November 05 2010
I’m back! Probably some of you thought I had disappeared or been rubbed out by one of my nemeses – or just had enough. A concerned reader sent me an email asking if I was the victim of a fatwa in my building. No, I told him, violence isn’t usually the way to settle scores in these parts. There are more effective less bloody tools – disinformation campaigns, public humiliation, email combat, to name just a few.
I’m pleased to report that I’m alive and well – as well as one can be who’s not only serving on her building’s board, but also fielding complaints from residents in other buildings about their boards. Apart from dealing with real life, I just needed a few mental health days, maybe weeks, OK, months. So I checked out and checked into rehab, metaphorically speaking. I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs, not even weed, a form of abstinence that puts me in the distinct minority in my building. And if that telltale scent wafting through the hallways at certain hours is any indication, I suspect it’s a minority more infinitesimal than those who don’t have dogs.
Other than chocolate, my only addiction, maybe more accurately obsession, is restoring the politics of reason on the home front. As anyone who’s ever lived in High Rise Society knows, this mission is an ongoing struggle, less certain of ultimate success than routing the Taliban from Afghanistan. That’s because the participants in these body politics, whether members of the board or just rank and file residents, often make those Tea Partiers look positively rational in comparison.
But my self-imposed exile gave me the opportunity to contemplate my next move. I thought of revenge, but with the help of counseling and friends managed to purge my heart from darkness. I tried extending an olive branch to those with whom I have perpetual disagreements, but that was about as effective as peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
I knew I had hit rock bottom when I considered selling my apartment and moving to a one-family house in the suburbs, where I didn’t have to answer to anyone and could live by my own rules. But, as I don’t have to tell you, this isn’t the greatest time to sell, although for some not entirely explicable reason, which I think has something to do with the laws of supply and demand – there being lots of demand but little inventory in my Downtown neck of the woods — prices are actually above what they were at market peak. (Thank you God for making up in the value of my apartment what you and the financial crisis took away from everything else.)
And even if I sold I couldn’t live in one of those bucolic Westchester hamlets with the Indian names any more than could my mother – who used to call me after only a day into her weekend visit to my sister’s Chappaqua home: “Get me out of here. It’s too quiet. If I hear another bird chirping I’ll go nuts.”
I’m the same way. I need action. So I’m back to do battle on the home front – to help solve your problems and tell you about mine. Hope you’ll join the cause.