NEWBIE AT STRATA LIVING IN SUMMER
Thanks for all those who responded to my cry for feedback on the Strata swimming pool abuse by so-called guests. Although I knew I have rights as a Strata owner, I am not always sure whether I should assert myself, and how.
After the last trip to the swimming pool, I decided to try again and go for a dip in the pool after work at 5-ish. Thank god, the loudmouth wasn’t there this time. I met an elderly couple on the path towards the pool. They replied to my friendly greeting with a taciturn soft spoken “Hello”. Their faces looked not peaceful, nor upset, possibly a bit startled; I had trouble interpreting their mood.
Arriving at the gate I saw the possible reason. Instead of elderly people quietly reading or chatting, a clan of nubile maidens were draped over the lounge chairs by the pool in various states of undress, mostly much bared, wearing some minuscule bikinis. Six girls had taken possession of the pool, although much more tentatively and a whole world less self-assured than my previous nemeses.
I had thought about my predicament of the last time using the strata pool. I had started on the wrong foot, I realized. I should have asserted myself in a friendly way at the earliest possible moment. I had learned from that time and addressed the girls with a friendly “Hello!” They said “hi” back in unison. That sounded lovely, like a mini choir of young voices. Continuing the conversation, I asked them if they lived in the complex. A young woman with chestnut brown hair replied. “Yes, I do, I live on 104, no, 105, in the first building. We just moved in.”
“Oh, that’s where I live too. Welcome to the neighbourhood”. I was cheery and I think I struck the right tone. Let’s wait and see, I told myself, be friendly, and get the information.
I went to the other end of the pool away from the girls and put my stuff down on a chair, then changed into my bathing suit, showered and returned to the pool. I slid into the balmy water, enjoying the soothing, salty water that embraced me and made my body feel buoyant and light. Ahhhh, how wonderful. I swam laps using as much of the pool as possible.
Yes, the girls were somewhat boisterous, talking loudly and then suddenly whispering about…what else: boys. In particular one girl, (hate to say it, but she was the typical ditsy, booby blonde) was rather present and loud. Whenever I looked in their direction while swimming towards that group, she was adjusting her breast, one or the other, by putting her hand inside the cup and resettling the breast in their little jacket, the purpose of which was lost on me. She loudly exclaimed in response to another girl’s remark “I might as well kill myself!”
If I were unkind, I could think that she looked and sounded like a woman that indeed might attempt that, when a bit older. Dramatic, exhibitionist, needy for attention, and what would she do when she did not get it anymore from her boyfriend? I hope she learns a thing or two before she makes this scenario a reality. Anyway, they did not bother me as much as the clan of guests of mothers in their thirties of my previous post.
I swam for a while, and when I had enough, changed and went to the exit gate. I told the girls goodbye, that my name was Johanna and that I lived in 206. The brunette said, “Hey you are my neighbor, I am Lucille, nice to meet you.” “Nice to meet you too. I had met your partner before. Ask me if you need anything, just knock on my door.”
It is going to be an interesting summer. This is a live show, my life is going to be played out here in this strata building pool in all its different life stages. A mirror is held up and I am judging myself how I have aged, or not aged. With the previous group in the pool, I was reminded of my days as a young mother. We, mothers of the ‘hood, went to the beach as a group once a week: our Moms and Tots group, an informal collection of young women of the neighbourhood, eager for some socialization. Except for a couple of teachers who were off for the summer anyway, most of us had the luxury of being stay-at-home moms. We let the kids play in the sand on our wide, natural beach. The water was a long way out and impossible for any little one to reach without being spotted, and then, still at toddler had a ways to walk before the water would be over her head. We were social, but the focus of attention always was on the children–it was the ruling attitude in that group.
What I saw happening today was the ageless ritual of courting, and the specific way young people learn to bond and form couples. An hour after I had left the pool, the group of girls arrived at the condo, joined by a couple of young men. They stood around for a short while, chatting and joking, and then most disappeared inside the condo. One couple sat on the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette passing it between them. They were talking, calmly and quite seriously, by the looks of it.
Then a car drove up, a shiny black, beefed up two door, the music pounding loudly through the open window–it wasn’t my kind of music. It shut off after a short while, having testing the limit of my patience. This happened right in front of my condo, while I am enjoying my meal ‘al fresco’ on my deck. I will have to invent some strategy to block the neighbours out, maybe earphones?
After a while, the last young man drove off with another blond girl shot gun in his black car, with a lot of evidence of the car’s horsepower and ear-shattering acceleration, and the man’s assumed virility. Guess what, they went to the Starbucks on the corner on the other side of the building, to get a coffee. I know so, because a few minutes later they arrived with it. Five minutes later, he sped off, again with the same show of noise, with the girl.
I finished my dinner and got up. I smelled smoke, not just smoke–it was marijuana. I looked over the deck railing and saw the group of girls and guys on the corner, comfortably spread out on the lawn, about ten meters away from the condo building. Oh yes, it is pretty much legal now, so what do I care. The new condo rule is no smoking (anything) in and around the building. The group did abide by the rule, just, by the distance they kept. I stopped my first impulse to do something. What could do? And, on second thought I reminded myself not to be hypocritical: in my days I smoked pot too, and I inhaled. So here presented another item itself to confront me with my current life stage. I had not anticipated this at all. I thought condo living meant old people in a condo–that suits me. In addition I get an education as well. Who knew!
I didn’t count on foolish parents when moving in here. I had seen th parents on their arrival at #105, a couple of weeks ago, together with their kids. I had assumed they would be the residents, not their daughter. What boggles the mind is how some parents are giving their children everything, such as a condo to live in, or maybe a car when they graduate. These kids do not learn to improvise and build up a little resiliency by having to make do, and work at a job, or two jobs, or share homes with roommates. No, the condo I am talking about was bought by the parents for the purpose of letting their daughter and boyfriend live in it, for the time being, until the parents are old enough and on retirement, and would move in themselves.
The previous owners of this condo did just that. They had bought the condo for their offspring and when the daughter moved on, the parents occupied it themselves. Unfortunately, they moved out again last month, because the husband recently retired and was bored silly. All I saw him do since my arrival last fall is smoke cigarettes and pout on his deck, and read crime mysteries. Although the wife liked it here, they sold the condo anyway within 3 weeks of the decision to sell–it had not even been advertised yet. They moved into a motel, until they would find a house. Their reason was that he “would have something to do” she said, “and he might even go back to work”.
How sad to have no interests beyond work and a spouse, and no friends. Even their old dog went to dog heaven, just before their move. At least, now the grass in front of their condo can recover.
For now, it looks like condo# 105 is doomed to repeat its history as a young people’s pad. That serves me right, to think I was going to seniors’ paradise!
I guess this will be a blog that documents the trial and tribulations of a newbie at CONDO LIVING, at least for a while. Please, send me a message with your suggestions or a comment. I would love to hear your experiences, I could learn a great deal. I need some survival skills….