Uniform

Balconies are interesting spaces.

A front yard or a porch are also revealing, but balconies are small pops of individuality amid a sea of windowed vertical boxes. I can’t say I ever noticed what my neighbors were doing when I lived among the streets, but now that I’m in an apartment, I can’t seem to mind my own business.

It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in an apartment, but you would think the newness would have worn off after a few months.

Nope. I am still fascinated by stacked cohabitation— specifically, the trash chute and the underground parking.

The idea that I can exit my apartment, walk a bit down the hall, and put my trash in a chute tops my current list of cool things. I listen every time the garbage bag bangs through the floors below and drops into the basement. My other apartments never had a trash chute. If you’ve never experienced one, trust me, it’s fantastic.

And the parking garage is another first. I have a card that lets me into the underground parking garage like Batman. Sure, all the cars in there aren’t mine, and Michael Caine isn’t down there, but it’s dark and quiet. It’s dressed-in-black cool, and my footsteps echo when I walk to the elevator.

What was the point of this post? Oh, right. The balconies.

So the downside of an apartment is we all sort of look the same. It’s like having to wear uniforms to school. We all have a similar slab of concrete for our plants, a chair, maybe a table.

Our building balconies run the gamut from a solitary weight bench to a sectional couch with a television mounted outside.

It rained the other day, and I know the space is covered, but how long will that TV survive with the salt air?

Not my issue, Michael reminds me, but these guys are right across from our living room window, and I think about their poor television at least once a day.

The man near my office window often uses his balcony to barbecue in nothing but a towel at his waist. He has lovely patio furniture and candles, too. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the same woman sipping coffee out there on Sunday morning. Not that I’m looking because that would make me weird, and I’m obviously totally normal.

The couple above Ladies Man, that’s what I’ve taken to calling him, must be in sales. They are always smoking, pacing their balcony, and talking on the phone like some important deal is going down. It’s a no-smoking complex, but I’m not reporting them. What if they’re mob bosses or with the FBI?

We have a table, chairs, and plants on our balcony. Before we bought stools for the kitchen counter, we ate all of our meals outside. That was back when the young couple directly across from us used to do CrossFit on their balcony. We tried to divert our eyes during breakfast, but they were like right there. The woman was a total badass, and the guy was barely keeping up… just saying.

That couple moved shortly after we arrived. I hope it wasn’t our balcony.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Box Spring.

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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I used to live suchly, but I’m in the country now, and I can’t see my nearest neighbor’s house most of the year; but now that the leaves have (almost completely) fallen, I can see his house over on the other side of the treeline. If I wanted to see what he was up to out on his porch, though, I’d need binoculars. I don’t miss my balconied past.
    Thanks for the share!

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