The Elevator Conversation


When I look out the window, I become green with envy at friends and acquaintances visiting places with temperatures hovering way above the freezing mark.  Each year, I vowed to be somewhere warm in February.  Each year, I remain standing here and looking at this.  With vapors coming out of every smokestack, it is a clear indication that it’s cold out there.

Then I started thinking about the weather and it’s significance in our daily lives whether we love it or hate it.  An important role in being a general conversation starter, it especially helps in an awkward moment of silence in an elevator.

I live on the 17th floor of a condo highrise.  Most cases, we travel solo.  But then there are those moments when you have to share with a neighbor that you hardly know or see.  The first thing out of anyone’s mouth is the weather.   By the time we finish discussing the pros and cons of the current weather conditions, we’ve reached our floor destination.

It’s not like you would bring up the subject and someone would give you a look like, “I don’t know what you mean.  I have no experience in that.”  Even my four-year grandson can engage in the conversation.   With no political, religious, financial or sporting affiliation, it doesn’t have to reveal anything personal about yourself.   It can lead to a wide range of other related subjects.  “Going somewhere warm this winter.”  “Nice weekend to go up to the lake.”  “Time to get those snow tires on.”

Where I live, the weather changes daily so the subject can never become a repetitive description.

The weather.  As much as I hate it during this time of year, it comes in handy in the elevator.

The Fear of Downsizing



A panoramic view of our former residence reflects a small portion of the expanse of the 1300 plus square feet living space.  When we made the decision to downsize and purchase a 800 square foot condo, I can tell by the look in people’s eyes, “Are you nuts?”.  Many times I had that same thought go through my head during the two years of waiting for my new condo to be built.  The fact that my future home was clearly visible from my living-room window, didn’t help this feeling.  It was a daily reminder of questioning whether we made the right decision.

Where did this belief that the bigger things are, the better we are?  From meal portions to home living, there is this stigma that the more we have or get, the more successful we are.  I’m just as guilty as everyone else.  Writing reviews in Tripadvisor, I would make mention of the restaurant’s “generous” portion sizes or the hotel room was “spacious”.

After our initial walk through of our new home, my first feeling was “It’s small.”  However, we knew that if we didn’t try living there, we would never know.

We had to change our mindset.   We had to sell all our oversized furniture.  We had to get rid of all our knickknacks.  We had to get rid of all the extra stuff we kept because “just in case we need it.”  Do you really need 20 wineglasses?

After all that was said and done, this built up fear dissolved.  I became a better person by not wanting or needing things.   I became more practical.  The second bedroom became our TV/Livingroom instead of a storage room for all those things we kept but never used.  We no longer have a formal diningroom which was only used a few times a year.  Holiday dinners will now be spent at a local eatery.  Our office now resides in our livingroom which is where I spent most of my time anyways.  All that extra room made me store all that extra stuff which ended up being an anchor that kept me from making a change.

It reminds me of the time when everything I owned could fit in a small suitcase.  I remember feeling free and content then.  Now, I know I won’t be able to fit everything in a small suitcase, but I’m sure feeling free and content.