John Gee

John Gee

When we decided to move out of the ONE, we were hit with a barrage of questions. The hardest to answer were the permutations of the “why do you want to leave here” question. As with any soul-searching question, the answers were never easy. Life isn’t always as prosaic as we would like, and it was just the right time to move on.

This decision would have been a lot easier if we lived anywhere but in the Old Northeast. As anyone who is reading the Journal knows, the ONE is about as close to perfection as you can get in a neighborhood. But once the decision was made, the questions began, and here are the top ten… with my answers:

1. Won’t you miss your house?

I miss the plants and the garage the most. I loved my landscaping and hanging out in the garage. It’s a man thing.

2. Won’t you miss your neighbors?

Yes. But we now have new neighbors and many ways to meet up and socialize. It just doesn’t involve an alley anymore.

3. What about your privacy?

Like the ONE, you can be as private or as public as you desire. There are, however, occasions when you must be more face-to-face with people than you would want – see question #10.

4. Won’t it be too noisy downtown?

St. Pete has become much noisier these days. We live far enough above the fray to keep most noise away, but we still hear barking at the moon at some ungodly hours in the night. The race week is the worst time, but we just leave.

5. What about your dog?

Our building has many dogs and I am glad to report that our old girl has become the favorite.

6. Can you live with all the rules and condo associations?

There are rules everywhere and a condo is no different. We have not found them to be anymore egregious/arbitrary than anywhere else in our over-regulated world. Our association is populated by some quite nice and dedicated people.

7. Where will you put all your stuff?

You are not listening! The idea was to get rid of stuff, not to find another place to put it.

8. Parking?

Parking is provided. It just isn’t as close and convenient as before.

9. Fees?

Everyone who owns property pays fees. We just pay them in one monthly bill. It all adds up to the same thing.

10. Elevators?

This is the one aspect of condo living I never considered as a problem. Obviously when you live ten floors off the ground, there has to be some method of conveyance. Walking up stairs is great exercise, but climbing ten floors every day with groceries, suitcases, or an ancient dog in tow is a bit of overkill. So when people asked “how many elevators does the building have?” or “how fast are the elevators in your building?” I should have sensed that a change in my lifestyle was in the air.

Condo living is fine, but the elevators do add a new dimension. With a house, if the dog has to go out, you just open the door and go back to the TV. When you want to leave, all you do is get in the car and away you go. An elevator, however, requires a planned escape. You have to check to see if you have the right keys, briefcase, suitcase, remember the baby, the dog, the leash, the lunch. If not, it requires a long schlep back to the elevator bank… wait, get the forgotten item… go back to the elevator bank… wait, and then back outside. Added to this is enduring elevator behavior. Do you talk or do you just stare at the middle distance? If you do talk, what about? Weather? Pets? Kids? Saturday Market? The options are as infinite as they are mundane.

For the most part, living downtown has been fun. We miss the serenity of the ONE, but we have adapted to our new way of living. I guess you could say that learning to live with elevators is fine but (please excuse me –I can’t resist) it does have its ups and downs.

by John Gee