By MONTY DIAMOND
Sharing a front door, car park, and hills hoist with complete strangers can be a tad testing at times. After residing in several flats, I have learnt the issues are often all the same.
Apartment blocks are full of grumpy, unfriendly beings furious they don’t have supreme control over their own wheelie bins. This frustration manifests itself in bizarre ways.
Late last Saturday night while I was catching some Z’s, I was woken by a lady in my apartment block playing her guitar and singing Christine Anu’s ‘My Island Home’. (She must have been mourning the premature departure of ‘Excess Baggage’ from our screens?)
Her crooning was painful, but she was giving it her all. I figured she had downed a few ciders, pulled out her axe, and decided to give it a red hot go like no one was listening. Only problem was everyone in my block had unwanted front row seats to her solo concert.
I lay in bed oddly enjoying her off key rendition of the 90’s hit when I heard a man yell out his window, “SHUT THAT UP! JUST SHUT THAT THING UP!” “That thing”, being a young woman liberating herself with a little Anu magic. The sudden silence that followed was deafening. Grumplestiltskin got his way and the drunken songbird promptly stopped her chirping.
Interaction can be rare in apartment blocks. My neighbours will happily hang their undie’s on the communal washing line for all to view, yet refuse to return a simple “hello” when passing in the corridor. It’s as if they are terrified that eye contact might lead to me knocking on their door for a cup of sugar and a tickle fight.
Rather than talk, the people I share my paper-thin walls with prefer to communicate via the ancient art of letter writing. Or more specifically, irate note scribing. In my block, an angry complaint note stuck on a car windscreen occurs more frequently than Seal’s inappropriate gyrating on ‘The Voice’. These notes are always anonymous and contain passive aggressive language, unnecessary capital letters and excessive amount of exclamation marks.
I have been fortunate enough to receive several abusive anonymous notes throughout my apartment living career. My favourite being from a neighbour who felt compelled to complain about my culinary efforts. Apparently the aroma of an over charcoaled chook is not everyone’s cup of tea. This resulted in a friendly note slipped under my door suggesting I “invest in cooking lessons, or learn to use a BLOODY FAN before everyone DIES from the STENCH!!!!!”
Even though my fellow flat dwellers get a little heavy handed with the old pen and paper, there are parts I do love about living in an apartment block. I get to live with a gay couple, a cat lady, a pizza addict, some Uni kids and a man who sweeps our communal driveway with a stick. It’s like a minestrone soup of society.
There is rarely a dull moment, just like a real life Melrose Place sans the non-stop sex. (Bummer). The fact that someone also comes and vacuums the common areas and puts the bins out once a week kind of makes me feel like I’ve got hired help. So it’s not all that bad. Until I can afford my white picket fence, 2.4 kids and a Dulux Paint dog, apartment living it is.
Katie “Monty” Dimond is a broadcaster and media personality. She has appeared on Channel Ten, Channel Nine, and Nova FM. She is currently busy being a full time Mum and loving it!
Apartment living. Thoughts?