Monday, February 23, 2009

Apartment Life Sucks

Hello again,
Like many young married couples my wife and I are saving up to buy our first home, hopefully within the next couple of years, but until that time we live in a spacious one bedroom apartment here in Victoria. It's a nice enough apartment, don't get me wrong (hardwood floors, clean building, good location, on a bus route, reasonable rent, and a friendly caretaker) but, as I'm sure many of you can agree, there are some things about apartment life that just suck no matter how nice your apartment is.
It seems that no matter when I want to have a shower someone else has the same idea and then it becomes a fight to maintain a consistent water temperature. The nice thing is that I live directly above the boiler room so I get the hot water first, but when the water is hot enough to blister the paint off the walls that's too hot! So I ever so slightly turn the hot down - and I mean just a tiny fraction of a turn people - and suddenly the water becomes so cold certain parts of my anatomy instantly disappear! I don't even think Mariah Carey could hit the high notes I hit when that happens!
I wish I could get these people back by starting a load of laundry, but unfortunately my apartment does not come with in suite machines so I have to go downstairs and use the common laundry room. This can sometimes be another adventure. First of all there are only 3 washers and 3 dryers. Of course there's always one machine that doesn't work as well as the others and after a while you start to strategize and try to time your laundry perfectly to take advantage of the good machines. It would be nice if the other tenants knew how to play this game but instead they come in willy nilly, take up all of the machines and seem to always forget they're doing laundry. I'm never comfortable with handling other people's laundry.
Perhaps even more unsettling is when someone can't wait and removes my laundry from the machine the second the cycle stops. I do my best to be in the room a minute before the end of the cycle, but sometimes things happen and I'm a few minutes late. By the time I get downstairs all of my laundry is in a big pile on the counter- beside my basket!
I could probably do an entire post about just laundry, and I know so many people that have similar complaints, but then you folks may get as bored as the Maytag Repair Man. Suffice it to say those of you who happen to have your own machines don't know how lucky you are.
I remember once hearing a famous Aboriginal author talking about how at one point in time his people lived in villages where everyone knew and respected each other and that nowadays nobody even knows who's living on the other side of the wall and he's really got a point. TV sitcoms would have you believe that everyone knows everyone else in their building, but it's just not like that for most people these days. All you get are fleeting glimpses of people quickly shuffling up and down the hallway before they disappear into their suite and hastily slam the deadbolt into place.
Some of my neighbors seem like nice enough people and I probably would get along with them, but in this day and age people just don't randomly knock on their neighbor's doors and invite themselves into their lives. Idle small talk when you meet while taking out the garbage is about as far as it goes these days.
Of course then there are those people in the building that can just get on your nerves. The couple fighting across the hall, the stuffy old woman who bathes in perfume and gives everyone a dirty scrutinizing look as they come in and out of the building, the person who's always doing laundry but seems to own only one outfit, and the guy who can't afford to fix his crappy car and wakes the building up bright and early with his noisy engine, squeaky brakes, and terrible power steering. Did I mention my balcony faces the parking lot?
Now I know that when I eventually own my own place there may be other issues with neighbors, but as long as I can have a nice shower, do laundry at my own pace, and not hear the upstairs neighbors walking around or -ahem- expressing their physical love for each other, then I'll be happy.
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