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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, December 23, 2005

The President's Rough Week

Those of you out there who are living the American dream, with your little picket fences in your immaculate homesteads, will never know the joys of living in a condo.

Condos, especially the snootier ones which Noo Yawkers reading this recognise all too well, are not just parceled slices of heaven, free of roofers and lawn-mowing duties.

No.

They also come with something called a "Condo Board" -- the modern-day equivalent of saying "reform school".

Just saying it gives you an Oliver Twist frisson.

For every Condo Board seems to be headed by an officious, controlling, maniacally-self-important little person, who revels in his unlimited dictatorial powers as president.

(I'm a shoo-in one day)

Ours is a case in point.

He's French.

I don't think I need further comment.

He particularly dislikes my family because he can't lord it over us, being British and/or German.

See, it's the dirtiest little secret in South Florida, but if you're Yourapeein, you've got automatic dibs on social superiority.

You can swank in front of the "native" Americans, making the transplants feel like yokels who wouldn't know an espadrille from a foulard.

And you can totally ignore the Hispanics, with their "loud loudiness", as the condo prez once described the mostly South American porters we have downstairs, with his huge De Gaulle proboscis firmly in the air.

(Bizarrely, they love him. Never underestimate the power of treating people like dirt...alas, I missed that lesson in Euro-Trash School)

So obviously, my family represent a little Maginot Line where he cannot cross, and which has to be constantly defended in case we should invade his uppity turf.

...which is frequently.

Mother and I, especially, take undue pleasure in speaking to him in French in front of the porters -- my mother in rapid-fire Parisian-accented, FU French, which makes his provincial head spin in seething resentment.

(I mean, Grenôble? Please. That's like Surbiton. Or Schenectady. Or Ulan Bator)

Those of you who have stuck it out this far are to be rewarded with a point in this blogpost. Here it comes.

So yesterday, we went downstairs to a gathering of the tribe, in the traditional condo Christmas party in the Reception Hall (as they call the glorified pool table/big ass TV room).

There he was, with his Colombian wife, noses still aloft and attitudes still Zoloft. She had on this Versace wannabe number I wouldn't have used as a do-rag, but I digress.

But I noticed when we three came in to wish all around a very Merry Christmas, he seemed unusually jumpy -- even for him.

When you see a nervous-looking fella, be sure to follow his eyes. It never fails.

So as I greeted my neighbours, I looked at him in the corner of my eye, fussing at the back near some signs.

I almost choked on my canapé.

For along the Reception Hall were these streamers with festive messages on them, you know the kind:

"Merry Christmas!" "Peace To All!" "Goodwill To Man!" "Impeach Bush!"

But this year, he went all out and had them done in several languages.

(Even Chinese -- for they shall inherit the earth)

But knowing him, and I have no proof for my libellous charge obviously but that never stopped E! Television, he decided to scrimp on the printers, pocket the overage, and probably had them run up by some shady Kinko's in Little Haiti.

There it was, bold as brass. A sign in French reading:

"2006 -- Le Paix sur Terre!"

I'll wait for the laughter to die down before continuing.

To the non-Frenchiephones amongst you, a small language lesson, minus mp3 this time.

See, it's like this:

"Paix" means peace, but it's feminine, not masculine. "La Paix".

When it's masculine, it's pronounced exactly like "Le Pet" (luh peh), which means The Fart.

So hanging gayly over our little Yuletide hoedown was a sign wishing all many Farts On Earth in 2006.

Ohhhhh...how I enjoyed myself after that, I CANNOT tell you.

For I knew that Le Snootie had paid for these streamers with our monthly condo fees.

Not only had he egg on his face because his little stunt had been sabotaged by cheap, no doubt illegal printers, but he failed to double-check them before they were put up, and best of all, in his own language too.

Don't you think I would've noticed if someone had strung up a sign in English wishing all Piss on Earth?

You're darn tooten!

And I would've asked for my money back too.

This war of attrition is not over, my friends, not by a Whitewater Monica Lewinksy mile.

Very next condo meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday in January, I'm bringing the matter up, and asking for an Oversight Committee to investigate this incredibly poor lapse of judgement of cautionary spending.

Just you wait. We'll take back the presidency yet.

UPDATE: Oh, a few clarifications. Although I didn't read the post out loud to my mother for her amusement (because it has vulgar adult words I don't want her to hear me writing, like canapé and Versace), my mother wishes me to explain two things, in case they flew over some people's heads -- unlikely, but let's humour her, shall we.

First, the "La", indeed, the "Le" is ungrammatically unneeded. And there is a circumflex thingie missing from "sûr".

