A collection of ordinary people’s memories of socialist times.
We are three sisters
The oldest one is called Borba (Fight).
The middle one is called Pobeda (Victory)
The youngest one – Viara (Faith).
We were born during the socialism.
You can really feel.
Borba Georgieva Brymbashka, 50 years old, doctor, Tarnava village
The robot- bath attendant
When I was a child I spent my vacations in Kazanlik, at my granparents’ house. We went to the city bath that was built next to the old Turkish bath. There were five or six Roma bath attendants who moldy from the dampness took care of the hygiene of the population. We gave them our tickets they stuck them on the wall behind and called us when it was our turn. After that thoroughly, until it started hurting they rubbed our backs. At the end they stuck the used ticket on a nail and called the next person.
One summer in the beginning of the 70-ties I went there for vacation and I was surprised by something new in the steaming, resounding bath. The bath attendants were still sitting there next to each other in front of their basins with the not finishing tickets behind. But there was a robot - bath attendant in front of them. It was made by shining, non-corrosive metal and had two hands – in one of them you should put the peeling glove and in the other one the sponge. While in front of the bath attendants there were a queue of clients and you could hear splashes and shouts for the next number, it was empty around the robot - bath attendant. In my child imagination it seemed like an inquisition device and only the sign saying that you should put yourself the peeling glove and the sponge on its hands could tell that this is a bath device.
For all the time the robot stayed in the bath (two years, I guess) I couldn’t see anyone in its “arms”. I thought that there were no people brave enough to try its strong rubbing. It turned out that there were. But the robot didn’t rub as strong as the real bath attendants. And there was no effect on the pores.
Long after the people stopped noticing it, the robot disappeared. I guess it was some kind of a “rationalization” born in someone’s engineer mind in the Kazanlik fabric “Hidravlika”. The robot couldn’t steal the clients of the bath attendants. With its nice absurdity and quiet, passive death it seemed like the last sign of that will for life modernization that 20 years ago, in the 50-ties, would form in front of itself all the people going to a bath together with the bath attendants.