Monday, June 30, 2008


I never thought I would be in a position to understand, first hand, the plight of Kay Corleone. You remember her from the Godfather, right? Diane Keaton. Outsider. Whose needs and desires are determined by this sinister collection of men. They loom. They whisper. They make plans.

I never suspected that I could identify personally with Kay, but that was before I came in contact with: THE CONDO BOARD.

I don't have a condo. I have a small rent stabilized one-bedroom in Brooklyn. When we asked the super, Carlos, about going on the roof, he shrugged. "Officially, you're not supposed to go up there. I tell people, just don't jump off!" Then he cracked up. This is the kind of management attitude I look for in a building.

My boss has a condo. Nothing can be done to the apartment--we couldn't put in a new bathroom, build a wall, nothing--without the board's approval. And for the last three months the Board has been holding my air conditioning proposal hostage.

"Looks good," the building manager said in March. "We just have to pass it to the architect and then the board will approve it."

That was the last I heard about it.

I call. "Oh hey, Ilana," she says. "No, I haven't heard anything." I picture a fat man with a wet cigar standing behind her, holding his fist and shaking his head. Beads of sweat form on her forehead.

Soon, she starts screening my calls. I have to call from other phones. I email in desperation. I consider CCing my boss. Because the AC is busted in the master bedroom and it's getting hotter and even though he's in LA he could descend at any time and oh! the humiliation! if he came to New York to find his bedroom hotter than Wisconsin in August, what kind of celebrity personal assistant would I be then? And what kind of wrath would I have to endure? No! I won't have it! I will yell! I will carry on! I mean, do you have to be a made guy to get anything done around here?

The building manager finally called me back last week. "Well the board met last night (Where? The Bada Bing? The pork store?) and they decided that your boss's Air Conditioner is not a priority."


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