Last week, a friend and I helped another friend move her stuff out of a tiny, one-bedroom apartment in nearby Longmont, Colo., and into her storage unit, because her roommate situation didn’t work out. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say the apartment would have housed three unrelated people in very close quarters had our friend not moved out. On the outside the building didn’t look bad, but on the inside it looked and felt like a Soviet-bloc era structure. I know, because I’ve been in a few.
The walls were a sickly shade of white. The hallway doors of all the apartments were a ’70s-era turquoise that made me nauseous. The stairway, which we traversed in order to get to the back door entrance and our waiting car was steep and narrow. The bottom of the stairway and its 120-degree turn to the right was the narrowest I’ve ever seen. I’m not the biggest person, but I had to almost turn sideways to get by. I don’t know much about building codes, but I have no idea how that hallway passes its inspection. If it gets inspected at all. The picture I took of it didn’t do the (lack of) depth of the hallway turn justice, so I settled for a photo of the narrow hallway. It seemed like something straight out of a dystopian movie, like the Hunger Games or something.
The day of our moving expedition was a hot one, in the 90s, but the building had no air conditioning. A small fan recycled the apartment’s hot air, so that even before I carried out my first box of kitchen utensils I started sweating. While we trudged down and up, the police arrived to enforce an eviction notice on someone in the building.
All in all, even though our task went off without a hitch, it was a depressing experience. Between the time I stepped off Main Street and into that apartment building I felt as if I entered another world. In a way, I did.