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.
The 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.