Beware of elevator rides. Many months ago I was waiting on an elevator to take me down to the parking garage. The elevator arrived to my floor, the elevator doors opened and I stepped inside. I did not notice that the elevator was going up instead of down. No big deal, what goes up must come down.
I leaned against the back of the elevator and began to play with my iPhone, the world’s best Smartphone ever. The elevator arrived to a Penthouse level floor and a single passenger stepped into the cab. Knowing the new occupant and also knowing that they are not of a trusting nature toward me, I said “Hello, how are you today?” The individual shrank into the corner as if petrified to be there and mumbled, “I would be better if you were not in the elevator.” Well, I had to pick my mouth up off the floor. I thought to myself, “Did he just say what I thought he said? Yes, he did. What the …” I was somewhat stunned and had no immediate comeback so we rode to the garage in silence. Of course, later on I thought of many responses I could have offered including stopping the elevator on another floor and providing him a way out of the elevator cab. Hindsight is always 20/20 and many cleaver responses are realized.
Anyway, we arrived to the garage and the individual starts to berate me about an email he thought that I had sent to others referencing him. I only somewhat listened as I continued to walk toward the car but did eventually tell him that I had no idea what he was talking about (truthfully, I did not) and he should really shut up as I could care less about any words uttered from his mouth. I was shocked at the bizarre nature of the situation.
Nice Neighbors, Uh? Well, initially I was trying to be polite by simply saying “Hello, how are you today?” I did not expect or require a response.
What is the point to this story? I do not think that multi-family living is a natural state for most humans. We are literally stacked side by side, one on top of the other for many stories. Our parking spaces are lined up side by side, we share elevators to take us from place to place, we hang out at the pool with strangers, we exercise with people we may or may not know, we smell food odors in the hallways, we hear doors slam, we hear babies cry next door, we smell cigarette smoke, and everything we do outside of the confines of our individual condominium unit is public domain. If we do not like or do not trust our immediate neighbors (a story for a future blog) and if they do not like or do not trust you, how do you adjust? Some people are literally living a few feet away from someone who would prefer them not to be there. Imagine neighbors telling neighbors that they are not welcome and should move away. Unless you want to move, you have to find a way to accept the situation and live a happy existence. Condominium life is not for everyone!
So what do you do, especially if you have been a community leader and enjoy volunteering? Do you disengage and permit the ones that you do not trust (who also do not trust you) to take control? Do you sell the space that you love and seek “shelter” someplace else? Pitching a tent in Piedmont Park is not an option.
I decided to enjoy all the positives around me. I have met some wonderful people and forged some meaningful friendships with individuals who live in my condominium building. I have visited places and shared life stories with others whom I never would have experienced had I not lived here. Through those whom I trust, I have met others and enlarged my circle of friends. I am very thankful for all those who have touched my life since moving into our building. I have learned that there are those with whom it was not destined for me to continue a friendship with and others that I immediately knew I would not connect with.
I usually speak to anyone I come across in the common areas of our building. Admittedly, there are a few folks that I choose not to speak to and that is OK for me. I gave myself permission not to be required to like or to be liked by every person I encounter in this environment. That is a Utopia that will never happen.
I continue my involvement with the community and work to make positive contributions as I can. I try to keep moving our issues forward.
I think residents of a condominium building would make a great case study for a Psychologist, Sociologist or Psychotherapist. If anyone knows a reality television producer, I can pretty much guarantee that a series based upon a condominium building will include lots of human drama.
A condominium is a box full of various lifestyles, religions, perceptions, socioeconomic conditions, races, ages, and any other life condition you can imagine. Place each into a box, side by side, above and under – shake it up, jump in and make the best of it. Otherwise, live in the suburbs, pull the SUV into the garage, close the door and shut out the world.