Falling mortar

15 November 06

A friend of mine and I were forced to hide from rain (because we are so fragile we would melt like sugar) in a building entrance the other day. As we discussed the unseasonal weather and how our, otherwise pleasant, evening in the park was ruined, a large piece of mortar1 fell from the balcony above.

“Jesus H. Christ2, that thing nearly killed us both!”
– my friend exclaimed something rather similar to that expression, as the piece of mortar has in fact nearly killed us both.

Good, obliging, citizens that we are, still heavily shocked by the falling building, we tried to warn the first lady who walked into the building.
“I wouldn’t worry ‘bout it… It only falls when it’s windy, or raining…” – she tried to calm us down.

But we wouldn’t give up. Suddenly, standing out in rain seemed safer than under a “roof”. Still humming BalaÅ¡ević‘s “Ako umrem mlad3“ under our breath, we tried to warn other neighbours too.
“So what!? My pension is so small I wouldn’t mind getting killed by the facade!”
“Oh, yes, I heard about that. Only in Serbia can such a thing go on for years! Gotta run.”
“I don’t live here… permanently.”
“It’s been falling since 1994. I think the new constitution bans falling mortar, doesn’t it?”
“No boys, I have no change to spare… Oh, you are not punks!? The balcony is falling? Ha ha, I hope it falls while that bastard is watering his flowers!”

We walked away silently.

1 Mortar is malter, not the gun thing in this context, my Balkanian readers.

2 Not the expression he used, but you get the point.

3 Lethargic song about death.


  1. bytyqis
    Nov 15, 06:09 AM #

  2. Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Serbia: Hiding From the Rain
    Nov 21, 11:56 PM #

    [...] Dictionary of the Serbian Mess posts a hilarious entry on how sometimes it is safer to get soaked than try to hide from the rain next to those old, crumbling buildings. Veronica Khokhlova [...]
  3. biserka
    Nov 22, 09:19 AM #

    well, I think that kind of thinking is not only Serbian speciality. Maybe the reason is that I am a Serbian.

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