Marolt: My annotated history as HOA president
Two neighbors in one week brought it up. That’s a sign that it is something that needs to be talked about. To show how strongly I believe this, I am going to talk about what they talked about even though the subject is me.
Once, I was the president of the homeowners’ association (it should be “HA!”, but is “HOA” for reasons unknown.), ruling over the neighborhood I live in. It’s a peaceful place where neighbors have dinner together and property lines are so blurry and fenceless that kids play wherever their games take them and adults don’t worry about taking shortcuts across lawns when dropping in on one another. It is the kind of neighborhood a mellow guy like me can govern precisely because it is a place that governs itself. The biggest problems revolve around unclaimed, recycled piles of Alpo and, if that’s the thing that ties your stomach in knots late at night, go ahead and close your eyes because, rest assured, you have a good life.
The thing people remember about my presidency, if they remember it at all, is that it was short. The current HOA president has been at the helm almost as long as anyone can remember and nobody can think of a single thing that’s happened in the neighborhood during the past 15 years, yet my two weeks as the leader two decades ago, to those who know about it, is perpetually memorable.
It all fell apart toward the end, as it always does in politics and love. I’d just finished dinner and the wine was still in the process of making me feel French, when the phone rang. It was a neighbor asking what his government could do for him.
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“Have you seen the mess in SueAnn Sew’s driveway?” my constituent barked.
“No,” I replied. “Does it have anything to do with poo?”
“No,” he hollered into the horn. “It’s got to do with construction equipment illegally parked there.”
“Hmm,” I replied and let an awkward silence settle, because I have a gift to be comfortable with that.
“Well,” he eventually stuttered, because he was not the kind who tolerates silence. “That’s against the covenants!”
I prolonged the quiet, knowing it was driving him madder. “Have you talked to her?” I finally asked.
“NO, I haven’t!” He screamed.
I remained mute twice as long as before. I could practically hear the veins in his forehead swelling.
“Why not?” I asked at last.
I don’t mean to marginalize the historic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, but the sheer volume of his response likely stirred the rock-hard bodies of the citizens of Pompeii unwittingly caught in the now thousands-of-years-old petrified lava flows that memorialize their ghostly forms.
“BECAUSE THAT’S YOUR JOB!!!” he boomed.
“No, it’s not,” I said.
“YES IT IS!” he insisted.
“No, it’s not,” I repeated.
“Well, what do you think your job as president is, then?!”
“I was a one-issue candidate,” I reminded him. “I try to make sure everyone cleans up after their own dog. Letting your dog crap in your neighbors’ yards is disgusting, disrespectful and the height of laziness.”
“Well, if you aren’t going to enforce the parking regulations …”
“I’m not,” I interrupted.
“… If you aren’t going to enforce the parking regulations, we need to find a president who will!”
“Would you actually go around wasting everyone’s time handing out meaningless neighborhood parking citations if you were in my position?” I asked, rhetorically.
“Yes I would!” he said hastily before realizing I’d slipped a super-ball into his hand that he’d just tossed back to me, coiled and holding a big bat in both of mine now.
“OK,” I said. “By the power vested in me by you and our neighbors, I appoint you as the new HOA president.”
“But, but, but … You can’t do that!”
“I quit, you’re it,” I said. “Say what you will, but never that I didn’t take my constituents’ concerns seriously. Oh, and speaking of that, I think your first order of business ought to be writing SueAnn Sew a parking ticket. You’ll have to get some printed up. Good night.”
He ended up not taking my suggestion about the parking ticket, but he did take my lead — within a week he saddled his own wife with the HOA presidency. She did a good job until they moved out shortly after. Then we ended up with Bill, who has been president ever since. He’s done a great job, in my opinion. The only pressing issue since those tumultuous times remains dog poop.
Roger Marolt wonders if there is any other place on the planet besides Snowmass Village where almost all its citizens are ruled over by two HOAs. firstname.lastname@example.org
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