Not all of us have balconies here at FEC. Some of us make do with the
terrace that strives for urban greenery. We grow things. The
gardeners are a clique unto themselves. As yet, the organic offshoot
has not won approval (chain of command, you remember) for a
compost heap nor a honey bee colony, but these things have an
insidious way of germinating. The gardeners continue a clandestine
war with the break-away bird-feeding faction who won't acknowledge
the toxicity of poop splats on the tomatoes. Bird-feeding stations
are silently removed overnight only to reappear the next day.
It's one thing to have your own balcony, but sharing the
roof terrace with a host of
impoverished artistes encourages more words of caution from
management. The Inmates Committee (IC) has no control whatsoever over
directives from management, a higher level of authority. Under our
doors come the notices:
It has come to our attention ...
"Vegetables are product of individual gardeners and not taken without permission."
"Pets have been digging in gardens; pets are not allowed."
"Removal of roof terrace furniture is considered theft. Please replace."
"Govern yourself accordingly."
... and so on.
Sandor, the harried but conscientious superintendent, patrols the gardens when he can. He is on a lower level in the chain of command because he reports infractions to the onsite manager who cleans up his grammar to compose the stern notices. Two things move Sandor to the depths of his soul. He is totally sympatico with this relatively peaceful oasis in the sky and feels a powerful destiny in its custodianship. He feels compelled to share that powerful destiny with anyone at the drop of a
butt hat. The
second is anything or anyone who messes with destiny. Woe to those
who litter their cigarette butts or misplace the barbecue tools or
leave empty soil bags flapping around. Coming from a faraway country,
his inability to articulate adequately in English usually winds him
up into a red-faced fury.
We do love him. You can see why none of us have the heart to tell him about noisy late-night karaoke parties al fresco or midnight quasi-domestic arguments that echo and bounce around the balconies and into windows. Sandor would be on it like white on rice. And risk a coronary. Whereas, if rumours are true, he sleeps well every night with a bottle of Pálinka. And so should we all.
Now if one does have a private balcony, one is likewise under some restrictions about can and cannot.
"Balconies are not to be used as storage space."
"Barbecues on balconies to be removed immediately; CITY BYLAW!"
"Nudity will not be tolerated."
The onsite manager is very stern.
inhabitant managed to blow up his forbidden barbecue early on,
blackening a number of surrounding balconies besides his own. This
sorry incident placed FEC on the Watch List of our uncompromising
local fire department squad, initiating a long and chaotic history
with them. A huge flurry of cautions and notices all 'round that
About the nude sunbathing. Not necessarily a standard occurrence, but occasionally instructive if you have
field opera glasses. Despite the manager's
dictum, the FEC famdamily is duly tolerant of personal quirks because
entertainers' lives frequently include a healthy dose of
eccentricity. You can't
always trust what you see, anyway. That lonely TV newscaster/dreamy
matinee idol who retired here? Never to be seen once he packs it in
for the day and closes the door to his abode. Instead, a gorgeous
woman can be seen enjoying the evening air on his/her balcony. We had
to explain it to Sally who is still somewhere in the 1940s.
Feckless summer days in the life ...