This is what I love about living in an apartment building: The doormen know way too much about my personal life. However, it's an unspoken rule, a don't ask don't tell policy if you will, between tenants and their doormen, that they pretend to not realize when you are coming home at 4 a.m., and you pretend they didn't see.
This is what my doormen know about me: They know I use their desk as my own private Staples. I come to them for inappropriate use of their stapler, tape, possibly a paper clip here and there. Maybe even a band-aid if the need should arise. They also know that I am a mom and I am single. They see both sides of me. They see me taking my son to school each morning and they see me going out on occasion when he is at his dad's, dressed in a very high Louboutin heel and the occasional sequins top. Sometimes, when I am headed out for a night on the town, Nick, my evening doorman will chant, "Party time! Party time!" It's like having a jewish mother in my lobby. Only one that doesn't offer advice. Actually, maybe it's more like a shrink then a mother. One who sits and stares and smiles and you aren't quite sure what they are thinking.
In all my years living here, I have had a gentleman visitor or two.
The doorman will ring me up.
"Colby is here?"
Are you asking me? Telling me? What do you think of Colby? What is that tone in your voice? Are you thinking he is a good match for me? Are you wondering why I am having a guy over?
Obviously I am just thinking this. But I do wonder.
If I could find a rope ladder long enough from my window to the street, I would get one.
"Hi Colby, I know this is an odd request, but is there any chance you can bypass my lobby completely and climb up to my window? It's only 12 floors. Yea. It's easy. Oh yea, if you get blisters on your hand I'll just ask my doorman for a band-aid."
My doormen are essentially a gateway into my life. There is a system my building has in place, as many do these days. When you have a package at the front desk, UPS, Fed Ex, a package from a messenger or a creepy stalker, they send you an email that includes which doorman signed for it, what type of item it is, box, bag, envelope and then lists the sender's name and the time and date it arrived.
For example: Recorded by Mike McCarthy 7/15 at 1:28 pm, One box from shopbop.com.
This is great and sometimes helpful. When I am out and about I get an email on my Blackberry that my package from shopbop has arrived, it means I now have a top to wear to that party later that evening and I can relax and not think about it for another minute.
Sometimes it's exciting: Recorded by Mike McCarthy 12/20 at 5:00 p.m., One box from Amazon.com.
Yes! Bear's 800 piece Star Wars Lego space station has arrived. Oh... I mean... Santa came!
Sometimes it's scary: Recorded by Mike McCarthy 5/03 at 1:28 p.m., One envelope from the IRS.
Yikes, that's never good.
Sometimes it's awkward. Well, not often, but sometimes. Like a few weeks ago: Recorded by Mike McCarthy 10/23 at 3:07 p.m., One USPS postcard from Dr. Gyno.
What? Why is my postcard from my gyno going to my doorman? Now he can not only see that I went to the gyno but find out my test results from my annual pap smear which are sent in a postcard form. They only send normal results by postcard, but still.
I am sitting at work mortified knowing that Mike the doorman knows I had a pap smear and it's normal. I guess that's better than it being abnormal and Mike thinking I had an STD, but... is nothing sacred?
The day I received the aforementioned "postcard" e-mail, I arrive home from work to find a substitute doorman, one I have never seen before. Awkward but better than having to face Mike, who I see every morning.
"Hi, I got an email. I have a postcard here." A postcard that will make you think of my vagina.
I'm sorry, I don't see it. I will call you when I find it.
"No, noooo. don't worry about it. I'll just ask Mike when I see him."
Twenty minutes later my phone rings. It's the doorman I don't know, "Hi, I found your important postcard."
"Thanks. I'll get it later."
For now you can just pin it up in the elevator. I don't want anyone to miss the good news.
I picture one man from the floor below who I always see walking his dog to give me a thumbs up in the elevator. "Hey! Nice results on your pap smear."
"Thanks." I would say. Awkward.
That evening on the way back from the supermarket I finally pick it up from George, the evening doorman, who tells me it's only at the front desk because a tenant found it in their mailbox. Awesome. That makes four more people more than I wanted to know about my healthy vagina. (Well, four people plus everyone that reads this, which is a lot of people). At this point it's basically a chain letter about my vagina. There might even be an entry dedicated to it on snopes.com. I have a brief moment where I think it might be a good idea to xerox the postcard, hand it out in my lobby or slip it under each person's door like a menu with a handwritten note on the back "Hey, just in case you didn't get a chance to see! It's normal!!"
I wonder if this may be a topic at the next Board meeting.
"In other tenant news, Jena had a pap smear and it's normal."
"So noted," the minute keeper would say. One or two people might clap.
Wow. How many times have I used the word vagina in this entry? Vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina... a lot!
Editors note: The word "vagina" was used 10 times in this entry.
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