I still walk the corridors. There are 250 residents in the Towers, and I don’t think I’ll be able to check out all these doors, but in the meantime I continue looking at them and, in the process, my curiosity is aroused more and more.
It’s around 11 o’clock in the morning and many people are out of the building. The usual destinations are the supermarket, various doctors and clinics, and if all is well a meeting with friends in a café for coffee and cake and a bit of gossip about the neighbors in the Towers. Many residents are down at the swimming pool or in the gym.
Elderly people have to use the energy which the early morning brings.
I’ve arrived on the floor which I’ve chosen for to-day’s assignment and I am not surprised to find most of the doors closed and silent. Life returns to the Towers at midday usually, when it’s time for lunch.
I continue on my way and here I find a door which is ajar. I hear some mild swearing in Polish, I think, and I knock discreetly
“Oh it’s so good that you are here, exclaims the lady of the house, I bought this microwave last week, and to-day it won’t work anymore. It’s such a shlepp to take it back to the store, the weather is awful, but I cannot live without this damn microwave!”
(We did, we did, so many years ago…)
I take a look at it. I have the same model at my place.. I walk around it.
“Look, I say to the woman, the thing is not connected! The cord fell to the floor! No electricity, no microwave!”
“Oh, oh, oh, you’re a genius! May God bless you, she ads in Polish, how did you know that? But of course you know everything!!!”
It’s strange that here in these Towers I am never rated right, I am either grossly over-estimated, or badly under-estimated.
I continue walking and I come to another door. I hear thin notes emoting from a flute maybe? But the music is so off key, it cannot be the radio or the TV. Hesitatingly I knock on the door. Did Mrs. Levy decide to learn how to play the flute? This is something I’ve got to find out. I knock on her door. She appears joyously and drags me in.
“So good you are here! My grandson plays the flute beautifully. He comes here especially after school to play for me. It’s Mozart. Sit down and listen!”
Oh my God, what did I do to myself? She pushes me down on a chair and while looking at her enchanted face I am trying to think of a way to escape as soon as possible.
“Don’t go, she protests, you don’t hear an 11 year old play so beautifully every day!”
I continue on my road to discovery. I arrive to a door and reading the name I remember that this lady has entered the Towers only one week ago. Leaving one’s home, moving into such a completely different place usually causes a lot of confusion. New surroundings, limited space, a terrible feeling of disorientation. I remember it so well, how I was standing in the middle of crates and boxes 8 years ago asking myself:
“Where am I? What am I doing here? Where is my piano?”
I knock on the door and the lady, whose name is Lea, stands before me. And yes, she looks completely confused and unhappy.
“Is it possible that whenever I want to take a swim they move the swimming pool to another place? I’ve been looking for it yesterday and to-day as well, but it seems that it is no longer here!
”It is on A3, I tell her, come, I’ll show you!”
This may sound funny maybe, a lady looking for the swimming pool which is no longer there! But believe me, it isn’t funny! When I moved in here so many years ago, a good friend who came here to live a few years before me, drew me a map.
Showing it to me, she explained:
“This is where you live. And now I show you how to get to the dining room, to the gym, to the library and of course to the lobby!’
My sense of orientation being quite bad, getting this map was of great help, and if I remember right, I walked around with it in my hand for over a week until I managed without it.
Quite regrettably this helpful friend is now very ill and has lost contact with the outer world completely.
The most precise map could not help her now.