Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Upstairs, Downstairs

I am an apartment dweller again. [Sort of. On paper anyway]

Oh lofty place, you are awesome! And you offer another approach to life.

I met a neighbor as I dragged in some boxes today (Tonya: first thing in – the sound system, just to irk you!). Alice (I’m all about pseudonyms), a loft-dweller herself, was on her way out and we went back to her unit to chat. A handful have been living here since the grand opening on August 1st. Her scoop:

Here’s the lowdown: we live in a stratified society and nowhere is it more evident than in this building. Upper level: mostly UW profs, moving to Madison from California, New York, Connecticut. Middle floor: professional grad students. Lower level: struggling grad students.

Madison Aug 05 149 back entrance to three levels of warehouse living

We get together and we laugh a lot. They’re tracking my progress with a guy from It’s like a cheering squad. We toured each other’s units and bitched about how others have things that our own units lack. We compared shower curtains. We all really got into the loft idea. We got appliances to match the steel pipes. We want to feel urban.

The younger types [grad students] are straight out of dorms, you can tell. Like, one of them went around last night knocking on our doors. She was going to watch movies and wanted company. So sweet!

Come to a party this coming Tuesday. It’s for the lofters. It’s my birthday

The place is a mix of construction workers and residents. Things aren’t quite done yet, but no one minds. There is a freshness to the building that goes beyond new construction. I remember when I lived in the suburbs (oh! I used the past tense!), people said that it takes a certain type to move to a cul-de-sac. My apartment wisdom is that it takes a certain type to pick a warehouse loft to live in.

Madison Aug 05 146 still constructing (does the beard get in the way sometimes?)

I was glad I read up on urban spaces. I feel this loft will require a mindset in addition to pieces of furniture strategically placed in the cavernous spaces.

Mr.B, let me thank you for a summer of good health

One bonus of being a total advocate of healthy living is that annual check-ups provide opportunities to chat in a friendly fashion with your physician about their kids and hobbies. And I like my physician tons, so the annual check-in is like a yearly reunion. I always want to say we should have coffee sometime. Really, I just love my doc.

Yesterday, however, she really pushed me and tried hard to figure out if there maybe could be some small thing that she could note on my chart. I think she feels that it reflects poorly on her detection skills to put “perfect health,” especially since my first several dozen years of life were full of medical drama. How could it be that it all went away?

So she prodded me for more details.

Have you suffered a loss of appetite in the last year?
Nope – love to eat. [Doctors only pretend they want you to stay slim; once you’re at some lower weight level, they needle you about it all the time. The message is always clear: if you’re a normal human being, you should be getting fat! What the hell is wrong with you? You’re against candy bars and the sedentary life style? What kind of a freak are you anyway?]

Do you get tired during the day?

Are you at all depressed? Would you like to see a counselor or are you just relying on friends with life’s issues?
Friends. Besides, I’m hearty Polish peasant stock. We don’t acknowledge depressive states. We go out and till the fields when the going gets tough.

Ah! It says on your chart that you had a bike accident in June. Any aftermath?
Well, the sprain in the thumb never totally healed because I use the hand so much…
Let me take a look…Still swollen! You need hand therapy! I have just the referral for you. Next week I want you to go to the Hand Clinic at UW Hospitals.

The Hand Clinic? There is a Hand Clinic? I have a slightly swollen thumb joint and I have to go to the Hand Clinic for therapy? People have psychiatrists, neurologists, cardiologist and I have a hand doctor? How awkward is that?

I detected a smug little look of satisfaction in my her eye as she scribbled out the referral.