And!...though Paix sûr Terre is okay, I GUESS, "Paix sûr La Terre" would be better.

I think there's a Johnny Hallyday song called that, in fact. I have to check my Hola! and get back to you.

13 Comments:

  • It's posts like these [and the land grant one from Papa Spurs] that make me feel like a scullery maid. No. The stable girl. You know...the one who shovels poop all day.

    But, God help me, I'm an Anglophile [thanks, Mom!] and so Sundries continues to be a must read. Even if it winds up making me feel like the dookie I shovel every day.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Fri Dec 23, 11:30:00 am GMT-5  

  • I live in a condo too and am always likely to hum the theme song from Green Acres when I think of it, even though Green Acres was a farm, the two here, do match.
    My condo president, elected each year, is American and proud of it, so you can talk plainly to him, like, if you raise my condo fee by more than ten dollars, I'm gonna break your leg.

    my mother wishes me to explain two things, in case they flew over some people's heads -- unlikely, but let's humour her, shall we.

    Oh please, on the evolutionary scale in Sundries, I'm only thinking of crawling out of the sea. Help Me!
    Of course, I don't want to hold up the class either.

    This post is so funny, give him Hell, Victoria! Sounds like an intriguing melting pot of a Condo in which you reside.
    As far as "the help" liking the snooty, little man, don't be surprised if the news reports that a Major Condo President has come up missing someday.

    By Blogger Paul, at Fri Dec 23, 12:33:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Very funny post Victoria! My favorite comment, followed closely be several other ones, was:

    There he was, with his Colombian wife, noses still aloft and attitudes still Zoloft. She had on this Versace wannabe number I wouldn't have used as a do-rag, but I digress.

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Fri Dec 23, 02:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh, I laughed so hard at this earlier today, and it's still amusing. And you yanked me back in!

    (Btw, Civic Associations can be pretty darn oppressive and its leaders officious, also, which is partly why we live in an old house in an old neighborhood, where everyone's too damn busy trying to keep up with the repairs and earn the money to pay the exorbitant heating bills to worry what everyone else is doing.)

    I'm not the multi-lingual sort that you are. However, I did work for a while at an independent television station right after it became an affiliate of Telemundo, which had the time had just started launching in the U.S. Part of my work was to do marketing research on what the station called the "Hispanic" population and had to write all sorts of written material that ultimately appeared both in English and Spanish (and was sometimes aired in Spanish).

    I was so terrified of doing something like what you're recounting that I literally read just about everything I could find that contained horror tales (this being in late '80s, we didn't have the luxury of Google) and ended up with a pendaflex hanging file or two of them.

    I can't remember all the details, so forgive me if I'm off a bit, but examples included an airline inviting passengers to fly naked, a candy company claiming one of its candy bar contained X number of anuses--and so on and so forth.

    I never did commit anything near as egregious as your snooty guy did; however, there but for the Grace of God might I have gone.

    I'd send you seasonally-appropriate greetings again, but I'm sure I'll be back give your cryptic response the last time I did that!

    ; )

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Fri Dec 23, 09:01:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Even if it winds up making me feel like the dookie I shovel every day.

    Basically, I make you feel like crap. Like the condo prez!

    I'm just a little ray of sunshine, ain't I?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 24, 01:58:00 am GMT-5  

  • I live in a condo too

    Hey, whaddayaknow!

    and am always likely to hum the theme song from Green Acres when I think of it, even though Green Acres was a farm, the two here, do match.

    Actually, my mother has the slightly airy, ditzy-glam demeanour of a Gabor sister.

    Don't say a word about her accent, though, or she'll slap you.

    My condo president, elected each year,

    Ours too, but they can be elected up to 4 times in a row.

    is American and proud of it, so you can talk plainly to him, like, if you raise my condo fee by more than ten dollars, I'm gonna break your leg.

    That's my boy.

    Oh please, on the evolutionary scale in Sundries, I'm only thinking of crawling out of the sea. Help Me!

    Paul, Paul. There's scuba gear given in goodie bags as you enter Sundries.

    Of course, I don't want to hold up the class either.

    Renato really brings down our Bell Curve.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 24, 02:01:00 am GMT-5  

  • Oh, I laughed so hard at this earlier today, and it's still amusing. And you yanked me back in!

    Yanked?! Cajoled is a nicer word for my conjuring trick, Reader_Iam!

    (Btw, Civic Associations can be pretty darn oppressive and its leaders officious, also, which is partly why we live in an old house in an old neighborhood, where everyone's too damn busy trying to keep up with the repairs and earn the money to pay the exorbitant heating bills to worry what everyone else is doing.)

    Houses are just more American, IMO.

