taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Monday, February 10, 2003

Every year we go to the beach in Rehoboth and every year, we rent a house from the very gay, very excellent Harold. During the off-season, we get updates on Harold's whereabouts through friendly postcards, all of which have a picture of Harold on the front, generally standing on a windswept dune--but Harold is about the least beachlike creature you can imagine. Though I've never met him in person (our transactions are entirely phone- and web-based), he appears to stand about 5'4", with glasses and a mustache and squint, and pale skin. Whereas many of Rehoboth's gay men are tanned, built, and smug, Harold is the kind of everyman that any guy would be proud to take home to Mom.

I have to say I would never give my beach real-estate business to any other agent. Harold has taste. He'll say, "Oh, I know you said $1200, but really, isn't your beach experience worth $1500 if it means you'll be comfortable and happy?" I know he's upselling, but it's irresistible--I couldn't disappoint Harold by staying in a place that he deemed unfit for human habitation (i.e., "that place is just not cute, but if that's what you want.....") or simply in a wrong, scary neighborhood ("Listen, you're not going to feel good on that street. It's very busy. Think about your kid.")

And Harold also is available through email, cell phone, and direct-dial, even when he's not in the office. What could be better? And I could never betray him by going to one of those bitchy women that staff the Jack Lingo's real estate place. Instead of making me feel like I'm a woman of taste and means, as Harold does, they make me feel kind of low-rent. Not so Harold. He helps me understand that my beach experience is beyond price. And after dropping $1500, that's all I ask for.

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