Friday, February 15, 2013

Grin and bear it

The majority of my adult life has been spent living in an apartment*--an honest-to-God shared housing situation with a lease, landlord (or lady), and adult-like neighbors who don't (often) get drunk and rowdy and knock the "exit" signs down every Friday night. Because of this, I'd like to think that I've pretty much mastered the nuances of being an apartment dweller, as opposed to a dorm dweller or a home owner, or living off my parents' largesse dweller.

I hold the door open for people whom I know live in my building, and I don't buzz in random people who are just button mashing at the front door in hopes of gaining entrance. I'm mindful of community laundry hours even though I often need to wash my clothes at 3am and I'm pretty sure my apartment is the only one bothered by laundry noises. I don't listen to my music overly loudly, and I do my annoying noise-making activities like grinding coffee beans during weekday afternoons when people are more than likely awake/not even home. I honestly have never thrown a party myself because I'm afraid of disturbing my neighbors with joviality (which might be going above and beyond expected neighborliness, but my aversion to having people not like me overpowers my desire to clean up Doritos ground into my carpet and pick up discarded beer bottles after an evening of frivolity).

I expect the same courtesies to be extended to me. I don't think that's an unfair expectation of the other grown-ass people who live in my buildings. In general, and especially in my current building, we all get along quite peacefully. I buzz in the teenage boy who habitually locks himself out, my across-the-hall neighbors kept an eye out for packages while we were on our honeymoon, upstairs Carlos and I keep an ear out for trouble. It's a pretty great gig, overall.


Very little gets under my skin like blatant disregard for others. This peeve of mine translates itself in a lot of ways: rage at drivers who are too good to use their turn signals because CLEARLY they're the only one on the road that matters, glaring at litterbugs, fuming silently over people in front of me at the bank who could have gotten their act together at the little kiosk before getting in line but instead chose to wait until they were being served to go rummaging through their purse for whatever time consuming thing they're about to do.

Today's post is brought to you by angsting over whether or not to remove someone's laundry from our (only) washing machine in order to do my own. That, however, is a pretty common shared housing complaint and as long as you aren't a d-bag about it (like throwing the offending laundry on the floor instead of temporarily in your own basket) I think everyone agrees that having your laundry handled is a logical consequence of neglecting it. I'm a little annoyed, mostly at having to touch someone else's wet laundry (ick), but it reopened a deep and festering wound I have with one of my neighbors in particular.

Mr. and Mrs. Blue Cobalt--why do you insist on always taking up two parking spaces in our lot? Why?! I know it's a new car for you, but it's not, like, a Porsche. And even if it was a Porsche, do we, your neighbors, have a track record of being terrible at parking and dinging up each others' cars? As far as I can tell, all of our vehicles have been unmolested in their tenure in the back lot. Most especially, why do you do this in the spots that are closest to the building? It's winter. I'm cold. If you weren't taking up two spaces instead of one, I could have walked 15 fewer steps to get inside, and had 10 fewer seconds to fantasize about lighting your stupid car on fire to keep warm on my extended walk to the back door.

I'm constantly annoyed. I want to retaliate, but I can't think of any way to do so without stooping to their level. I could leave a note under their wiper, I suppose, but if they then choose to ignore the note and continue to park like a dick I'll just be super duper extra annoyed when I see them taking up prime parking real estate. I've contemplated parking like a jerk as well, elsewhere in the lot. Perpendicularly to the spaces, perhaps, since it seems we in this building don't care about standard parking convention and it's a free-for-all out there! I've also thought about parking next to them, also straddling a line, but that seems like it's just an open invitation for retaliation. These people don't have any concern for parking niceties, who knows what other social ills they are capable of?

This trial and tribulation is a continuous thorn in my side, but it does allow me to exercise my most powerful Apartment Dweller tool: sucking it up. Sometimes people are annoying but it is absolutely not worth escalating over. They're not really hurting me, and I really should just get over it. Much like hearing the Red Hot Chili Peppers blasting above my bedroom at 3pm, or wincing at the hoarde of teenagers in their minivan honking for 5 minutes until aforementioned teenage boy comes out, it's better to keep the peace and just roll my eyes and move on. There's no real reason to go around having uncomfortable confrontations and creating tension between neighbors, when at the moment there's only momentary tension around situations.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to keep whining about this parking thing, though.

*I suppose one year was spent in a shared house situation, but the same concept still applied as we were all employed during various hours of the day and night and had to be more conscientious of each other's time and space than in other share-houses.