Is this an amazing picture, or what? But you know, it got me thinking about apartment living. I’ve never been one to live in apartments much. I don’t like them. You hear too much and see too much of your neighbors, secret behavior. You know too much about what the couple next store argues about. You never manage to get your laundry done before 3 in the morning because the little old lady downstairs monopolizes the two machines and/or forgets for days that she has wash in it.
To me, apartments are boxes. They somehow threaten my humanity. I feel like an insect trapped by an over-ethusiastic pre-teen who likes to torture little creatures who can’t fight back. Except with a feeble stinger or two. And oddly enough, I’ve found that bugs love to live in apartments too. I’ve rarely gone into a house and found a plethora of insects all fighting for real estate. Yet in just about every apartment I’ve been in, it seems that you must know the secret password in order to get the cockroaches to let you into the kitchen after hours. And is it the cottage cheese ceilings or do spiders just prefer the ceilings of apartments.
Then there is what landlords do to apartments. They are always painted ‘dead white’ – it’s not really white, it’s a brownish, grayish shadowy color, that apparently costs $5 for every 50 gallons. And it’s always flat paint. So any marks, dirt, stains, etc are sure to stick to it for all of eternity or until the landlord breaks down and paints more ‘dead white’ over it.
The parking spaces are made to nicely accomodate shopping carts or bicycles, but not cars, even compact cars risk ruining the paint job backing out of those babies. And for some reason, your neighbors friends feel it’s perfectly okay to park in the lot and block your car by inventing their own parking spaces.
If anyone has a party, you can pretty much assume you will get no sleep that night, that the cops won’t come until the following morning and will need to be careful to step over the party barf in the courtyard.
The last apartment I lived in was many years back. And really, as apartments go, it wasn’t a bad place. I was struck with a surge of creativity and I really set to fixing the place up. I pulled up the green indoor/outdoor carpeting in the tiny kitchen and replaced it with a sweet little blue and rosey beige tile with a flower pattern. I took off the cabinet doors to the cupboards, painted the back walls blue to match the tile and had shabby chic, open air cupboards.
I found a splashy print with lots of color and hung it over the tiny little bistro chair and table set, I found to put in the tiny dining area.
I bought matching furniture for the living room and a nice bookcase. Replaced the shower curtain and painted the bathroom, with matching towels. Oh yes, I really went for it.
When I was done I had a sweet little french cottage motif and I loved it. Two weeks later the building was bought by a developer and we were all served with a notice saying the rent was doubling the following month. We could either pay it or move out in 30 days.
I was sad to leave my little created cottage but I’ve never been in an apartment since. I think I’ll leave the boxes to the people who don’t mind being tortured.
PS: Happy birthday, Pop.