WESTLAND, Mass. Bob and Cyndi Evershap are long-time “snow-birds” who flee the cold of New England for Florida every year, a practice that they say keeps them in good mental health. “I get so sick of snow,” says Cyndi, a pert 72-year-old with soft silver hair. “It’s only pretty for about the first two days, then it’s like God defrosted his freezer and dumped it on our driveway.”
The lucky ones.
Usually, the Evershaps return home to friendly greetings and cries of “Welcome back!” from their fellow condo owners in their over-55 years old development, where those stuck behind here get over their envy once their old friends return. But not this year.
“I thought this kind of thing only happened in banana republics,” Bob says, shaking his head.
“I like that store,” Cyndi says, before Bob corrects her.
“No, I mean like in South America, where they change leaders the way we change Daylight Savings Time.”
While the Evershaps were away, Bob was deposed as Chairman of the Board of the Unit Owners Association at Shady Lane Farm Village Phase II in a bloodless coup led by Ned and Susan Vlasick, owners of Unit 2A two driveways down from them. “Bob was a do-nothing, absentee ruler, like some president-for-life of a sub-Sahara country in Africa,” says Ned, a retired accountant who has been itching to get a better look at the development’s finances for years but could never muster the votes needed to join the Board. “There was always plenty of Triscuit crackers and soft drinks at those board meetings, and somebody got to take the leftovers home at the end of the night,” he grouses as his wife pats his arm and hands him a blood pressure pill. “I’d like to know how much we’ve wasted on the luxe tastes of those two over the years.”
“No more ice dams! No more ice dams!”
Discontent among senior condo owners can spike when the masses perceive a large gap in wealth among condo leaders and commoners, sometimes referred to as “income equality.” “It’s more a function of envy than subsistence economics,” says Martin Miyazaki, an economist at the University of Massachusetts-Seekonk. “When indigenous uprisings occur, there’s usually a triggering event, such as the purchase of a late model American luxury car with individual power seat adjustment memory,” Miyazaki notes. “When natives sense a gap between the wealth of rulers and their subjects, it takes only a tiny spark to set off a special meeting at the unit of a dissident owner who doesn’t have a speaker phone to permit remote participation.”
For the time being Bob is licking his wounds in the Evershaps’ unit, which includes a finished basement “man cave” he has turned into his headquarters-in-exile. “I’ll bide my time down here,” he says as he watches a boxed set of out-takes from seventies comedy shows on his wide-screen TV while he waits for international observers from the United Nations to arrive and overturn what he thinks was an election tainted by fraud. “I’ve got enough honey-roasted peanuts stockpiled to outlast those radicals.”