I live in an apartment. There is something so potent in that one statement that leaves me with the inability to describe it in its entirety. I live in an apartment. I am surrounded by the good, bad and the hilarities that come as part of the package with apartment living. I have a spacious 700 square feet unit in a slightly good neighborhood. My patio balcony door overlooks a huge tree that has no shame and a street full of cracks, bumps and dips. My neighbors and their children greet me with bubble gummed “hellos” and “how are yous” when I venture out of my unit. There are several men of maintenance who operate in a quick and efficient manner whenever I call to log in a work order. We also have a Sheriff who lives on site and a couple of officers who circle the complex to ensure our safety. My current place is actually the fourth apartment that I have lived in during my adult years, and as of right now, it is also the best. But Tre, why is this so?

As if the above paragraph full of gloats was not enough, a neighbor of mine who lives downstairs keeps her three grandchildren while her daughter works. The middle child (whom if I had to guess I would say is about three and three quarters), never misses a moment to approach me when I come home from work. If he and his siblings are outside enjoying what can sometimes be great weather, he is not satisfied (or so it seems) until I have said, “Hello there little one” to him. Each time, I am stilled by his marble eyes, dimpled smile and friendliness. He is one of the people (and, if not the only person) I look forward to seeing when I pull up to my building and turn the key in my car’s ignition to off. Just recently, he showed me a new toy that belonged to his baby brother. And, with all of the interest in a child’s toy I could muster up, I emitted it just to see him smile. I said goodbye to both him and his grandmother and told him to take care of his brother’s toy. He informed me that he would and ran off with his fingers in his mouth. Children, you’ve got to love them.

With apartment life (pending your walls are just as thin as mine have been in every place that I have called home), one inadvertently learns too much information about one’s neighbors. The unit adjacent to mine has a resident whom is up at about the same time I awake. What is even queerer to me is that he and I enter our bathrooms at the same time as well. I can hear this guy blow his nose. His nose, people! The first morning I became aware of this, something in me stopped moving. My all too busy mind went on a thinking rampage and I was instantly bombarded with, “Oh my God, if I can hear this guy blow his nose, what can he hear me doing?” With walls as thin as the walls in this complex, I shudder at the thought of any sounds, grunts or unique sighs that I have made in which my next door neighbor might have discussed with his circle of friends. But, this could just be my ultra paranoid mind working overtime.

There is a young couple (at least, I assume they are a couple) who live under my unit who seem to scratch that after midnight sexual itch far too much during the week. Now, I am all for one seeking pleasure and then fulfilling it, but the female is a screamer. Not only am I awakened by the high octaves of each epithet leaving her mouth, my sleep is interrupted, and it is often hard for me to rest afterwards. Seriously, the range on this chick’s voice puts pre-2000 Mariah Carey to shame. I have yet to greet them the following morning after the antics have occurred. And, I am all too happy about this. I often think of myself saying something so far in left field, I am glad God has not given me the chance to see my neighbors the morning after. The look on my face would shout “Um, you guys should really tone it down some” and would cover all bases in which she or he would probably think me weird.

These are just a few of the experiences apartment life can provide. Depending on your area and how comfortable you are with sharing little pieces of yourself with total strangers, this life could be the life for you. Let me state again, I love where I currently live. I am content, easily entertained, constantly amused, and I adore the children who live in my building. If I am not satisfied with something in my place and it requires maintenance, it is handled in a timely manner, and I do not have to worry about trying to fix it or break it myself. I pride myself on not worrying about property value, location and Home Owner Association Meetings. But, I do not aspire to live in an apartment three years from now. By this time, I hope I am able to say, “I am a homeowner.” Am I ready for that life? I like to think that I am.

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