I just looked at a brand-spanking new condo, which came complete with a range of desirable features:
• pristine countertops
• unblemished woodwork
• gleaming bathroom fixtures
• air conditioning that doesn’t drown out the TV
• bathroom tile that doesn’t look like it was stained with the blood of the innocents
And now I find myself looking at my four-year-old condo with a marked level of disdain and resentment, because its amenities would have a hard time finding their way into a glowing multiples listing:
• smudgy walls
• mousy-blah countertops with stubborn stains
• slightly spotty carpets
• a selection of dusty fingerprints
• not enough room for 40 pair of shoes
And I have a bad case of cleanness envy.
It’s not helping that the new condo's cleanness is bigger than mine, with higher ceilings and more square footage.
But my cleanness, for all its shortcomings, does have better water pressure. And at 24 stories up, it definitely has a better view. But damn, the thing gets dusty—especially since it’s so old.
Two weeks ago at my friend Bill’s going-away party, I took one look at the host’s deck and felt immediately inadequate. His deck was HUGE and totally tricked out with nice chairs and a grill and even a tent canopy. Best of all, it was shaded by big tufts of mature trees and it provided beautiful views of the city. Then a few days later I was at a co-worker’s condo for a client barbecue—and HIS deck was not only as big as my whole condo, but it offered breathtaking views of the city. He definitely had the biggest deck by far, and it even had upholstered furniture and little tufts of grass growing in square pots to make it seem less overwhelming.
I have a deck, too, but it’s one my whole building uses. It’s nice and big—and very sturdy—but when so many people have been on it, you never know how clean it is. I hardly ever use it.
Besides, with big decks come big bills. And while I think my bills are pretty huge, I can’t even imagine how big the bills are that come saddled to those guys’ big decks. I’d think I’d have a hard time enjoying my big deck if I had huge bills weighing me down. Even if I had friends over to sit on my big deck on a sunny afternoon, the weight of those bills could really undermine my enjoyment.
Fortunately, a man cannot be defined solely by extent of his cleanness, the size of his deck or the weight of his bills. (I’d brag about how much escrow I have built up, but I’m handling my own escrow because I don’t trust where the banks would put it. Besides, I don’t want to sound vulgar.)