Saturday, July 17, 2004

This Board was never meant for one so sensitive as me

     So there I was, reclining naked on the chaise, fanning myself with my bra and trying to shove the dog off the end in such a way that she’d think she thought of it herself. I’m nice that way. You?
     Yeah, it’s all about being gracious in this crazy old world – thinking of others, considering their feelings and needs and innermost desires, and not simply blundering heavy-footed and arm-swingingly careless through the paper-thin crystal and porcelain landscape that is the fragile real-life reality of so many of us.
     Sensitive? Like an exposed nerve I am.
     I’m a flesh covered Geiger counter… a human earthquake early warning system… a sensory-rich zone of a woman, calibrated to the nth degree to pick up the most microscopic of emotional feedback.
     So what, you must be asking yourselves, am I doing on the board of directors of my stupid condominium corporation? Good question. Huge mistake is all I can come up with.
     I wrote some months back about the political minefield that is the condo corp.  How running for the board of directors was as much an exercise in self-flagellation as it was in futility – as going up against the ancient monolith of self-perpetuating condo-governing arbiters was virtually guaranteed to fail.
     Surprise, surprise. In a series of coincidental circumstances, the four toppermost Directors fell from grace and Board like an animated (just) Mount Rushmore doing a stoney face-plant.  President and chief operating asshole? Gone. Exiting with a flounce and a harrumph that could be heard from the basement laundry room to the rooftop antenna, he made the classic sixth grade mistake of thinking they’d all beg him to come back and never question his garage floor-washing schedule again.       
     Vice President and all-round bitch from H E double-hockey sticks? Like the ventilation system she systematically refused to consider for inclusion on the capital expenditures wish list, to the tree replacement program she mercilessly excised from every call for ‘Other Business’ during board meetings, she’s disappeared.
     The Secretary and head of the former Landscape Committee? Quit.  The near-invisible yes-man who made the lives of no-persons such H E double-you-know-what for so many years? Now completely invisible.
    Hip hip hoo-not-so-fast…
     In the void that followed the unprecedented leave-taking, I and a couple of other saps stepped selflessly up and agreed each to a three year term of directorship, committing ourselves to the endless monthly board meetings, thankless committee groups and deer-caught-in-an-elevator confrontations with residents who want immediate answers to such brain-teasers as the exact date and time of the next window washing (don’t ask me – not my committee) why doesn’t the elevator go all the way to the basement (dunno – see above) and chummy gossipers who want to know the REAL reason the President left so abruptly (murder I suspect) and so on.
     Now, three board meetings in, member of the NEW Landscaping Committee, Secretary in charge of newsletters (I was considering both a sports and an entertainment column) I want nothing more than to quit, to run away, to disavow, disabuse and basically disco dance my way out of this nightmare.  
     In the last six weeks I’ve received a nasty letter, a vicious phone call and have been cut dead on three separate occasions in three separate locations.  My taste in flowers, colour and tree pruning not just disagreed with, but despised.  Eyebrow raising, eyeball rolling, lip-lifting sneers – I’ve seen them all.  My motives are routinely questioned, my character and honesty routinely trashed and in the past few weeks, I’ve noticed some people if not actually ignoring the dog, certainly holding back from the gushing infatuation that is her due.
     How much more is a sensitive flower like myself supposed to take?  How is the human Geiger counter supposed to withstand this earth shaking less-than-universal approval?  I take the stairs now to avoid confrontation with the meanies who replaced the people I thought of as my neighbours as recently as June. I don’t answer the phone unless I recognize the number on the call-display and I drive the dog to a park several blocks and a world away from those who suspect my every vote is a ploy to steal their parking spot, their bike rack or the fake plastic ornamental lobby trees they love so much.
     (Actually, the ornamental trees are in a certain amount of danger.)
    Well, sensitive is as sensitive does, as a paraphrased Forrest Gump might have said (if I had written the script and received the wages and royalties amounting to millions of dollars and could move out of here without a 'by your leave', or even have to pack the furniture or bubble wrap the crockery myself – I’d have that much money) so I'd like to take back everything critical I ever said about the last board.  I retroactively forgive them all the underhanded, dishonest, self-aggrandizing and self-serving stuff I might have accused them of… if only they’ll take my apology along with their discarded board memberships.
     Come back you bastards – all is forgiven!

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