“Someone was kicking my bedroom door: I woke up with a jolt. It was four in the morning. Two guys holding bottles of vodka insisted we got to know each other. Their room was at the end of the corridor. On the way we bumped into an old woman, the one who can never get to sleep. With a wave of her hand she seemed to say don’t worry, I keep watch day and night. After two or three hours of more or less disjointed conversation, I left my neighbours room and went to get breakfast ready in the communal kitchen. I started to cook an omelette on one of the gas cookers; suddenly I realized it was the wrong one I was using. Here, everyone is supposed to use their own things: teatowels, towels, knives and forks, pans, even your own toilet seat. In the Kommounalki , apart from the flat, nothing is communal, nothing is shared. And woe betide anyone who, like me, uses a neighbour’s stove. With one of the residents, a woman of 65 in a pink flowered apron and scruffy slippers, staring angrily at me, I hastily moved my frying pan onto the right stove." From Kommunalki, published by Actes Sud.
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