I live in an apartment building in Soviet Russia. The building is drafty and reminds me of my time in a gulag I have never been to. Instead of the smell of steaks in passageways, I tend to be assaulted by the smell of boiling cabbage and raw onions. Languages I hear on a daily basis include, but are not perhaps limited to, Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, and Romanian. Of course the Lithuanian and Romanian might just be Russian with a different dialect. I would feel like Dostoevsky if I were actually writing something interesting. If I had the strange tension between pride and desire – if I asked for an advance on my salary in order to buy a poorly made fur-trimmed cloak in order to impress a certain man and thereby raise my status- if I believed that another kopeck or two is all that stands between me and a life of love and leisure- if I thought that by killing someone as an expression of freedom I could change the world- if I knew that the guilt of any such action would be so crushing that it would destroy me- well then I might get somewhere. No where happy though.
As it is this apartment/compartment building does very little to keep things apart. The walls are thin and smells of cheap cigarettes and sounds of plumbing and words in different languages crawl under my door and curl up around my pallet and sing me to sleep. The line on the flagpole outside sounds like a caveman beating two bones together. It makes me feel uncomfortable, primitive and superstitious. I feel like I am in some sort of experiment in diffusion and osmosis. That one day, I too, will boil cabbage and have raw onions. One day I might beat two bones together merely because I can. Without thought or goal. Stuck in the gulag.