for the Board of Managers. I just think that their decisions should be confined to things that they feel strongly about. Something that evokes a visceral reaction in them. Something they can really sink their teeth into. Wait, I got it…pizza!