November 9, 2009
Yesterday was the election for the board of directors at my country club, which is actually more like a swimming club that happens to have a clubhouse. There were five available positions and nine candidates. Some of the candidates running for election have been members of the club longer than I've been alive. I figured my chances were slim to none. The only other time I ran for office was during one of my high school years. I ran for a class officer position and lost. I was humiliated and destroyed from that loss. I was expecting the same feeling at the country club elections.
At the country club, there are two factions if you will. There are the very much older people who go for the inside stuff and there are the families who join for the pool and show up at the clubhouse primarily for wing night and "beef and beer" night. The younger people get upset because although we make up the majority of the club, the minority rule. Although I can't speak about all of them, there are a great many of the older faction that are mean about it too.
The younger people get resentful that although we are the majority, we're ruled by people we deem "out of touch." Yesterday at the meeting, a younger mom suggested that the club sponsor some kid friendly bus trips to local amusement parks, zoos, etc. in addition to the Ladies Auxiliary sponsored bus trips to the casinos at 12 noon on a Tuesday which obviously don't work for younger women and you know, teaching our kids to gamble at young ages probably isn't a good idea. The poor woman's suggestion was met with so much disgust, and then she was told she had to join the Ladies Auxiliary if she wants to make suggestions like that.
The Ladies Auxiliary meets on Friday nights. They have keyboard entertainment, coffee and desserts and then plan bus trips and singles dances that happen at 12 noon on a Sunday. I'm not saying they don't do some good for the club; but it's not exactly an environment friendly to younger women.
Because Mr. BBM and I had a wedding to go to immediately after the meeting (actually during, but we'll ignore that), we were very dressed up. I wore a black dress with a wrap sweater and shiny black heels. I felt extremely over-dressed, but Mr. BBM didn't think so. When I looked around the room at the two factions of people, the older people were dressed up. I'm talking skirts, sweaters and blazers people. Many of the men wore suits.
When the candidates were introduced, I stood up there and looked around. The younger people smiled at me and probably wondered why I had dressed up so much; they probably weren't, but I felt as if the older people were trying to kill me with evil glares.
Then we voted and an older lady walked right by our row of people and didn't give us ballots. Then someone cried foul and said that only 170-some people had signed in but they had to make extra copies of ballots. So, they collected all the ballots, made a new one from scratch, ran fresh copies and we all had to vote again AND hand our ballot directly to the collection people. It was insane. It felt like a crazy episode of "The Office" or something and it took forever.
Other highlights include my friend sitting behind me who declared she was going to take her shirt off because it was seriously about 105 degrees in the place. Also, a young guy wearing a baseball hat stood up and said something and the old people started SCREAMING at him to "have some respect" and "take off your hat." A couple times, friends of mine leaned over to me and asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this. Another friend told me I should run. Yet another person told me not to get my hopes up. Our faction seemed to be outnumbered.
I voted and left before hearing the results. I had already been there two hours and was really late to my wedding and reception. On the way out the door, an older couple was standing there. The woman looked at me and said, "You're what this club needs on the board. Young blood." She grinned ear to ear and told me she hoped I got elected. Her husband gave me some well wishes too. Mr. BBM told me that thanks to dressing up for the wedding, he thought I had a fighting chance. The older people would appreciate the fact that I had worn a dress and nylons.
About 15 minutes in to the drive, my neighbor called my cell phone. I believe her words were "Oh my God! You Won! You Won!" and then the other text messages of congratulations started rolling in as well. So, I'm now a board member and there is a lot of work to be done. First order of business will be getting them to turn the damn heat down to save some money and keep people from taking their shirts off. Second order of business, figuring out a way to get the two very divided factions to peacefully co-exist, while making the inside a more desirable place to frequent for families.
Clearly, I've got my work cut out for me.