Living Columns & Blogs

'Tiny Dancer'

So I mentioned the other day my dislike of apartments.

I moved into apartment life when I was a sophomore in college after having put in my requisite one year in the dorms. I was beyond ready to be on my own and not living under anyone else’s purvey — neither my parents nor the residence assistants.

My freshman dorm was full of drama like only… well like only a dorm hall of freshman women could be. And I don’t tend to be the dramatic type. I needed to move on. (Hindsight I should have stayed in the dorms a few years more — turns out the drama queens also moved out about the same time I did.)

I settled into a long string of apartment rentals that lasted for 11 years. Slowly over time I (and then we) moved up in apartment quality. I had the dirt cheap (relatively speaking) garden-level apartment off an alley in Boulder, Colo., that amounted to maybe 400 square feet. And there was a reason it was considered dirt cheap… not much separating me from the dirt. The quantity of bugs in that apartment was utterly ridiculous. But I loved it, and it was mine and walking distance to everything cool that Boulder had to offer.

Finally as a married graduate student, my husband and I ended our apartment stint in a nice apartment with a luxury — a washer and dryer IN the apartment — before we moved here. And it had a view of the Reno-Sparks Basin. We never had to drive to see fireworks displays. And the hot air balloons in the Reno Balloon Races would frequently land around our complex.

This should have been the height of apartment living. Instead about the only thing I remember was the misery of having four freshman boys living above us. They were young partiers who hosted parties nearly every weekend. We filed complaint after complaint with the complex. When the complaints started “getting lost,” we resorted to having them date and sign them and photocopy it for our records.

After many complaints, the manager of the apartment complex one day said, “I don’t know what you want me to do, their parents are on the lease, if I evict them I will ruin their parent’s credit.”

I knew then that they were never going to leave and that it was only going to end when we moved.

I accepted defeat grudgingly. And vowed to never reside in another apartment ever again.

The title of this post is "Tiny Dancer." So I suppose I should explain the title.

One of those nights of pounding music, screaming college students and beer bottles being hurled onto my lawn it suddenly became quiet. I silently rejoiced. They must have all fallen asleep simultaneously.

Then it started.

A drunken rendition of Elton John's Tiny Dancer by at least 50 revelers at the top of their lungs.

I used to like that song.

Now I can’t hear it without twitching at the memories of those last six months of trying to write my dissertation among constant partying.

I am sure the twitching I am feeling now after recanting this will leave soon.