Wow, in my trials, I have discovered that white middle-aged and elderly people are really really not into being asked who they are here to see when you open your front door and greet them in the vestibule with the question. We’ve had multiple thefts in our building in the past two months, and subsequently received several letters from the board requesting that we ask strangers who they are visiting at the door before letting them in. Ouch. This might be code for “grill all brown people who aren’t dressed to the nines” and I’m not into it, but because there have been all these thefts, and honestly I think I unknowingly let this guy in once who wound up relentlessly stealing from the building (according to video footage), I’ve reluctantly decided that i will agree to grill…but everyone and in equal measure.
This sucks though. I hated it when I used to be grilled for looking like a derelict. For years, nobody recognized Spencer and me when they opened that fuckin door and we were basically instructed to show our papers and wear gold stars strapped to our arms next time, just because we obviously don’t bathe frequently and have English-type teeth, and because we don’t wear beige fleece vests, poofy stupid cotton scarves with herringbone patterns draped around how goitry necks in a sort of tortured this-will-look-like-I-tried manner, and Tevas with tube socks, because the keys to Subarus aren’t sticking out of our back pockets, we’ve been carded at the door…I’ve had doors slammed in my face, I work very hard at being nice to every schmuck who lives in my building, helping people with heavy packages (the more annoying the resident, the heavier are their bags of seventy white linen candles from West Elm. I smile toothfully at their forlorn children, I’m all jazz hands and gingivitis for these children as they weep for lost legos and fallen fig newtons. I work hard to keep my horror tucked away, but it’s always trying to hammer its way out of the closet and into the lobby.
And so when i ask a seventy year old Jewish lady with a cup of Connecticut Muffin coffee who she intends to see, and she tells me to go fuck myself, i take barely appropriately articulated exception…and it so happens that the annoying resident she was intending to see is Barbara with the neon pink off-gassing yoga mat, Barbara with the bursitis, Barbara with the bad breath, with the the whining upon leaving the building about every impending weather system she might encounter: If it’s muggy, my thumb starts throbbing, they said sun later but this antibiotic makes me photosensitive, they said clouds but my D3 is in the gutter, I hate the way the sleet feels against my fungal infection, Barbara had JUST complained at the annual shareholders meeting that every stranger should be grilled because of all of these illegal airbnb guests, and that same Barbara later chews me out for grilling Connecticut Muffin at the door, so I call her a racist, she calls me arrogant, I laugh arrogantly, she trips on the freshly waxed terrazzo, I help her up, she grudgingly thanks me, and the super’s unattended dog pees beneath the mailboxes.
Photograph by the brilliant Erin Albrecht. The header photograph at top is a signature Erin Albrecht image. Words cannot express how much I adore this woman and her output. Lots of her stuff is this unique blend of ironic and utterly forthright, and the blend is really clarifying/gist-defining.