Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mrs. Vice President

My husband and I were at the hardware store last night, looking at floor tile so we could remodel the bathroom. At one point we asked for help from one of the sales associates, and he asked us about what type of construction our building allows, what the building codes would permit, and so on. I interrupted him.

“My husband,” I said, gesturing to Matthew, “is the Vice President of the housing board in our building. So he knows all about that.”
The sales associate nodded. “So do you know if the board would allow you two to turn off the plumbing in your bathroom?”
“I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem,” I replied, before Matthew could answer. “And if not, well- let’s just say we’re in a position to work around it,” I said, winking conspiratorially. “My husband is VICE PRESIDENT,” I repeated. “We KNOW people.” I winked again.
“Er-“ the sales associate paused. “-you already said that, and- I need to know if you can cut the water-“
“Oh, trust me,” I said, interrupting him. “We can cut any water, in any one of the condos in our building, anytime we want.” I was getting cocky now, and my husband, who’s used to this, stood silently by me in polite restraint.
The sales associate was getting weirded out, I could tell, and started backing away from us. “Okay....well, let me know if you guys need anything else,” he said, and booked it down the aisle.
“You could have handled that a little differently,” Matthew said mildly.
“I guess he’s just uncomfortable being around high-ranking officials,” I mused, shrugging. “Not everybody can handle it like I can,” I continued, brushing a piece of lint off Matthew’s shirt and staring up at him in adoration, the way I imagined Jackie Kennedy probably did to John. “I’ll always stand by your side,” I finished, dramatically.

My husband is VP of our building’s housing board, and this is a detail that gives me more of an ego boost than anything else on earth. I tell everybody, I mean everybody, about this mundane fact. Most people would probably think that being the wife of the Vice President of a housing board in a 31-unit building is insignificant. But those are people that don’t know me, and my ability to take seemingly small things and turn them into power trips.

“You really shouldn’t pack the wash machine so tightly,” I told Carol Peppercorn, the 72-year old woman in unit #201. I was down on the first floor of our building, where the wash machines and dryers were. I was getting a Pepsi out from one of the vending machines (to take back upstairs and spike with rum) and happened to catch Ms. Peppercorn packing in what looked like a thousand bath towels into one of the building’s tiny washers.
Ms. Peppercorn glanced up. “I’m out of quarters,” she complained, and glared at me.
“Well, I don’t see why you need to potentially break down the building’s wash machines just because you ran out of quarters. My husband is Vice President of the board, and he posted a memo in the elevator last week about only filling the washers up to 75% of their holding capacity. Did you not read it?”
“No- I....I didn’t read it.”
I sighed, opened my Pepsi, and took a drink. It did need rum. “I’m going to have to tell Matthew,” I said sadly, but secretly enjoying myself. I lowered my voice to a whisper. “You know how he gets.”
Ms. Peppercorn didn’t actually know how my husband gets, mostly because he’s a really nice guy, but the fear in her eyes showed me that she was worried. “I’ll- I’ll wash the towels next week,” she said, not wanting to get in trouble with the Vice President.
“It’s probably for the best,” I soothed. “I’ll put in a good word for you with him,” I finished, before leaving the room. I really wanted her to know I was on her side.

On Monday, when I got home from work, some jerk parked in my parking space, even though my space is clearly marked with a sign that says 'Reserved For The Wife Of The Vice President of the Condo Housing Board' (I had it specially made). Livid, I found a parking space in the street, stomped upstairs and into our condo, and wrote a nasty letter to put on the driver’s windshield.

Dear Degenerate Fuck,
This is not your parking space. This is MY parking space (can you not read the sign?!), and if I catch you parking here again I’m going to have your car towed (after taking a baseball bat to your headlights).

My husband is VICE PRESIDENT of our condo’s housing board, and just so you know- I’m going to tell him about this, and he is NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY. While I’m sure you probably aren’t used to dealing with someone with that level of power, let me tell you – you do NOT want to mess with a VP. Of anything. So move your car NOW- or there is going to be a Vice President’s foot up your ass.

-The Wife of the Vice President of the Housing Board
(Just in case he wasn’t clear on who I was.)

I ran downstairs, put it on his windshield, and felt a lot better.

“Can you believe that couple in #704?” I asked Lisa, the wife of the treasurer of the housing board. “How many dogs do they have? Like eleven? Those things just bark all day long.” Matt and I were hosting the board meeting the following day, and I was thus trying to entertain like a White House staffer. Everybody on the board and their significant others were there, and being tasked with hosting was taking my ego to new levels of delusion.
“I know,” Lisa said, rolling her eyes. “And that guy in #310? What’s his deal?” She sniffed.
“That’s Mark Cannes,” I said in a low voice, and leaned in closer. I was wearing a little cream-colored jacket with a brooch pinned to it, and from my ears dangled pearls. I could really clean up when I was sober. “He and his girlfriend are always fighting over money. Makes you wonder if he’s going to be able to pay his HOA fees next month,” I gossiped, eyebrows raised. I prided myself on knowing all the tenants of our building. “I would tell your husband to keep an eye out on that one, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh, I will,” Lisa said smugly. She gets off on her husband being the treasurer like I get off on mine being VP. We’re pretty tight, her and I.
“By the way, these mini hot dogs are delicious,” Lisa said, plucking one off a tray that our waiter, Bruce, was holding. Bruce was a homeless guy who lived in our alley- earlier I had given him $20 bucks to shower, put on a velvet smoking jacket, and walk around the board meeting with trays of appetizers. Aside from the fact that he was missing a few teeth, he was honestly doing a great job.
“Thanks,” I said to Lisa, because having to purchase a bunch of frozen finger food from our neighborhood 7-Eleven, and then stabbing toothpicks into 200 mini hot dogs had been incredibly hard on me. I picked up a bowl from the coffee table. “Cheetos?”

“We need to talk,” my husband said the following day.
“Hmm?” I looked up from my needlepoint. I was making Matthew a tiny pillow that said IT’S GOOD TO BE KING.
“Did you photoshop a poster-sized picture of me in an army tank with the words ‘obey’ written below it, and hang it in the mail room?”
I scrunched up my face, like I was confused. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said, innocently.
“Honey,” my husband sat next to me and wrapped his arm around me. “Between this poster incident, that guy’s headlights we had to replace, and the fact that Ms. Peppercorn won’t look me in the eye-“ Matt paused. “I think you’ve taken this Vice
President thing a little too far.”
I sighed. “You're right, honey- you are so wise. I guess that’s why they made you VP.” I set down my needlepoint and sighed. “I’ll chill out, I promise,” I told him.

Guess I’ll have to return my pillbox hat.