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Tina Sloan Headshot

Ode To New York City Doormen

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You are sick in the apartment. You can order food and things as desired. Your doorman brings them up. The videos arrive from Couch Potato and up they come. You send them back via the elevator to the doorman. Your newspaper and mail comes. Your garbage is taken away. You never leave and if you do a taxi waits at the door to take you to the doctor. Your next-door neighbor brings soup in the back door.

But it's the doorman who is the most important ingredient to being sick in the city. Besides wishing you Happy Valentine's Day, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, Happy Thanksgiving, discussing ad infinitum sports events, he really worries when you are sick. He knows everyone who comes to your apartment -- for a massage, for instance, if you hurt your shoulder -- and he will engage the masseuse to find out the exact location of the injured muscle, he delivers the roses on your anniversaries and knows how many you've had. His information, since he handles the mail, is intimate. He knows how many parties you go to, how many bottles were left outside in the garbage, he knows who stayed last and who spent the night. He knows how late your children are out and in what condition they return. His smile when your run has been longer than usual applauds your determination. He knows you are on a diet by the food that arrives -- pizzas replaced by salads and remarks you look thinner.

When he puts up the Christmas tree, he notices your new paint job and mentions it was his cousin who spent the last months delivering your apartment its new look. There is nothing "he" does not know. He, of course, is several men who all pass on their knowledge to each other and have probably dated your au pair or know your maid very well, so even your towel monograms are no secret.

To really think about this would devastate the tenant. I mean he sees you go out with no makeup to the hairdresser and return blonded, polished, painted. I sometimes think they know my legs were waxed.

A mouse in the apartment -- you call the doorman to set a trap. Everyone knows about the mouse -- are you sloppy -- why your apartment? Why was the trap set with brie cheese?

Checks in the mail -- they probably know the amount.

They take the coats from your guests who, on their return, are most certainly discussing your party, so they are privy to whether it's a success or not.

An assignation -- my friend's doormen knew about the other woman two years before she or anyone else knew.

They are discreet. They are courageous, standing between you and the dark night. They are resolute, always there. They are why it's okay to be sick in the city.

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