Due to advancing age, I cannot seem to recollect if I mentioned that Young & Beautiful moved out. If I were a bit more paranoid, I’d think it was me – this is the third set of upstairs neighbors I’ve had in the past year. Granted the first pair was vacating as I was arriving, so it couldn’t be my creepy old lady vibe that drove them out.
Anywho. The new set is even younger, if not quite as beautiful. Although that may be subjective. Young & Beautiful were somewhere in the range of 29-32, which I feel is on the less creepy side should I ogle. This new couple is probably 20-22. Since I’m old enough to be their mother, viewing them as attractive in any way skeeves me out just a wee bit.
The new kids seem nice enough – he’s quiet with an adorable little ponytail; she’s blonde & bubbly. They’re a little more rambunctious than Y&B were, but not obnoxiously so. (Considering Derpy sometimes barks for breakfast pre-5AM, I’m certainly not complaining about a little music in the evenings.)
Here’s the rub -they’re smokers. Our building is smoke-free, so naturally they head out onto their porch to enjoy their cancer sticks. I’m not throwing stones – I made that poor choice when I was their age too. It took a few years to come to my senses – setting aside a disgusting habit in favor of my voice, breathing, and living in general. While it’s their life, I’ve found that being a proud quitter has made me particularly sensitive to cigarette smoke these days. It essentially makes me gag.
The stinky bit (literally) is that the building is built into a slight rise and my bedroom window opens onto their porch. Even when they aren’t actively puffing, there are ashtrays and smoldering butts that mean my window needs remain firmly closed this summer. No late evening cross breeze, no comforting noises of the night.
It annoys me that their choices influence how I get to enjoy my own domicile. Aside from this past year, I haven’t lived in a building for about 17 years. Dealing with the crushing proximity of neighbors, shared walls, and the like has been a significant adjustment.
There’s also the disturbing, if faint, feeling that living in an apartment at my age makes me a tiny bit of a failure. Nearly all of my peers have mortgages and are raising families. It’s the socially acceptable thing to do when you’re a grown up – find a partner, buy a house, pop out a few kids. If you deviate from this path (as I clearly have), there’s an unspoken pity for your lack of “success”. Regardless if you made a conscious choice to take the road less traveled.
My war cry is, live your own life, make your own choices and STFU to anyone who castigates. However, I’m still conditioned to care too much about what people think of me.
I need more practice.