Wednesday, March 03, 2004


I have been thinking about my doormen a great deal.

I imagine that life is not so easy when it is your job to open doors for people that are going places while paradoxically, you are stuck in a hallway, wearing a uniform. The people come and go. You are left there to wonder where they are going.

Recently I have noticed how the inhabitants of my building treat them. I focus a great deal on their human interaction. Some people say "hello." Some ignore them. Some sheepishly walk by knowing that they do not deserve to have someone open the door for them. Some ask a question and actually wait for the answer.

I just spoke to Harry. He is working the 11PM-7AM shift. He told me his name is "Hadjar" in Albanian which means "Lion." I told him that. coincidentally, my name in Hebrew means "Lion." Harry laughed in his distinct modest laugh that begs not to disturb. What a small world, he said.
Indeed. Indeed.
I left him and said, "good night." He said, good night, sir.
I feel silly when he says that. When I was little, I had a hard time calling my parents' friends by their first names. Still do.
But he knows that some people are so petty that they would complain if they did not get the respect that they secretly coveted. I wonder some times how he came from Albania with a law degree to find that his law degree was now only worth the paper it was printed on...if that much. Asa is the door man on Saturday night. He once told me that he was an economist in Albania. His wife was a dentist. Now he is a doorman and she--his wife--is going back to school.

I notice people walking in and out of the building without saying a word to Asa, to Harry. It's quite possible that those people are lawyers and dentists and economists. If only they knew how much they had in common with their doormen...

I'm not sure why interaction has been on my mind so much recently. Maybe it's because we live in a time when so little of it is happening. I sometimes think about what my life would have been like if I had not had a conversation with so-and-so. Everything would be so completely different. It's a pretty incredible concept to grasp--a few sentences that you say can change the course of someone's life forever. Dramatic? Perhaps. Accurate? Very much so.

It's been a little over a year since I have begun this blog. I cannot begin to tell you how meaningful it is to me when people write and give me criticism and feedback. Heck, the fact that people read just blows my mind. But every time I get an email, I fall just a little bit in love with everything. I can't believe how time has passed, how much babble I've contributed to the web. And every day, I still feel progressively more insecure about what I am doing, about my writing. I don't know if it's right or if I am good or many "ifs." But you make me feel better about it.

I was talking to Harry before about how hard it is to be a doorman. He said, though, that people like me made it easier.
I blushed. I was flattered.
He told me that I actually spoke to him, had real conversations with him that surpassed the superficial.
And at that moment, it struck me that there are so many miserable people in life who would be better off if they had just said hello to Harry.


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