Trading places

By Openthedoor-man  | January 25, 2010 - 6:08AM

When you're confined to a small space for a certain amount of hours, one is able to reflect sometimes and imagine what life would be like if some things were different.

As I stand near the doors to the building looking out at the world, I see guests who are visiting, deliveries being made to an apartment, workers like contractors and plumbers, and the actual individuals who reside in the building… doctors, lawyers, editors, actors/actresses, architects, teachers, artists. There are also the financial Wall Street whiz kids, and the corporate types who always dress in suits.

I see these people every day, either leaving or coming home from work, and I greet them as usual.

We'll exchange formalities, ask each other "How's it going?" or maybe engage in light conversation about little things like the weather. After such brief encounters, life continues for both this person and myself.

They enter the elevator and go up to their apartment. I remain in the lobby, still a doorman, and still performing my duties that can weigh heavily, always doing something for others.

I cannot help it if sometimes I let my mind drift and wonder what it would be like to live in some of the residents’ shoes. What it would feel like to have “Dr.” in front of my name, or to be called by my last name starting with Mr. So-and-So, instead of by my first name.

I'll imagine how it feels to wear expensive designer suits everyday like it was nothing. The likes of Polo Ralph Lauren or an Armani tailored suit on my body, and maybe a dashing pair of John Lobb shoes direct from London on my feet. All of this just to go to work somewhere instead of an occasional wedding.

It would surely feel nice to make a dent in my credit card bills every month instead of just sending out a minimum payment. To go on vacation every year and visit different exotic locales. To be able to afford a luxurious car and park it in a garage, where it may sit there without being started for days on end.

But I'm “just” a doorman, and someone is coming.

I snap out of my daze and open the door. This particular person has something in the package closet which I give to them.

"Great game last night," I say. They agree. As a matter of fact they were there, in box seats. Then they walk into the elevator, and as the doors close I think about what they just said.

It’s back to imagining being at the games, any games of any particular sport. The fact that I'm able to afford season tickets and it doesn't affect me economically one bit is absolutely fabulous. I'll think about what I would eat tonight. If last night was Thai, maybe tonight I can order Mexican? Tomorrow I'll probably order from the steakhouse that just opened up the block. The New York strip is delectable and only costs about $35. I can afford it though--I have it like that.

I sometimes think about what I’d be like if I lived in a doorman building.

I imagine coming home and having the door opened for me. The staff is all right. They can be a bit lackadaisical, but we're all human. For the most part, I tend to not be a stickler for the rules, but I will get on someone's case if something isn't corrected, especially if I've politely asked more than once.

But me, I'm just a doorman.

Better yet, I'm a particular doorman that belongs to a particular resident. That's how they make it seem sometimes. I hear comments like "Oh, this is my doorman" and "Just leave the package with my doorman" or maybe "I'll let my doorman know.” No name given to the doorman to whomever they were talking to, just plain my doorman.

For a split second I'll think like some of these people, and as someone approaches the door, I don't open it. Why? It’s only a deliveryman. They don't live here, they're just delivering something to the building.

Then as they walk into the elevator, I say to myself, “You’re not like that. You don’t behave in that fashion.” I’m supposed to extend my services to all kinds of people. When this person comes back down, I walk over to the door and open it for them, even though they are just a deliveryman. That's more like it because that's the person I am.

In the end, I'm still a doorman. But you know what? I've enjoyed being a doorman, and like any job you take the good with the bad. For some who test you regularly, there are those people who are truly genuine.

It’s those relationships that make the title doorman worthwhile. I may be envious, but the truth is everyone has room for potential. In my case, I choose to believe that I am not a doorman who chooses to write about my experiences, but a writer who is currently employed as a doorman.

With that said, my heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to all those families right now dealing with the devastating catastrophe that has fallen on the country of Haiti. While many people fuss and nitpick about their daily problems, disasters like the one in Haiti and all over the world put certain things into perspective.

I look at my life and I am grateful for what I have and who I am, and that right now is a lot.

Other posts by Openthedoor-man:

The staff is talking about you


The care and feeding of a board member

Yes, Virginia, we keep lists too


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