You live happily in your big old flat block in the middle of Madrid for 5 years without so much as a hiccup, then all of a sudden, one day your sister-in-law overhears a bit of gossip in the building lobby that changes your life forever… something so serious that you have to pretty much immediately start looking for a new place to live… an utterly compelling reason to leave your dear, sweet home forever… without so much as a backward glance…
Not cockroaches in the bathroom, noisy neighbours, burst water pipes, or a dial-up internet connection (none of which we suffer, thank god) could be worse than this…
The catastrophic conversation overheard by my sister-in-law on the way up to our flat just minutes ago, between our porter and an elderly resident, went like this:
Old guy: “So, the new Presidenta is Marina Diez?”
Porter:”Yes, it’s just been decided in the residents meeting…” [that we avoid like the plague]
Old guy: “The girl with the baby…”
Porter: “Yes, that’s the one.”
Yes, my wife Marina has apparently been made Presidenta de la Comunidad… Marina, ‘the girl with the baby’… and the business to run… and no time to so much as stop once a day for a glass of gazpacho… handed the worst thing that can happen to you in Spain…
… the sooner we get out of here the better… our very sanity, and with it our health, is at stake. Marina has been landed with the one job no-one here in planet-Spain would beg for in a million years.
Let me explain:
The ‘comunidad‘ is the collection of people that live in this building. In our case, Marina has been nominated boss of said ‘community’ for a year and will be required to take on associated administative responsibilities.
Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? And after all, the post is changed once a year by a fair system of rotation (apparently) – everyone gets a go.
But let’s look at the facts. There are ONE HUNDRED flats in our building. The above-mentioned “collection of ordinary people” that live in them is HUGE, mostly elderly and bored, and often somewhat mad.
And when they find out who has been nominated, albeit by this fair rotational system, to be in charge of them for the coming year, they will become psychotic, oppressed, moaning whingers, who’ll be beating down our door on a daily, no, an Hourly basis with the most inane building, neighbour, lost cat, cracked basin, just-a-bit-lonely/bored and god-knows-what-else related complaints they can possibly come up with, whenever they can possibly think of an excuse to come up with them!
That’s not even considering all the trips to the bank, document signings etc Marina will have to take on and, worst of all, worse than having all these people coming to our door for a year… Marina will have to chair the dreaded “residents’ meetings”… where the great unheard flat-owning masses of our dear community are all put in one room to rant, rage and olympicly moan at the same time!
We await official confirmation… with a gathering sense of dread. If it’s true, which seems 99.99% certain, then there is only one allowable way out. To leave the building, better still, to leave town. We’ll be heading for the hills. Flat (maybe) for rent. Watch … this … space…