HAVANA TIMES – In a multi-family apartment building with thin walls, you share all kinds of noises, the flush of a toilet, moans of love and, of course, conversations, especially when voices are raised.
This week, something unusual happened in my building: my neighbor’s apartment, which is normally calm, became a madhouse. Her son’s arrival was always a reason to celebrate for the entire family, but this time, the normal celebration became a real racket, as people in the country say, because of hot dogs (sausages) making an appearance in our ration booklets.
My neighbor’s family dispute was over the sale of packets of hot dogs at the butchers’. Well, my neighbor’s son had no idea and he prepared a bread roll with two hot dogs each for his wife, his daughter and himself.
In Cuba, most young males are clueless about the situation of food items and delegate shopping duty to their wives or mothers. In Matanzas province, where the son lives, sausages still aren’t being sold via the ration booklet, plus it had been a long time since they were even sold at hard-currency stores.
When my neighbor arrived home, she began to scream bloody murder. In a family home with five members, you only get two packets of 10 sausages, that’s to say, four sausages per person.
The argument brought this matter to the rest of the neighbors in the building’s attention, while the kids began to sing in chorus: you get four, four sausages per person!
Of course, passers-by couldn’t have imagined that that hullabaloo had anything to do with naughty sausages, which had enjoyed so many years of freedom in our stores and now only come back to the butchers’ every three months, as a rationed item controlled with our booklet.