Our doorman, John, wants an exercise bike for the lobby. I can imagine him on the bike, next to the sign that reads, “All Guests Must Be Announced.” Instead of greeting me, he would be riding the bike. Instead of buzzing the intercoms, the wheels would be churning and the perspiration on his brow would shine. Gray sweats would replace his doorman uniform.
If you say the word “mail” to our doorman, David, he flinches. When I’m mad at him, just to annoy him, I say, “Is the mail in?” He won’t let me get near the mailboxes if the mail isn’t in. “Snotinyet,” he’ll shout out quickly, to stop me. Sometimes he watches from the corner of his eye, looking up from his crossword puzzle, to catch me before making a move to the mailboxes. A few times I’ve gotten to the box before he was able to say, “snotinyet.”
Our doorman substitute, Rodrigo, who usually collects garbage, is so large he almost doesn’t fit into his royal blue uniform. He has a head of bushy black hair and a big mustache. He doesn’t say hello to anyone. When I pass by him and say, “Hello,” he just stares back. After two years, he still doesn’t know I live in the building. “May I help you?” his voice booms out as I walk into the lobby. “I live here,” I say.
I had a fight with the doorman-in-training from Spain. He wouldn’t let the Chinese food delivery boy up on the elevator. I told him over the intercom that the other doormen would have let him up. When I got down to the lobby, he told me again, “Delivery boys can’t go up. You have to come down.” I told him not to worry about it and he was miffed.
When a friend came and asked for me, our oldest doorman, Chester, said he didn’t know who I was. My friend went to wait at the restaurant next door. When I found her, she was angry. We went back to the apartment and after introducing her, I said to Chester, “Now you know who my friend is and you remember me, I hope.” Chester scowled at my friend. My friend scowled back at him.
These doormen all need something to perk up their lives. Perhaps doorman contests or raffles held by the tenants? Maybe they should play hopscotch in front of the building. What harm would there be in doormen drawing on the cement with chalk? Or perhaps they need to desert their doorman demeanor and their posts and jog together to Central Park, a mighty herd of doormen running away in doorman abandon.