Wednesday, March 14, 2007

One Less Bell To Answer...

Tonight there was a meeting of my condo association. We've been getting e-mails on it for the last three weeks, reminding us of the time and location.

"Main Lobby, 7:00 PM
Come find out the latest happenings and let us know what you'd like to see around the building. Cookies and snacks will be provided. We hope to have a really productive meeting!"

I didn't go. And you wanna know why?

Because I DIDN'T HAVE TO. That's right! I'm free to skip all the association meetings I please from now on. One less obligation on my crowded plate. One less place I simply HAVE to be along with the 100 others. That's a big deal for me.

Why, you ask? Because for 2 years, I was the recording secretary of the association board, taking minutes at every meeting, getting every stupid e-mail that every resident sent out, realizing that these people still think they live in apartments and we're their landlords, and on-call 24 hours for everything that goes wrong, from their can openers to their toilets. They thought we were convenient Mr. Fix-Its, right on the premises.

Also, our first association president, Kitty, was a Type-A wacko who would call meetings every Sunday with 5 minutes notice because "WE GOT LOT OF WORK TO DO" (imagine it shrieked in a Chinese-American dialect, and you get the picture). Sometimes, I'd tell her I was going to be out of town, then be checking my cell phone at my mom's and have a message: "AARON, WE HAVE MEETING TOMORROW 11:00!" I'd have to call back and remind her I was gone, barely restraining myself from adding, "Don't you listen, you crazy bitch?"

She would send out rudely worded e-mails to people when they questioned anything she said, too. She actually called people "morons"--no kidding--and when we reminded her that this could get us in a lot of trouble (somebody could sue us for slander), she would reply, "I WILL NOT CENSOR MYSELF! THESE PEOPLE NEED TO SEE REALITIES THAT MUST BE FACED IN COMMUNAL LIVING!!" Yeah, "communal," not "communist."

Kitty finally quit in a huff and a cloud of sulphur in January 2005 because the residents were getting tired of her snotty e-mails. Actually, it went down like this: one of the residents called a meeting (having taken a 2/3 vote, which constitutes a quorum) and explained how the place didn't feel like a home when you have such a hostile neighbor. This resident was not the smartest person on earth (or the most trustworthy), but she had a point on the hostility factor. Kitty, of course, missed that point since she refused to attend the meeting. However, three of us on the board decided to attend and hear them out, making it clear that we were not making official decisions as a board, but would relay messages to Kitty.

Boy, did Kitty flip out. She was a pissed Kitty! She accused us of trying to usurp her authority and proceeded to call us out in the same language she used on the other residents. I finally told her enough is enough, and the other members followed suit. She lay very low for about a week, and the following Friday, we all awoke to find copies of her resignation shoved under our doors. It was for the best, really. We never saw her after that--she and her henpecked husband rented out their unit and moved to Edgewater. No more awkward encounters. Life was much sweeter--and a little quieter.

Our presidents since then have been very good, but being on the board was still like being the Big Bad Man, since we had to make unpopular decisions at times. I'm not interested in power trips. I only joined the board because they nominated me, voted me in, and I knew nobody else would do it. I tried to quit in Sept. 2005 (halfway through my term), but nobody would take over. My term was up this past October, and an iron maiden and a pair of stocks could not have made me stay. I don't miss it one bit, and I stayed in tonight while the meeting went on downstairs.

And it may have been my (admittedly) fertile imagination, but I could have sworn I heard angry raised voices.

And that was WITH cookies.


Anonymous Ed said...

I hope to live in an apartment in a big city some day so thanks for the heads up. I'll stay away from those meetings. You are the type of guy that would make a good Condo Association President. The first time you go off on their Ass they'll respect you and let you do your job. Tell them to toss their cookies. LOL.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Actually, when our second president, Adam, moved to Los Angeles, the other members tried to get me to take his place. I declined.

Also, I found out from a neighbor this morning that it was NOT angry voices I'd heard, but people laughing and talking (apparently on a sugar buzz). :-)

1:41 PM  
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