The Ups and Downs of Apartment Living

In June, I moved back into my apartment in Dublin, having lived in the UK for nearly four years. For the last three years, I lived in a very nice house, on a very nice street, with very nice neighbours.

Now, I love my apartment; it’s big, lots of natural light and is very well-located. It didn’t take too long to get used to living in an apartment complex again. You know the sorts of things: the sound of a door closing near, but not in, your apartment (you hope), the interesting ventilation in the corridor that means you arrive home to the smell of someone else’s laundry or, less appealing, someone else’s curry, and the etiquette of making minimal conversation and no eye contact in the lift.. This weekend, though, I got to experience the best and the worst of apartment life.

I order food for my cat online and, yesterday, I got a notification that delivery had failed, followed by a notification that delivery had been successful. The whereabouts of cat food was not a Saturday problem, because the previous bag of cat food wasn’t finished yet, so I largely forgot about it till I got home yesterday evening. Then, I found a post-it note, curled up and placed in the keyhole of my front door. It was from someone claiming to be my neighbour, telling me he had taken delivery of a package, and leaving his mobile number. Sure enough, I texted the number, ascertained that this was the neighbour at the far end of the corridor and took possession of my cat food, with much gratitude and good wishes for a pleasant evening, on both sides.

Honestly, I went to bed last night with warm fuzzy feelings about the kindness of neighbours.

Now, it’s not usual for me to leave my apartment at 2am on a Sunday morning but I’d arranged to collect a friend from the airport, as she was returning from holiday and that is not a fun time to try to get anywhere in Dublin by taxi or by public transport.

I did not expect to find another neighbour, apparently sleeping on the corridor floor right outside my front door, surrounded by his keys, his shoes and a pile of vomit. Good news, he was absolutely breathing. Bad news, he was very difficult to rouse. Honestly, if he had been unrousable, I’d have been calling an ambulance. There’s a certain occupational hazard in being a pathologist; you always jump to the worst case scenario and, with alcohol intoxication, that’s a pretty bad ‘worst case’. I channelled the best emergency department nurses I ever knew (which is a combination of high power female executive crossed with Irish mammy) and shook him awake, managed to keep him awake long enough for him to point at the right apartment door (until then, I didn’t know if he was even on the right floor) and unlocked his door. Having shepherded him in, reminded him to bring his shoes with him, and sidestepped the vomit, I went into my own apartment.

The good news is that, when I went to check on him today, he was fine, if hungover and embarrassed.

The better news is that he’s going to clean up that vomit.

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