I have the opportunity to attend many condominium association meetings. Each association is required to have at least one members’ meeting each year; i.e., the “annual meeting.” In my town, these annual tongue lashings happen January through April. It is the time of year when the unhappy dissidents come out of their units on their annual pilgrimage to the neighborhood clubhouse so they can complain bitterly to the handful of owners who vounteer their time to serve on the Board of Directors.
Here is a sampling of the people that I will undoubtedly run into again this year (the names have been changed to protect the innocent – meaning me so I do not get sued):
- Mr. Pseudo-Lawyer: This man comes armed with both the relevant statutes and the irrelevant statutes. He has not read them all or at least does not understand them completely. He knows enough to be dangerous. He has watched many lawyer shows on TV and thinks that he can cross examine as well as any seasoned litigator. He usually has a couple of specific issues that he is worked up about and will not let them rest until he has had his Perry Mason moment. Somehow, that moment never comes.
- Vicky Victim: This is usually a widowed woman, but could be a man, who has violated the rules and got caught. It could have been that year or 10 years ago. Regardless of when the offense occurred, she needs to tell her story and try to get the other owners to feel sorry for her so her violation can continue.
- The Giggle Gaggle. This is a group of women that sit together and whisper to each other. They have flashbacks to middle school as they roll their eyes in disapproval at the speaker and giggle at inappropriate times.
- Parliamentarian Paul. He thinks he knows Robert’s Rules of Order and can’t believe that every one else does not. He raises points of order and makes people repeat their motions just for effect. No one knows whether he is correct in his rantings, because few people have actually read Robert’s Rules of Order.
- Mean Michael. This is the guy who goes on and on about all of the terrible or “illegal” things that the Board had done or has not done. In his eyes no one can do things as well as he does or as well as they did things where he comes from. Yet when he is asked to assist or to do it himself, he can not be bothered. His time is too valuable, even though he is retired. He is likely to be booed and jeered by others in the room (think here Giggle Gaggle). This guy does not care when he is booed. It makes his day.
- Big Mouth Bertha: This woman is in her 60′s, but no one has pointed that out to her. She still thinks she is in her 20′s and dresses the part. She wears mini skirts, and I mean very mini skirts. She will have to stand periodically to yank her skirt down as it rides up her rear while she squirms in her chair. She can not keep her mouth shut. She feels the need to audibly react to things that others say during the meeting. She gives long speeches on all agenda items and makes little sense in the course of her discourse. She sits in the front row and the whole time she speaks the folks at the head table pray that she keeps her legs crossed or at least closed. They do not want to know whether or not she is wearing undergarments.
So, if you are a member of a condominium or homeowner association, go to your annual meeting. There are not enough regular people there to be spectators at the condo commando circus.