I’m not dead, I’ve merely moved to Krowodrza. It’s similar to being dead, but the rents are higher and Internet access is less reliable. Although I am now just a few tens of metres beyond Aleje, this is enough to make me a suburban person. Us suburban people do not have access to 24-hours shops and are low on the list of priorities for Internet service providers. Netia promised to connect us within a month, but all they’ve managed to do so far is send round a Laurel and Hardy duo to cluck in a sceptical manner at the socket in my wall. Actually that’s not quite true, they also provided me with a mobile internet dongle that gives me a whole gigabyte of data transfer to lavish on a month of Internet use; putting this post up will probably eat half of it. Imagine what it would be like to be pleasantly surprised by customer service here, just once.
We were seduced by a New Building. After three years of living in a hundred-year-old kamienica in a flat with the kind of spiral staircase specifically outlawed by the Geneva Convention and average winter temperatures to rival Kamchatka we fell irretrievably in lust with a 50-square-metre-square pad with a balcony. I was always of the opinion that, if I was going to live in Krakow, I should be able to look out of my window and know I was in Krakow. Now I step onto my palatial balcony and look out on a scene that could well be Birmingham. I make myself feel better by fleeing into what seems like a vast kitchen and cooking scones.
The New Building is the acme of Polish urban ambition. It has an awful lot to recommend it. There are two lifts, one of which is large enough to take bikes, everybody has a balcony big enough to host ballroom dancing, and the heating comes on at October 1st sharp and will probably have us opening windows in February. People are far too polite, it’s as if we’re all permanently at a school open day where everybody says “Dzien dobry” and holds doors open all the time. The hardest thing to get used to is the guy on the door. He’s not there all the time, and I’m not really sure what his job is, but he wears a uniform and looks you up and down disapprovingly every evening. I think he’s supposed to be the building’s conscience.
Eventually I will get used to this strangeness and return to my habitual insightfulness.