I love my apartment building. We are our own little neighbourhood.
It helps that we’re also in Kerrisdale, a perfect, throwback, mid-scale, little part of Vancouver.
You get to know your neighbours. People come and people go. Some, like me, have been here for years. We chat in the laundry room, parking lot and stairwells. At Christmas I invite most of the tenants to my open house.
Most of the tenants.
I will never invite the people that live right next door to me. And luckily, they never read my blog.
He looks like an upscale businessman. He’s not. She’s his mother. They’re always very polite when we pass in the hall. She speaks in a whisper.
A few times a month, behind their closed door, they scream at each other like two deranged banshees. Shrieks of accusations. Raging condemnations. It goes on for hours.
I can hear them from my bathroom.
So I know their little secret. They hate each other.
In this building we tend to look out for the people around us.
Jack lived on the second floor and was in a wheelchair. A friendly chap. Once when the fire alarm went off we all ended up in the lobby. It only took seconds for two men to turn and head back up the stairs to carry Jack down. It was a false alarm but from then on we put a system in place as to who would make sure Jack was OK in an emergency. I liked that we did that. It’s what your neighbours should do.
We also share books in the laundry room library.
Someone has hung “paintings” in the carport.
For a few weeks we had a lady living under the tree by the side of our building. It was well protected and she just “moved” in. Oddly enough we were all respectful of her space. When the weather turned, someone found her a better place to stay.
There’s a generous on-going dose of common courtesies.
People come and people go. Some people stay for years and years. Jack got sick and died.
We old-timers rate the newbie’s but we’re also quick to welcome them in.
Yelling neighbours, well they’ve taught me that you never really know what goes on in someone’s home when their door is closed… and locked.
We all have secrets. The way we act. What we think. Things that make us mad. Things that give us our greatest joy. And the people we choose to hate.
I swear I haven’t looked the mother or son straight in the eye since I heard the first yelling match.
I’m afraid they would know I know.
And how could I live with that?
Or worse… how could they.