It is unbelievable safe and quiet, possibly even boringly so, in stark contrast to my last neighborhood, which was not really unsafe but definitely unquiet. Most of my neighbors were Hispanics who worked hard during the week and partied on the weekends. Some of them kept chickens and one notable one dealt drugs out of his car in the parking lot of the apartment complex next door. Chickens and parties make noise, but I didn't mind it; the music playing and the roosters crowing reminded me of being in Mexico. The drug-dealing was quiet, but it brought a variety of interesting-looking characters to the block.
Now almost all of my neighbors are old and white, although my immediate next-door neighbor is old and black. Sometimes an ambulance comes and takes one of them away, but that is the only time noise is made on their account. They don't party and if they want drugs, they patiently wait at Walgreen's for them.
Chickens are not permitted by the HOA.
But I am adjusting. Sometimes it's easy. I no longer have to explain to a drug dealer's overflow customers that they cannot park in my spot while they wait for him, which they always wanted to do in my old hood, because that drug dealer gave really good personal service, meaning he usually consumed some drugs with each and every one of his clients. His transactions could get backed-up on account of that.
But the biggest adjustment to my new place is having a someone who cleans the house. My girl has always had someone to help her keep her place spotless and I never have, always preferring the cheaper alternative of living in layers of caked-on filth. Now I have one, and she is a torrent of free-flowing cleanliness. This is inconvenient at times. I have always regarded any horizontal surface as an available storage area. Anything I happen to be carrying in my hand or hands may be deposited anywhere, if I wish to free myself from it, and frantically looked for later. This is my system, and I am used to it. Successfully re-acquiring items like wallets, car keys, birth certificates, etc., that I have absent-mindedly left on the microwave, the bookshelves or in the yard often gives me a sense of accomplishment. I know this is a false sense of accomplishment, but I enjoy it anyway.
Our cleaning person does not tolerate my clutter, and she does not tolerate it in the sense that Stalin did not tolerate diversity of opinion. She sweeps it all into the Gulag of shelves and drawers she reserves for abandoned items, leaving all the tables and counters completely clean and scoured of disorder, as if they had been hit by an obsessive-compulsive gamma-ray burst from a nearby neutron star. After she leaves, which is every Tuesday afternoon, I need to dig all of my daily stuff out of the dark corners she has secreted it in and scatter it haphazardly around the condo again in order to restore my kind of order.
Sometimes important things cannot be found for days. It always turns up, because our cleaning pro never discards anything. She just knows where it belongs, and you don't.
In the house where I was raised, my mother only hired help if someone was getting married or buried, maybe four times total in the years I lived there, and she always cleaned it spotlessly herself before the the cleaners showed up. Even though I knew this didn't make any sense, I must have inherited this self-consciousness from her, because when I first moved in here, I usually at least cleaned the kitchen and ran the dishwasher before our professional showed up. This turned out badly, since once freed from some of her regular run of chores, she started reorganizing the entire household. Whole shelves of ancient, comfortable clutter began to disappear, only to turn up in boxes in the garage. Books that had moldered on end tables for a lifetime were banished to the same space.
My girl inherited a large hutch with three drawers. Enough leftover crap was found somewhere to fill it in two visits.
We couldn't find a damn thing. So now I let the dishes pile high and dump towels on the floor every Tuesday. I don't like having to do this. It makes me feel like a spoiled member of the bourgeoisie and disturbs my sense of basic egalitarianism even more than having someone clean up after me in the first place does.
But it's the best thing for all concerned.