In the past I've written a story or two or three and maybe even a poem about the joys of living in a 55+ community. The joy increases by leaps and bounds when one is brain damaged enough to run for, and be elected to their Board of Directors. You may wonder why I would make such a statement. Believe me when I say, I'm speaking from experience. I'm as brain damaged as any. As proof, I have served on our Board as the Treasurer for five LONG joy-filled years.
The Directors terms are for two years, but it appears to work like this: Have a major brain malfunction and put your name on the ballet for the upcoming election. Once elected, as long as the residents are interested enough to be happy with you, no one will run in future elections. This means that you retain this prestigious unpaid position until you can convince another half-crazed fool to step up and put their name on a ballot.
One day, a friend was relating stories to me of his experiences as the President of his Board of Directors. When I asked if he was still serving on his Board, his answer was 'No, I'm not."
This amazed me somewhat, so I followed up with the question, "How did you manage get off of your Board once you were elected."
His answer made perfect sense, "I sold my condo and moved far, far away." I may resort to that some day, but for now, being on the Board is quite entertaining for me. Besides, we actually serve a purpose and even do a good job. Of course, there are those who believe that our only purpose is to sit in front of monthly meeting and listen to their complaints. The following is a perfect example of a typical meeting.
Recently, our Condo Association Board of Directors held a meeting to explain the budget for the coming year to the residents. Monthly maintenance payments were actually going DOWN a few dollars, so all seven of us expected the meeting to go quite well with no surprises. Although people seemed pleased, there were two budget items that drew questions and comments.
The first was an expense that would involve having a company resurface our streets and parking lots. This particular company had also agreed to re-stripe our parking spaces and repaint our bumper stops. After this was thoroughly explained, one of our retired ladies stood and asked to be recognized, saying that she had a request. Once she had the microphone in hand she requested that the CEMENT bumper stops that are anchored to the pavement, be LOWERED AN INCH.
"Excuse me?" came the response from the Board President, "Please explain again what you're asking for?"
"I would appreciate it very much if you would LOWER the bumper stop just an inch because every time I pull into my parking space, I scrap the front part of my car that hangs down. You know what I mean?"
"Yes, Mam, I understand exactly what you're saying." came the polite answer. "The only suggestion that I have is that you not pull forward into your parking spot quite so far."
"Well, that sounds good except that I drive a big car and I can't judge how close the front end is. I'm just asking that the bumper stop be lowered a tiny little bit. It seems to me that it would be real easy for you to do."
With this my mind began to wander, "Hmmmm, could this be one of our beloved senior citizens that need to be required to take a test before being issued a new drivers license? Perhaps."
"Thank you, Mam, we'll take your suggestion under consideration." seemed to be the most reasonable response.
I sat on the platform with the rest of the Board Members and pondered this request, wondering what sort of tool or piece of machinery would shave off a inch of cement from several hundred bumper stops. I remember my dad using a 'plain' to take a small bit of wood from a sticky door but I sure don't remember seeing or even hearing of anyone doing something similar to bumper stops. Probably more importantly, I wondered just how expensive something like that might be. I mentioned that our budget was going down,,,,, well,,,, something like this just might mean kissing that reduction good bye.
As I continued to puzzle over this request, a gentleman in the back of the audience raised his hand and spoke, "I also hava a suggestion," he began in broken English.
"Yes Sir, please continue."
"We hava maintenance men who do nothing buta sit ona their butts alla day. Maka them cuta the grass. Fire the company that wea payin so mucha money to. Maka our own men cuta the grasses."
"Sir, we only have 2 maintenance men in our employ and their days are quite filled with duties. I'm not sure that this would be a posibility."
"These a men, they are a not busy," the audience member continued becoming quite belligerent. "They sita an do nothing. I have a seen them sitting."
As the treasurer, I spoke up trying to point out to the gentleman that our Lawn Care Company comes in and in one day cuts 62 acres and an unknown number of shrubs and bushes. They trim around 500 trees just before hurricane season each year and make sure that the lawns and plants are fertilized properly.
His answer was, "Soa whata, it taka a little longer for our men to cuta the grass. Theya no be a sittin any more."
Again seeing the reduction in our monthly maintenance disappearing before my eyes, the financial side of me tried to continue logically by adding, "We'd need equipment. This new equipment would need to be maintained. It would need to be kept gassed up. Our liability insurance just may increase, as well as our workers compensation insurance. We'd need to educate our staff regarding when to feed our lawns, what product to use and......
Before I could go further, the gentleman (and I'm being kind using that term) interrupted and in a loud voice announced, "YOU no know. I KNOW."
"Sir", I started again.
He gave me a dismissive wave of his hand, "YOU NO KNOW. I KNOW." and stomped from the room. He didn't add "You're just a woman, what do you know?" but he was thinking it real loud because the vibes came across a room that had fallen into silence, all the way from the back right up front to hit me square in the middle of my forehead.
My response, "I move that the meeting be adjourned."
To which there were 6 other quick responses from the Board, "I'LL SECOND THAT.'
So ends yet another enjoyable Board of Directors meeting in our 55+ community. Once again seven of us returned to our homes feeling bruised and battered. But tomorrow would be a brand new day. Our neighbors would once again be smiling. Life is good for those elected to serve on Board of Directors. (And if you believe that I'd like to talk to you about purchasing ocean-front property in Arizona.)