In my world this is earthshaking news. It’s hard to describe in mere words just how shocking this is (which is why I also have pictures), but I’ll try because I’m a writer, dammit!!! This is the equivalent of discovering, late in life, that not only were you adopted, but so were both of your parents, and your parents’ parents. Nothing you ever believed makes any sense any more. It’s that shocking. Really. Trust me.
My parents’ condo complex was built 35-40 years ago; some 240 buildings of 30 units each, with almost no variation from building to building. Del Boca Vista, the Florida condo complex where Jerry Seinfeld’s tee vee parents retired, had to have been based on this community. However, the writers toned down the craziness because they knew how unbelievable it would be, even in a show about nothing. I moved in here after my Mom died to take care of Pops. Within weeks I had run afoul of the Condo Board President. At the next board meeting the bitch moved a motion to have me ejected from the complex. It was seconded and passed with nary a discussion, in contravention of condo by-laws, and I was ordered to leave within 10 days. That was 7 years ago and is a long, involved, Kafkaesque story I don’t care to get into here. However, it is indicative of how conformity is a way of life in this condo complex.
And, that includes the colours. Especially the colours. Oh, those colours!!!
|Panorama showing 4 buildings in my complex. There are 236 other buildings just like them. Click to enlarge.|
The pink wasn’t quite flamingo pink, nor was it Milk of Magnesia pink. It was a tedious and uninteresting pink. The brown accent was also dull and joyless, not quite chocolate or tan, but somewhere uncomfortably in the middle without having to make a declaration. And this is how it’s been for the past 4 decades. The incorporating documents of the complex stipulate that all the buildings will be the exact same colour. Every so many years the complex gets painted top to bottom, one end to the other. Whenever they’ve painted they have tried to match the colours as close as possible. However, there have always been slight variations from one painting to the next, or from one end of the complex to the other. It must be hard matching that much paint. It still amuses me to hear people complain about a paint job a few occasions back that came out far too pink and not quite brown enough. People were forced to live with it until the next painting. Let’s face it: The people here don’t like change, unless it’s to make a new condo by-law.
And then…suddenly…without warning…without any changes to the condo by-laws…without seemingly a whole lot of discussion…without our previous knowledge…a number of new colours have appeared on my building, and my building alone. And, just on my floor. And, just on my wing. Get a load of this:
|No longer in the pink. My front door showing the bilious almost-yellow wall and not-quite-tan door.|
|My almost-yellow wall against my neighbour’s somewhat greenish-blueish wall.|
|Where my condo touches my neighbour’s condo. Note the old, not-really-pink in the foreground..|
|Close up detail of above. Four colours touch.|
|An intersection where the old colours (left) coexist with the new.|
|Several condo colour scemes: a slightly different almost-yellow and a slightly different greenish-blueish.|
|Several condo colour scemes.|
Here’s what I have managed to cobble together: A new committee (comprised of whom I do not know) is going to select a new colour scheme for the entire complex. A decision was made (by whom I do not know) to paint a few sample colour schemes (chosen by whom I do not know) and have people live with them a while before deciding (with what input from the owners I cannot determine) what colour to paint the complex in the fall.
I LOVE IT!!! Aside from the sheer anarchy of the whole enterprise, suddenly we look like a happy and colourful community, instead of one with a foot already in the grave. My first suggestion was to make all the buildings multi-coloured, just like my floor is now. It creates a really vibrant look to the building, although I would have stuck more to a pastel/ice-cream pallet, which looks good in the Florida sunshine. However, I was told that that would be impossible because of the incorporating documents. My next suggestion was to choose several colour schemes and dot them around the complex, so that no two buildings next to each other were the same colour. Again, the incorporating documents make that impossible and the cost to change the incorporating documents, ie: the condo by-laws, is prohibitively expensive, according to someone in the know.
And therein lies the big Catch 22: These sample colour schemes themselves seem to contravene the condo by-laws. I have yet to hear if there was a vote by the Board of Directors, but the condo board cannot overrule the incorporating documents.
Short HOA rant: ‘Merkins willingly sign documents which give them almost no rights whatsoever. They allowed themselves to be ruled by capricious, mendacious, and sometimes criminal Boards of Directors. Here in “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” ‘Merkins are legally prevented, and afraid, to paint their front door any colour they want, let alone add any other non-conforming element to the house or condo they think they own. Fun HOA trivia: HOAs were specifically invented to keep out Blacks and Jews. Eventually they lost that power (although it is still applied covertly by some condo boards; a charge that’s hard to prove), but that’s one of the few powers HOAs have lost over the years. Today condo boards are very powerful entities and can crush any dissent. Don’t believe me? My treatment when I moved in is Exhibit A. I publicly called the Board President a bully and, ironically, she set out to prove how right I was.
Meanwhile, until further notice, here’s my very colourful building in a very large panorama:
|Colour my world. The 3 almost-yellows are not the same, nor are the two greenish-blueish.|