Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the подъезд


i had forgotten
to warn them.
and when jeremy came home
from that first day out
with the real estate broker
saying,
"we saw one apartment that was okay,
but the lobby was heinous,"
i was on the floor rolling.

i should have warned them
that 95% of the apartments here
have "heinous lobbies."
and first of all,
you can't even call it a lobby.
it's a подъезд.
and it's dark,
dank,
old,
dirty,
narrow,
and as all of you
who know the подъезд
can relate
(and smell it now)
it smells.
oh, how it smells.
but that's the way it is here.

buildings were (and are)
state-owned.
people take good care
of their apartments.
but the community entrance/
stairwell?
well, it's lucky to see
a fresh coat of paint
every few years,
and the splish-splash 
of a dirty mop
every few weeks.
you just learn to live with it.

now our apartment
on the other hand,
has a "luxury" подъезд.
what makes it luxury?
it's not dark.
it's a big, wide staircase
leading up to the elevator,
with little metal clips
that used to hold a rug in place.
the tile is the original tile
from 1895.


okay, so it still
is dirty.
there are still 30 coats
of paint on the walls.
there are still wires and pipes
strung from heck to breakfast.
and heaven knows,
it still smells
like a подъезд.
but that tile!!!

6 comments:

Amy said...

Jeremy, your brother? Is he looking for a place there??? or is he with Alex looking for something for you. I am so so curious? and yes, I remember your luxury podvezd, and could never forget my first one in Voronezh. Yikes. puts the slums of boston to shame.

Ann said...

O, yes. The lovely perfume of urine and mold and who knows what else.... I remember well. There's something about it I miss.

Chrissy Johnson said...

From my experience so far, Alaska is the same way. Too much mucky muck from the snow and slush and mud makes its way into the community areas...then pop into the apartments and they're immaculate, except for all the dirty boots in the entry way.

OnGod'sErrand said...

Poland is the same way!!! On our way up the stairs to the chapel in Katowice we had to step over a pile of #%&! It was so gross! Can't believe nobody cares!

Shannon said...

aahhh...the memories come flooding back. those luxury "lobbies" lol

Davian said...

ah, the tile of my dreams. it always seems to be in that kind of setting, though, doesn't it?