Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Better Talk to the Membership Office

It's like a scene from nineties techno-thriller The Net. I'm a fresh-faced Sandra Bullock still warm from Keanu's sweaty-vested embraces. She's the innocent clerk, staring in confusion at her retro computer screen. I've just swiped my ID, but there's a problem. A big one. Hyde Park Co-op are on to me. Looks like the game's up.

"I'm sorry, do you know a Chris Till?"
"Yes, he's my boyfriend." I've signed him in as a guest, in accordance with their Hippie-Draconian system.
"Well, looks like your membership is suspending until he signs up for some shifts."
"But he's not a co-op member..."
"Well, if you live together..."
"Ha! We don't live together!" In my defense, I've been pretty stalwart about sticking to this line with everyone I've met who might have co-op connections.
"Well, there must be some mistake then. Better talk to the membership office."

Upstairs I have to lie again; first to a young black guy, then to a woman in her thirties with dangerously shrewd eyes. Each time the tale gets taller. By now Chris is living in Manhattan. He only comes here to help me carry my groceries. I flirt with claiming a case of carpal tunnel, but am too scared of the terrible cripple-handed karma that might ensue.

Eventually shrewd-eyed woman sighs and puts me back on the system. The alternative is to call me a liar in the middle of the membership office, and even a miscreant like me knows that that's not very co-operative. Doe-eyed Sandra wins again.

The minute I get home, before I've even taken off my coat, I'm tearing into the Co-op's unsulphered apple rings. They taste so fine, and they're so reasonably priced. Nothing and no-one is ever going to come between us, no matter how strong the system or how many times I have to perjure myself in Park Slope.

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