Saturday, May 28, 2011

Facebook: You Can Run, But You Can't Hide - 5/28/2011

Last week, through the miracle of Facebook, I was contacted by a woman that I once dated, but hadn’t spoken to in 17 years. I know what you are thinking: one of my sperm had matured and now needed a kidney and/or a college education. No, she contacted me because I had been on her mind for nearly two decades. Well, she hadn’t pined away too much; as she has been married for the last 10 years to the same guy she was dating when I met her. He must be a real catch if someone like me can hold her interest. I am not the kind of man who holds a woman’s attention through the checkout line at Costco.

When I was assured that she was not tracking me down to kill me, I relaxed and enjoyed the contact. It was not nearly as awkward as one would expect.

Lucky for her that there are only three people named Rick Wainright on Facebook, and one of them is my son. I did not have the same good fortune while searching for my old Air Force friend, John Smith. There are nearly 80,000 of them, but I remain optimistic.

I remembered this woman fondly, but she has detailed memories of our short time together that I had long forgotten. And it seems that she was somewhat distraught when I packed up and moved without telling her or even saying goodbye. I honestly had no idea that I meant more to her than a port in the storm. Though it gives me a warm feeling to have someone nearly 2,000 miles and a lifetime away remembering me, I am also very sorry that I ended up hurting her by my absence and thoughtlessness. I have chosen to live a solitary life, but occasionally take comfort in the company of others. I guess I never considered the possibility that others have also taken solace in my companionship.

I want to take this time to somewhat publicly apologize to any woman who found herself in the path of my willy-nilly journey to the abyss. And a word of advice to women: if you like a guy, you might mention it to him before he moves on to the next thing. We don’t tend to be too perceptive and our attention span is very short.

But I take a little satisfaction in thinking of her thinking of me as her husband is trying to give her a good rogering. I never liked the little shit anyway.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Moaners Association - 5/16/2011

I lived the first fifty years of my life without hearing the words Homeowner’s Association (HOA). I had never owned a home. I have been a transient for my entire adult life. I followed twenty years in the air force with ten years of wandering aimlessly. My mind still wanders aimlessly, but I now do it from the privacy of my own home. When I decided that Myrtle Beach was the place I wanted to die, I bought a domicile. In 2003, when I purchased my condo, it was significantly cheaper to buy than to rent. I love where I live, right on the waterway, not far from the maddening crowds of tourists at the beach, but far enough.

The only aspect of condo life that I hate is the HOA. Those not familiar with this organization are very fortunate. The owners of our development, called Captain’s Harbour (we have no captains and no harbour), have formed a corporation. The stated purpose of this organization is to administer the operation and management of our condo. Ownership of my unit automatically makes me a member of the HOA, with all rights and “privileges.” We elect a board from within our ownership to provide this administration. Their conduct is governed by the Master Deed, which is a bit like the Bible, in that everyone interprets it to support their own agenda. The Master Deed consists of 25 legal sized pages of lawyer speak with at least that many pages of exhibits and attachments. I have a copy somewhere, but have never read it, nor will I ever.

In the eight years of my residence, we have survived several such boards, as each member serves a two year term. The board is very much like the legislative and executive branches of any government, in that they blame the previous board for everything that has gone wrong. It also resembles Congress in that it is primarily made up of old, angry, self-absorbed, retired, white men, who have nothing better to do. I have a theory about people that want to be on an HOA board. I think they are individuals that have never had a position of authority or responsibility in life and being on the board gives them a modicum of power. I have had enough responsibility in my life. I don’t seek any more, ever.

There are two separate factions within our fifty homeowners (imagine that). They have squabbled, libeled, slandered, vandalized, and sued each other for the entire eight years of my residency. There is also quite a bit of money involved, as our dues/assessments total nearly $15,000 per month. We have had corruption, payola, and just plain stupidity in the management of those funds. Again, like Congress. One board paid a contractor $65,000 IN ADVANCE to do a job. As you can imagine, that job was never done, nor did we recoup our funds.

I tried to run for the board once, on the Voice of Reason ticket, but immediately withdrew my name after witnessing a few minutes of the annual meeting. Meetings are conducted with the same respect, decorum, and order as British Parliament or the monkey house at the zoo. Both warring factions have tried unsuccessfully to recruit me into their ranks. As a result, I am hated by both sides. I am comfortable with that. As you can imagine, it is not a particularly friendly place to live. I am OK with that too. I have Skooter as my friend. What more could I need?

The next elections are scheduled at the annual brouhaha next month. I am sending in an absentee ballot. Though I wouldn’t mind watching the pandemonium, I don’t want to get hit by any divergent small arms fire or stray f-bombs.