    They give the illusion of freedom, but still bound you to a community of (on paper) like-salaried peeps.

    I would do the house "thing", but with the extent of my mother's tschochkes (or "antiques" as she calls them, hah), we'd be cleaning it for years.

    And you know what that means.

    I'm not the multi-lingual sort that you are.

    Well, in fairness, you would be if you were shunted by your itchy-footed parents.

    However, I did work for a while at an independent television station right after it became an affiliate of Telemundo, which had the time had just started launching in the U.S. Part of my work was to do marketing research on what the station called the "Hispanic" population and had to write all sorts of written material that ultimately appeared both in English and Spanish (and was sometimes aired in Spanish).

    Ooh. Dish it! Was Cantor AKA Mr. GOLLLLLLL really a pig?

    I was so terrified of doing something like what you're recounting that I literally read just about everything I could find that contained horror tales (this being in late '80s, we didn't have the luxury of Google) and ended up with a pendaflex hanging file or two of them.

    This reminds me of Rose Kennedy's early pendaflex file record which so fascinated Britain when she took her troop over in the 30's!

    She kept all her kids' medical records in a brown box, so she just had to consult it to see when one needed a booster shot, or when the other was due for an orthodontist appointment -- which is very organised, and "American" in a way hard to explain.

    Your method is JUST like that!

    I can't remember all the details, so forgive me if I'm off a bit, but examples included an airline inviting passengers to fly naked, a candy company claiming one of its candy bar contained X number of anuses--and so on and so forth.

    Excellent!

    A bit like the packaging of certain items, like the Nova car which (though Snopes debunks), was a flop in South America.

    No va -- "doesn't go".

    No one was going to buy a lemon, capiche? ;)

    And I once saw a toilet paper in Sweden called Krapp.

    I never did commit anything near as egregious as your snooty guy did; however, there but for the Grace of God might I have gone.

    YES BUT...you would've been doing it out of pure lovely innocence, not to be a language snob.

    I mean, frikkin SERBIAN, for pete's sakes.

    I'd send you seasonally-appropriate greetings again, but I'm sure I'll be back give your cryptic response the last time I did that! ; )

    All will be revealed in your inbox later today.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 24, 02:13:00 am GMT-5  

  • "I would do the house "thing", but with the extent of my mother's tschochkes (or "antiques" as she calls them, hah), we'd be cleaning it for years.

    And you know what that means."


    More bloggable conversations in Spanish?

    By Blogger JSU, at Sat Dec 24, 06:38:00 am GMT-5  

  • ??

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Sun Dec 25, 10:34:00 pm GMT-5  

  • It s Paix sur la terre, or
    Paix sur terre but not with a ^ accent on sur

    Sûr(e) means sure, certain, reliable, sound, safe

    Sur means on, upon, by, out of, from ...

    The right thing to do now with this condo prez is to impeach him, like it should be done with BUSH for that matter.


    Happy new year!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Dec 30, 04:06:00 pm GMT-5  

  • It s Paix sur la terre, or
    Paix sur terre but not with a ^ accent on sur

    Sûr(e) means sure, certain, reliable, sound, safe

    Sur means on, upon, by, out of, from ...


    Yes! Quite right, then.

    Thanks for that Shussbar. :)

    (You didn't sign in but as Anonymous, but I can tell by your syntax and your topics *g* who you are)

    The right thing to do now with this condo prez is to impeach him, like it should be done with BUSH for that matter.

    Nah.

    The right thing to do, if you don't want the wrong person to be in the Presidency, is to win the Presidency.

    There's a concept.

    Happy new year!

    Bonne Année, mon cher ami, a toi, é a ton fils et femme. :)

    Bises,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 30, 04:55:00 pm GMT-5  

  • >You didn't sign in but as >Anonymous, but I can tell by your >syntax and your topics *g* who >you are)

    It was not my intent to post as anonymous. I forgot to switch to ''Other"

    >The right thing to do, if you >don't want the wrong person to be >in the Presidency, is to win the >Presidency.

    Yes, the people, I said the people did not want him back the first time anyway.

    I really have a hard time to understand your fondness with the guy, his vice, and his corrupted rightwing clique of liers.

    By Anonymous SHUSSBAR, at Mon Jan 02, 02:55:00 pm GMT-5  

  • It was not my intent to post as anonymous. I forgot to switch to ''Other"

    Thanks. I understand.

    I really have a hard time to understand your fondness with the guy, his vice, and his corrupted rightwing clique of liers.

    Besides the implied insult in this sentence, I guess it has to do with our respective world view.

    I'm a traditionalist. You're not.

    End of story.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Jan 02, 05:34:00 pm GMT-5  

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