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Back In The Saddle

I need to have my head examined.  Seriously.  I was off my building’s board, and just got back on.  My friends all tell me I’m out of my mind.  They’re right. I need to go to a shrink  to kick the addiction – not something I’ve ever done even though I’ve lived most of my life in Manhattan.  Some people are prone to alcohol or drugs, with me it’s righting perceived wrongs.

This time I came prepared with a stack of proxies taller than a portion of IHOP pancakes, not something I’d ever done in the B.C. – Before Contentious – era of my building.  But for the past few years there’s been a running feud sort of like the Montagues and the Capulets.  Maybe it’s no different from what goes on in lots of other buildings, only everything seems magnified when it’s up close and personal.

Actually our annual meeting, held last week, turned out to be relatively sedate – that is by our building’s standard, where the gathering of the clan tends to be more a primal scream group therapy session than a strictly business affair.  The new manager, a professional looking woman in a gray suit, wore a calm demeanor, but I’m sure she was wondering what she was gettng into – or had been gotten into.

I’ll skip through the boring parts.  The incumbents recited their accomplishments as if they were on the campaign trail which, of course, they were.  But it couldn’t escape anyone’s notice that the cash reserve fund had slipped well below historical levels, which gave rise to a heated debate over what to do about it, not that anything was decided — nothing is ever decided at these venting sessions  except the election of directors, which is the main event.

 You can’t tell till then who’s friend and who’s enemy.  Mr. X got up and gave a five-page speech explaining why he’d decided not to run again, though you had to be a Kremlinologist to read between the lines and understand what was really going on.  Then Ms. Y, who in years past had been on the other side of the divide, got up and nominated Mr. X to run even though Mr. X had just spent twenty minutes telling us why he wasn’t running.  And with that incentive, Mr. X said he’d reconsider and run.

Only by then other shareholders, including myself, had tossed their hats into the ring, so that there were more hats than seats.  And I don’t think anyone had the stomach for the contest of wills that was sure to follow, complete with piles of proxies that would take hours to count.

The only question was who would blink first. It turned out to be Mr. X, I think by accident from a speck of dust that at that moment flew into his eye.  In a show of magnanimity he withdrew his name. Others followed suit, till only six candidates, including myself, were left standing for six seats, allowing the new board to be voted in peacefully by acclamation.  This turned out to be a good – and necessary thing because the meeting place had only been rented for two hours, and we only had two minutes left, so if the election had been contested, it would have had to have been carried out in the street..

Everyone made a mad dash for the exit as the doors were locked behind us, and once outside I had an attack of sanity, making me question  what I had just done. All I can say it’s a week later – only 358 more days to go.

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