There was a meeting of the condo owners in my building a few weeks ago. We had 100 per cent attendance--but that wasn't difficult because there are only six owners. At the meeting we discussed the little crises in the building, the management, and the fact that now that a couple have bought the last apartment we now literally own the building and are going to have to take matters in our own hands from now on.
It was a genial group. The new couple consists of a chef and a therapist specializing in trans-gender issues. He (the chef) asked if it would be all right, once we get the back yard common space cleaned up and planted, if he roast a pig on a spit for a party. This caused great celebration. I'm hoping it's all done in time for my birthday, so I can have the party to end all 70th birthday parties, with roasted pig, slaw, salad, booze, beer, wine and dessert.
Afterward I thought how lucky I am to be in a little building like this. Luck? I don't know. I always choose the smaller place, a little out of the way, a little scruffy--and full of interesting people. I had no way of knowing who might be living in this building, but, without thinking about it I should have known that it would not be anyone stuffy or conventional.
I grew up in an out-of-the-way town, went to the unorthodox school, drifted from church to church trying to find one that really spoke to me, and never really found one. My first job was as a copy girl on the Mobile Register and my dream was to become a movie star and always have writing to fall back on. I married a very unconventional guy who loved opera and wanted to become an impresario. When we got to New York, I took a job on a trade newspaper and fell in with a like minded crew of offbeat, artsy types. I left the first husband, married an actor, ditched him eight years later, and a few years after that married the man who had just been named Director of Public Affairs and Advertising for DuPont Europe--and moved to Switzerland for six and a half years. To my mind, I never did quite make it in the corporate wife mold, but had a wonderful time in Geneva, made lots of friends--and started an amateur theater company that played to full houses and lasted for ten years after I left.
There's a pattern of me-against-the-world here. Not necessarily against, but at least on the outside trying to entertain the troops. Maybe that's why I was such a good fit in Hoboken. In Hoboken we look at the city, get there as often as we please, and travel back and forth, around the country or the world as we like. There is a beauty about being able to do that. And if I didn't do it here, I'd be doing the same thing somewhere.