Along with my wife, I reside in the east tower of the most reflective condo buildings in all of the Twin Cities. Our HOAs cover quite a bit of our living costs and provide us with all of the air conditioning that we can handle. We've also got a decent gym that I like well enough, except that it doesn't have a stairstepper, one of my favorite machines of all time. To make due, I started to incorporate actual stairclimbing into my workout routine. Seventeen floors goes quickly but, at the same time, it seems to take forever to get to the top. It sucks, it blows, and I miss my stairstepper. As a result, I'm always looking for any little reason to stop.
On one occasion, I found a reason / was forced to take a break because there was a woman in my way. That woman was V, one of my hundreds of neighbors and a fellow book clubber. I suppose that I could've nodded like a polite person, sidestepped around her, and gone on with my day and life. Instead, I think I took out my earphones, sweated on her, and said something wonderfully astute like, "What are you . . . *pant* . . . doing?" Obviously, I've got a way with words. As luck would have it, though, V was in the stairwell to do some exercising of her own, as she had recently had one of her knees replaced. It really was about the greatest thing I could expect to happen in a stairwell, since I've been told repeatedly that I'd eventually have to replace my knees.
Since meeting V, I feel like I've always got my very own, personal knee mentor. It's a grand feeling, as top notch knee mentors are few and far between. Besides the knee conversations, V and I had only spoken a bit in the halls, in the gym, at book club, and in the elevator. But tonight, we went for a walk that turned into more of a sit that turned into more of a gab session, which was probably more my style anyways. It was nice, and it was good. I like knowing my neighbors a bit and like having some things in common with them, even if it involves such terribly unavoidable things such as aging. I also take some comfort in knowing that she's done it (both the aging and the knee replacement) and she's lived to tell the tale. And, mostly, I'm glad that she was in my way that day in the stairwell so that I could be around to hear her tell her tale. Score one for not taking the elevator.