Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Apartment Living

For the past three months I have walked the halls of our apartment building and climbed the four flights of stairs to our apartment. Over and over. My hall promenades take place in the evening. The long halls and long flights of stairs give me a good workout. I admit that when people see me striding down the hallway and going up and down the stairs they may wonder why I haven't taken advantage of the treadmills in the exercise room. But they don't ask.

Apartment dwellers know that when you live in close proximity to your neighbor you need to practice the art of boundary keeping. Because I also know that art, I don't ask the folks with their large dogs how the dogs do cooped up all day. When I walk by some apartments I hear the dogs barking-- either a plaintive whimper or a protective growl. Asking is tantamount to being intrusive.

Growing up in an apartment building in the Bronx I learned the subtleties of living in an apartment. Walk softly if you have a neighbor below your apartment or deal with the complaints flung your way. When my grandmother Yette  reached a point of frustration with an upstairs neighbor who moved furniture every evening, she grabbed hold of a broom and used the handle to deliver her own thumping on our ceiling. The upstairs neighbor, a thin and nervous looking woman, couldn't tolerate the banging and ceased her reorganization of furniture for a week. Then began again. And my grandmother repeated her banging. It was like a weekly  duet. Everyone knew their part.

Knowing the rules I walk quietly down the halls and tread softly on the stairs. And if I meet someone  and if they have a dog I say something nice about the dog. I don't ask how that huge lab likes being inside all day. I am aware of the rules.


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