Moving into a flat with your friends for the first time is something you can be nothing, but excited about. But the reality of life in a flat in one of the run-down Medway towns soon hit student Alexandra Falcsik.
When we chose the house, its location was an important factor. After careful consideration, we clearly made a good decision: only a two minute walk from the Gillingham weed corner, five minutes from where all the stabbings happen and you might have to walk down to the other end of the High Street, but it shouldn’t take more than seven minutes to get in a gang fight if that’s what you fancy on a Friday night.
Luckily, I have huge windows with a view to the street, so I never miss the latest episodes of “What is being dumped in Saxton Street today?”. The first time I actually witnessed someone dropping a Doritos bag as casually as I drop my dirty clothes on the floor in the middle of my room, I was shocked. After three months, I’m not even surprised to see a TV screen on the pavement. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I’m pretty sure someone thought watching a horror movie would be more authentic out in the wild in Gillingham. The reason the TV was left there after the movie night is because witnessing the live events of Gillingham was more effective than the movie. Even during the day, who would want to watch TV, when you can just look out the window and wonder why a guy is brushing his teeth while walking back and forth at 12.30 on a Thursday.
All of this, you can do either from your baking-hot room, or the freezing living room. Isn’t it great, how you can feel like you’re in Malaysia one minute and then teleport to Poland taking a step out of your room. (No, it’s not because of my housemates, I’m still talking about the room temperatures). But I’m not complaining!! I love the variety! In the first three weeks we had no choice, it was below 14 degrees everywhere in the house. I told my parents about it and they sent me two jumpers for my birthday. A month later. I really appreciated the gifts, but I think the temperature can’t possible go below 25 degrees in my room anymore.
Talking to a friend yesterday, I’ve only just realised why the shower is ice cold. It makes perfect sense now. He told me about this whole sauna business. I never got it, but apparently some people love spending ages in the sauna and then quickly dive into ice cold water. “It’s very refreshing,” he said. Hell yeah. It’s not like I’ve come home from training multiple times being close to shedding some tears… (In the end, I decided it would be wiser not to, because I had this whole image in my head with the tears freezing on my eyelashes so badly that I can’t open my eyes ever again). Anyway, at least I’m feeling refreshed ALL THE DAMN TIME. It is really considerate of the agency to provide these wellness opportunities at home for me, but I called them a few times saying I do not want the luxury. And this is how “Matty the plumber” comes into the picture.
Me and Matty are basically best friends. He’s spending his holidays in Germany now to see the Christmas markets, because he finished all his Christmas shopping last Tuesday. He always asks for my advice. He values my opinion, because he relies me on whether I think the issue is with the boiler or the showers itself, and if I think he should change the showerheads, he will do it for me. But that’s not the point. I think he should start paying rent, considering he spends more time in the house than me and uses more hot water than me. I don’t know if every plumber does, but I swear he has some sort of superpower. Whenever he’s here to fix the problem, the water is scorching hot. I would ask him to stay around while I have a shower, but that would surely be a bit weird. I think he can also teleport just by making a phone call. At least, the last time he said he’d make a phone call he never returned. Some black magic there.
He’s not the only extra tenant we have. Jerry also decides to say 'hi' sometimes. He’s a bit shy. He doesn’t like peanut butter or Digestives and prefers to stay in the empty space under the desk and drawers. Maybe it’s the mouse traps everywhere that makes him feel unwelcome. Screaming is usually how we greet him. It is a great house-bonding activity trying to catch him. We always have pre-agreed positions, like in a football team: Shinissa is an expert at pretending to actually try and move the drawers, Madi is the photographer, she makes sure Jerry is still there striking the right poses at the right time, while Wiktoria and I refuse to get off the bed, but we give good advice. Hans is probably the MVP of the squad. Unlike Matty, me and Jerry do not get on well. He's never made a visit to my room, which is also the reason he’s still alive, but a bit rude.
Next to these minor inconveniences, the washing machine flooding the living room isn’t even worth a mention.