Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Condo Living: Downsized Space, Upsized Self-Awareness?

Moving from a house into a condo has its perks, but the transition can mean a culture shock for many.  Ellen Alban, a recent condo convert, shares her account with us as she begins to experience the condo lifestyle and adjust to some of its quirks!

By Ellen Alban

The first day I moved into my new condo my life as I had known it changed dramatically.

In my former home I could be cranky, loud, and generally obnoxious and no one would know anything about my ornery moods. I could dress as I pleased in any old thing and no one would see, hear, or care about my appearance. 

On the other hand, in my new condo I discover that my threadbare pink bathrobe and my faded pink mules would not be suitable for taking out my puppy at 7:00 in the morning. Wearing this ancient get-up I must pass the concierge desk and often scare the wits out of them. 

But alas, other issues must be considered. How would my aforementioned morning attire be received by those perfectly pressed and polished people in the elevator with me at that hour? I must smile and say good morning, even though my high voltage bed-head and no makeup are a noticeable source of shock for my fellow riders, I must not be self-conscious. I must still say good morning and hope that they are too tired to notice too much about me. I do run a grave risk of being reported to the powers that be, the building manager. The charge—reckless and inappropriate clothing, thus a major violation of condo corp. 2276487’s rules and regulations, which state clearly the following: it is not permitted to enter any public area without suitable makeup, hair and fashionable attire. Does this apply to men as well? Must they too look sharp for the elevator ride to G at 7:00 am? I certainly hope so. Does this also mean that my appearance on a normal bad hair day is grounds for a stern reminder about building protocol? Can I use Halloween as my raison d’etre for my imperfections in October? 

In order to resolve the situation a meeting must be called. The board of directors and the rules committee have too much to do. 

In the meantime, a full-length coat, huge dark glasses, a wide brim sunhat and my laundry white Nike runners might be my temporary solution. I hope it works!!

Ellen Alban is a former high school teacher of English and French who in retirement is still teaching. She leads physical fitness classes, teaches an adult creative writing class, and plays bridge and Mah Jong. She does all this in spite of the fact that she has been living with Parkinsons Disease for 16 years. Her first book of poetry is published and her second book, a group of short stories about cottage life, is ready to be published shortly. Ellen is an optimistic, humorous writer who good naturedly pokes fun at herself, often hearing from her readers  that the very same events happened to them as well. Ellen has been married to her husband Henry for forty one years. They have two adult children.