Four score and seven wines ago, we brought forth a naive notion to sell our condo by owner, conceived in frugality, and intoxicated by the supposition that all people were created stable.
The plan was simple. We had everything our way… an elegant suburban penthouse located in the middle of a manicured golf course and only a half-hour commute from Chicago's Loop. Floor-to-ceiling windows afforded every room panoramic views of fairways, an island green, blazing sunsets, and a resplendent suburban skyline at night. Perfect!
The ad was in and read delectable. It was late spring, and confident of a quick sale for an early summer move to a little slice of horse-heaven we'd found in the country, we kissed and hugged; the wife planning to field calls and handle showings while I was at work. A slam dunk, we thought.
Thence they came— single or married, young or old, blue-collar or professional, it didn’t matter. One after another, a parade of ninnyhammers invaded!
A middle-aged man was her first appointment. Our foyer opened directly into a spacious living room walled with glass, each twelve-foot segment framed by custom tapestry drapes. Without hesitation, he abruptly pushed past the wife and stopped, hands on hips, glaring at the vista. “Oh, m’god. This ain’t good.”
“What’s wrong?” The wife said. Panicky, she eyed the window for damage. "Oh... this is a sliding panel to the balcony, see.”
“Maybe so, but I can’t mow all that,” he said, pointing to the golf course.
She giggled, thinking he was being clever as a prelude to bargaining.
“Not funny, lady; I’m serious. I work six days a week; there’s no way I can mow all that!”
“Ah, maybe you’re right. This is not for you. Why, I get plumb tuckered out, too,” she said, and firmly guided his elbow toward the door. I need a drink. While popping the cork, a second caller rang.
“Hi. Says here your condo comes with two underground parking spaces?”
“That’s right, and there’s even room for inside guest parking.”
“Hmm, that’s strange. I’ve driven by that building for years, and I ain’t never seen ‘em.”
Click. An hour later, number three.
“Your ad says top floor, but I heard that building is sinking. Is that right, lady?”
“Um, yup; you got me there. Years ago, we were on the 22nd floor; now we’re on the 14th. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of time before it disappears.” Click. I need a bigger glass.
A CPA was next who demanded original construction plans. Of a hundred-unit tower built twenty years ago? “That's right. How do I know this wall isn’t a quarter inch off, lady?”
Or the well-dressed couple, that when distracted discussing tax and assessment normalcy’s, his Neanderthal wife decided to braid the delicate beaded fringe of our antique Tiffany into a gazillion knots.
Or the couple who asked: “can we stay overnight, a trial run to see if we like it?”
On and on they came; the floozy who flattened herself against the wall, writhing with orgasmic moans only to snap to and abruptly leave because she couldn't live anywhere but for a certain brand of paint; the wacky couple who came only to use the wife as a sounding board, an impartial stranger to adjudge their marital grievances; the feeble old lady who feared elevators and demanded the wife meet her in the lobby and then physically carry her up fourteen flights— eighty-eight walking-talking nimrods within thirty days.
What we saved on realtor fees, the frazzled wife spent on booze. One day, upbeat and home early from a good day at the Board of Trade, I asked how her day went. Wild-eyed and without warning, she threw a pan of peeled potatoes at me. “I quit! I quit, I tell ya! The bloody twits; you try dealing with 'em… thems that walk among us!”
While picking up taters, I couldn't help but think...my God, they breed and vote, too? “Uh, any wine left, hon?”