I live in a condominium complex. I have never been fond of communal living, but as a single person, it made sense to live somewhere where I didn’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, or getting someone to paint the outside, etc.
My last experience living in a community like this wasn’t exactly pleasant, since I somehow got elected to the Board of Directors and it was a like a little village with all Chiefs and no Indians. (And I say this with respect to Native Americans!) Everyone there knew a better way to do whatever we were doing. And only theirs was the right way.
To give you an idea of exactly how many chiefs there were, we had a huge emergency Board meeting because one of the residents decided to have valet parking for a holiday party she was having.
Parking places were at a premium in the complex and these red-jacketed guys scurrying around jingling keys and leaving no spots for anyone else’s guests who were also celebrating the holiday caused everyone else’s blood pressure to reach the boiling point. The Board’s phones were ringing off the hook all night and hard drives were filling up rapidly with irate e-mails.
It was probably the only condo complex in the entire state of New Jersey to pass an amendment to its by-laws that forbade valet parking…oh, yes…and another by-law excluding tents on the common grounds. It seemed that this same Hostess with the Mostess decided that her 4,000 square foot triplex wasn’t big enough to accommodate the crowd she’d invited, so she hired someone to erect an additional temporary structure - a huge white tent - on the green belt behind her property, puncturing several of the lawn sprinkler lines in the process.
Then there was the time that two of the residents had to be asked to leave a monthly meeting because fists were about to fly. Someone got so angry with someone else they’d completely lost control and in his fury, said something bad about the other guy’s mother. Really.
The Ex wasn’t exactly thrilled with my involvement and there was only one way I could get him to go to the monthly meetings. I needed him there not only for moral support, but also for physical protection. He’d come, but only if I agreed that he could empty a small bottle of water and fill it with vodka. I had to promise to never say anything if he left when he’d finished it. He would wave the empty as he left and giving me an encouraging wink and a “thumbs up” as he slipped out the door. He was very patient with the whole thing even when the one of the locals came pounding on our door early on a Sunday morning to complain about the high cost of insurance for the complex. Like I could do something about it then and there. Even if I wanted to.
We solved the problem by moving back into a house, on five acres, in the middle of the woods, as far away from neighbors as we could afford. We had no worries about the deer that roamed our place inquiring about rising insurance premiums.
Well, this community here in OC is better in that no one really makes a big fuss about things for the most part. We all live our lives quietly, exchange pleasantries and mind our own business. In fact, I minded my own business so well I completely missed the raid on the house across the way where apparently the tenants were growing marijuana in their small backyard. Needless to say, they no longer live there. Thank goodness they were just tenants and were out almost immediately…after their bail was posted. I just thought they were happy all the time and had great senses of humor since I often heard them laughing.
Which brings me to the whole purpose of this blog and the background information I’ve provided.
The other day Number One Son and his family came to pick me up to take me out for a birthday dinner. I’d been outside, tending to my struggling plants (see the blog called “Gardening? Good Grief!”) and heard people talking more loudly than usual. I didn’t see anyone but everyone’s front deck is rather private so I just assumed it was a couple of neighbors sitting out before dinner. When my “dates” arrived, I jumped in the car and we went down to the cul-de-sac to make a u-turn. That was when I discovered the source of the chatter.
There is a young man who is my newest neighbor at the end of the street, in one of the units that doesn’t have an ocean view. Rumor has it he just graduated from college and the place was purchased by his college professor parents who still live in Maryland and he’s moved in with a couple of roommates. I’m not sure if he’s a grad student, or what. At any rate, he somehow had managed to get a full-sized sofa onto the roof and was up there with four or five friends, having cocktail hour. I guess he’d figured out that this was the best place to enjoy the ocean breezes and get a peek at the Pacific. They were having a grand old time and waved to us as we turned around. I have since dubbed his place “The Frat House.”
That was when I became the Cranky Old Lady Who Lives Down the Street. I was immediately concerned that this type of activity would result in my hearing the Foo Fighters blasting at 3 a.m. on a Friday night. I’m partial to the Beatles and the Beach Boys, although the FF have had a good tune or two.
Then I realized why I’d become the Cranky Old Lady Who Lives Down the Street.
I was annoyed because I hadn’t been the one to think of this, and I was offended that they didn’t invite me to join them. After all, I am the quintessential active senior and I can party like it is still 1999.
So, I’m thinking of telling them they have to help me get a big comfy, over-stuffed chair up on my roof or I turn them in. Because if I can’t lick them, I may as well join them. I might even get one up there for MOTNSO. (“More Often Than Not Significant Other.”) I have a nice view, but it would be absolutely spectacular from just a little higher up!
For a change, it’s nice to be on the other side of the Board’s table.