apartment living has its perks

Went down to the parking garage with two black, plastic bags of garbage. On the 3rd level the woman, from a far off country, entered the elevator with her walker. She asked what I had in the bags. I told her it was garbage, but I was tempted to say ‘body parts’.

There are either 160 or 130 units in this building, I’ve been told two different numbers. Various sizes, from three-bedroom apartments to bachelor. Either way, that makes for quite a bunch of people. I’d say the majority are senior citizens and the other part would be made up of really young people from Asia. There are people here who have lived in the building since it was new, and I think that was 1967.

There are two elevators, one big laundry room and also a room where you can gather people and socialise … there used to be a piano there – now it’s an electric organ, a fully equipped kitchen and so on. A group of little, old ladies gather there every Tuesday morning.

Throughout the years, I’ve lived in many apartment buildings like this, but I’d say I ‘know’ [and the word ‘know’ in its loosest meaning] many more people here than I ever did before. The biggest difference is of course that here, people are chatty! I’m normally not, but it’s so nice, so I become chatty too! There’s not one elevator ride without saying at least a few words about the weather.

People also tend to linger in the lobby where the mail room also is. As many of them have lived here for that long, they know one another for real, and sit and chat there. It’s all very nice! Especially to me, who come from a place where you just don’t make eye contact with strangers.

One old chap, I’ve figure out, must suffer from some kind of germs phobia! Before I realised that, I just thought he acted a little odd, because in the elevator he always stood turned away from everybody, with his nose up against the corner. Like a kid in school with a dunce cap. But I’ve noticed now, he always wear latex gloves when he brings his garbage to the chute, and all the pieces fell into place; in the beginning, we offered him a ride from the grocery store several times, but he always, politely declined. Saying something to the extent of ‘that he needed the exercise’ even thigh he was carrying awfully heavy-looking grocery bags, and he’s definitely in his 70s.

titleThe little woman I started out telling you about, sure had her hang-ups too! There are eight washers in the laundry room. One, new at the time, neighbour was very upset one day and asked me what was the matter with her – she’d been so mad at him and really told him off, because he’d taken «her» washing machine. Nowadays I never see her there any more … either because «her» washer has been replaced, or she’s just too old and decrepit to take care of the laundry any more.

15 Replies to “apartment living has its perks”

  1. A kid with a dunce cap – good one! I am surprised to read that people in your native land don’t make eye contact? This is the deal in California where my wife is from. When there, I have a tough time getting people to look at me when saying Hi! My wife noted that here in Michigan, strangers strike up conversations, myself included. Almost unheard of for her. It’s a darn good thing you didn’t say Body Parts! That would have traveled through the building like wildfire and you’d be labeled as a mad woman. 🙂

  2. Your building reminds me of one I lived in but it had a pool and I felt like I was in a hotel and on vacation everyday. I loved that.

    1. A pool here would have been so awesome! There is a big building like this, with indoor pool here, but that’s condos … this is rental.

  3. It can be as interactive or not as one likes. When not in the mood to chat, I just whip out the phone and others will then simply wave, smile or nod and if you have a dog there’s a lot more opportunity for conversations with others.

    Nice laundry room, btw. Mine is 1/4 that size and looks derelict, on a good day.

  4. I love your description of your building. It is its own community. Our building has 56 units. Except for one 2 bedroom all are 1 bedroom apatments. We have a handful of couples. The rest of us are singles; either divorced or widowed. All our 90+ yr olds have passed on & many of our 80 yr olds have gone to Nursing homes….There are 2 left. There are a handful of 70+ yr olds & mid 60’s. The rest of us are in our 50’s with a few younger ones. There are a few cliques here which I avoid like the plague!! I have 4 people I count as friends here. I say Hello to most others except for the 2 who do drugs (UGH)! They really lower the tone of the building I can tell you. We have a Common room also & a laundry room…I rarely go to events because of the cliques & I take my laundry to the Laundromat across the road because our machines aren’t as clean as they could be & I fear bedbugs!!! (Laundromat has a special solution to wipe out machines that kills anything that moves!)
    Do I like living here? Some days yes; some days not so much…..hoewver it is better than some of the buildings around town….

  5. I lived in apartments for most of my life (until I bit the bullet and bought a house) and I do miss some things about communal living. I loved having a pool I didn’t have to take care of and gym that was free. 🙂

  6. It sounds and looks like a nice place. It is many years ago I lived in a flat, I am absolutely for country-side living.
    I will watch carefully next time I visit my neighbours at the other side of Øresund, as I remember they are very much like us here, you have eye contact with some, and not with others.
    BTW:have you heard about – or seen the Danish-Swedish coproduction :Broen/Bron?
    Its a crime series (in Danish and Swedish TV) where a body is found at the border on the Øresundsbron-and Danish and Swedish police work together about the crime. It is very Scandinavian and a little film noir.
    I dont know why I thougth about that? Its highly recommended.

    1. Hej Annette! 🙂
      That movie sounds really interesting on many levels! There’s a movie, on exactly the same theme, called «Good Cop, Bad Cop». There, a dead body is found on the border between Quebec and Ontario and basically it’s about the two police forces working together … it’s both hilarious and noir too! So, I’m going to make a point of watching The Bridge … teehee..

      1. I can tell you that the female cop is Swedish – Sofia Helin – and she is great, as I understand she has Aspergers ( the role she plays) and is to say it mildly special, the male cop is Danish – nice guy smiling and laughing but really tough when necessary. The scenes shift from Malmö to Copenhagen and back, really good.

  7. What a strange neighbourhood .. I think I would rather have old folks around than primitive younger folks with children bouncing off walls and floor (my ceiling) till late hours.. appartment living has been my destiny for most of my life.. It must feel very odd to experience this sense of village community in one … I don’t have this type of problem here .. I say hello to everybody but chat only with those that look “normal” to me 😉

  8. Hillary Clinton was right, it takes a village, I guess! Yours sounds pretty nice. Enough “characters” to make it interesting, not so many as to make it unpleasant.
    I nearly fell out when you said you were tempted to say “body parts”. I too am glad you didn’t, but it sure would have been amazing!

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