Monday, June 7, 2010

Chairman of the Board

I wake up at 8am sharp every day. My shower takes exactly 14 minutes. After I shave, I put on my bespoke suit and go downstairs where my company car is waiting. Nine hours later I return. I tip my driver and make way up to my apartment. On my table is a stack of folders. Attached to each folder is a small headshot – a necessary part of the application.

Some of you have seen me in person. You were trembling; I could see the fear in your eyes. You tried to appear nonchalant but I knew you were terrified. I am the dreaded president of the co-op board.

I have seen young people and old people. I have seen financially stable people, and I have seen people who know they cannot afford the co-op. I have pried into their private lives and know more about them than their mothers do. They come to me, with their deepest secrets hidden in the folder lying before me. They invariably look at me, size me up. Most of the time, I am older than they are – my hair already lined with silver. Without exception they try to connect with me, but they always fail.

The fact is that I am the chairman of the co-op board of a very prestigious Upper East Side building. Yes, that one. It is a 24-hour full service doorman building. The average price of an apartment is 2.5 million dollars. Most of the inhabitants work in finance. A few were born into money, but most of them made their fortunes through hard work. That means they are, for the most part, conservative upper-class citizens. Needless to say, that is the demographic they want to remain in their building. As the chairman, it is my job to make sure their wishes come true.

So when I look at you, sitting on the couch across from me and my colleagues, I almost always know if you will fit. We ask you about your pets, about your music habits, but those are filler questions. If you are at the interview, you have most likely passed the initial stages. At the interview, however, we learn about the real you.

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