Apartment 93

excerpts (This article is prohibited to my parents, as it may contain: scenes of moderate physical violence, alcohol consumption, conduct which may be easily imitated by said parents, etc.) I think that my first Bohemian period started off in an unsuspecting leave taken by the Popescu's (not to mention pet dog Bonzo), when I was told upon parting: "Look, there are the keys," "We left the money in the cupboard," and "Mind you, God forbid that I hear about some shindig, or else…." The following day, I invited all my recent friends from the seaside whereupon followed a "buddy-buddy" booze hippie-style," or at least I thought it was. Guitars, bargain vodka, balcony philosophizing. Five o'clock in the morning – a chili pepper for everyone next to the left-over sour soup, then, for lack of something else, French fries. The genuine frolic occurred much later, when my family left on another vacation, this time, Bonzo-less, and my responsibility amounted to walking him three times a day, at exact hours. I still cannot imagine where all that trust they placed in me came from! …Spree no. 2 was far more elaborate. Thus, for one fortnight, "open gates" were declared and sundry people (never the same) dropped by. In the midst of the sitting room we pitched a recently bought tent, which gave the impression of a sabbatical. In the kitchen, there was intense cooking, with self-contributed tomatoes and onions. The peke, accustomed to many comforts and habits, especially with his taking-a-leak schedule nobody was observing at that moment, reconciled himself suspiciously fast with the new life style. I suspect that he somewhat enjoyed it: being walked for five minutes at noon when the heat was at its peak, doomed to nibble leftovers of fries, carried on the arms all over the house. He would condone everything with an aristocratic mien, as if the perpetual party had been especially thrown for him. The time during, Olivia would dance in the living room to the music of the Beach Boys with a lampshade on her head. In the kitchen, two would-be directors would listen to Bregovici and gloss on the "recipe" Kusturica had come across for the Eastern Europe film. In the bedroom, a young uninspired prose writer, clattered on the sash, would ponder over leaping from the eighth floor; in the hallway, a couple would kiss to oblivion; in the pantry, there was nobody, I think . Around four, Sorin – the nationalist – made his entrance; nobody was quite certain who had invited him, he carried along a half-emptied bottle of Bihor brandy. After bellowing out "In Vadim lies all our hope" a number of times, he chafed because nobody was paying any attention and ambushed the cassette player of the two kitchen directors to play "the music of the people" he had brought along (Best Greek, Best Yiddish, etc.). After he had danced the hora all by himself and had tippled over his palinka, he was hoisted and carried off to a taxi by the young writer who wasn't suicidal anymore, for she had found a new raison de vivre in fighting against extremes. After Sorin had retreated, somebody charged into the living room, jerking the lampshade off Olivia's head and heralding: there is neither literature, nor culture. Therefore, he grabbed several books from the case – by accident he had grabbed engineering volumes such as "The Principles of Thermodynamics" – and began to throw them into the air, as: "We have to rid ourselves of spurious quotes and metaphors!" From the book, several hundreds of dollars of the Popescus took wing, finally they were picked up and set to rest in another book, of fiction, I believe. I am oblivious of how long this went on, back then, it could have gone on forever. What I know is that it was examination time and I had to take one in Romanian drama. An old hippie made attempts to recount The Rabid Lamb to me, somebody else constantly boiled coffee for me… to be honest, they were taking care of me!… then the Popescus returned, and Bonzo reluctantly resumed his old ways. Now, a sleepless night requires three days to come round, and when somebody tarries at my place past midnight I start ogling the clock apprehensively. I am not sure if what I have experienced long ago was Bohemian pastime or waste of time… anyway, I do not think it matters now! Bonzo, though past his prime and prostate-ridden, still relishes not being walked at exact hours – I have noticed! Excerpted from Dilema, July 4-10,2003

by Adina Popescu