Inside, three stories of east- and west-wing apartments stretch past the lobby's bubbling fountain and end at the surrounding pine forest's edges. The apartments are spacious and individualized with flowered wreaths or other decorations on the hallway doors. My own space has come together and like "a latch key kid of the fifties" again, I wear my house key -- now a computerized card key -- around my neck on a spiffy lanyard like the other hundred or so other tenants here who are genuinely friendly. Single women, men or couples greet each other in the hallways on their way to meals, laundry, movies, the computer lab, book or discussion groups, bridge games or whatever plans they made. The general atmosphere here reminds me of a college dorm without the stress of classes and much, much better food. People have plans and purpose.
Since I wrote a week long series on myths about older people some time ago, you wouldn't be happy unless I shared a few fun things about living here, would you, Babies?
- A benign version of teasing and flirting of the college years shows up here too.
- I am thrilled that people here are mostly comfortable in their own skin, as the saying goes, and prize their own individually.
- They still gossip and the men are the ring leaders--who knew?
- We have quaintly termed "friendships" between certain residents who do everything together -- but not laundry.
- Women are more likely to over-explain their "friendships."
- Unless a couple is married, going through the salad bar is 'a woman's job.'
- Who carries the lady's purse to the car usually explains the balance of power.
- The "power-table" is the one furthest from the door.
- Everyone eats dessert - even if it is only Jell-o.
- Everyone hopes to appear younger than their years but they won't say that.
- Everyone wants to know your age.
- Most people here have given up their pretensions in favor of a gentle dignity.
Over the past year, my blog posts were intentionally positive while my life was not. I have often said and written that it's easy to leave something, or someone, when we don't feel connected. At my former residence, attempts to make circles of inclusion were truncated by what a young friend called "hyper-pretentiousness" which seemed to be a local but seriously contagious disease. So with no regrets, I moved on down the road. It's good to be here with all the other latch key kids.