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  • She's French, I know, I heard her the other day. She lives on the third floor, opposite building.

    It's a quiet, hot Friday afternoon in Athens. Summer set in abruptly a week ago. It's hot. I should be at work, but... It's too hot, and... There are elections on Sunday, and in Greece, a month before elections, everything stops working. So this week I stopped too. I'm sitting here on the balcony with A., sipping coffee.

    Then we heard it. A small sigh in the beginning. Then it became louder. It's from the open window of the third floor, opposite building. It builds up, then stops.

    That's what Athens sounded like in the summer, the old days, before air conditioning. You could hear all the people making love, at night, in the afternoon; some wildly, some shyly, sighs or voices. A whole hidden world, revealed to our ears only. You would get to know your neighbours in a strange way, and they would know you most intimately. I remember this couple living a floor below me, hitting it almost every night. Hell if she was loud.... And I would meet her everyday in the stairs, exchanging for a year a cold "hello"...

    Then air conditioning came. Windows closed. We didn't notice it in the beginning. Then, one day, you realize it's gone. You don't hear voices any more. People shut themselves in their world. The sound of the city was altered.

    It is my cynical hope that, with the crisis, soon people won't be able to afford the electricity bill of A/C. Windows will open, and we'll start hearing the sighs and the voices again, reminding us sometimes at the most unexpected moment that some people are having fun right now, that some people are making love.

    It's now round two in the opposite building. I'm smiling. "This is Athens, this is how this city should sound", I think.

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