For years, at least the last ten, I made a tuna on whole-wheat sourdough sandwich, with tomatoes and jalapeño jack cheese and mayo for three days a week as either lunch or breakfast. Since being out of work for the past six weeks, I think I had tuna only once.
I was going to make my usual on Wednesday, my first day back at work, but opted for chipotle turkey breast instead. Turkey breast with homemade refried bean spread and avocado on whole-wheat sourdough. I brought along some rice cakes as a snack.
I was re-assigned, as a doorman. I’ve done this before, for seven years, so I know the job. But now I have to work weekends, and my day starts at 3pm and ends at 11pm. No more weekends for me. If it wasn’t for this I would be perfectly happy, as this job is a lot less stressful than being the handyman, and listening to all of the criticism that comes with the job.
But a lot of people have to work weekends and evenings, and I only have to do it for three years and I can retire. As I told one of the tenants, I can do three years standing on my head.
It was good to be back, I got a bunch of hugs and loads more handshakes, and everyone said they were glad to see me. They all told me they’d been asking about me but the other employees and the boss were very hush-hush about the whole thing. Typical of corporate thinking, if you can’t lie outright say nothing. I did tell some people about what happened, but most I just told, “It doesn’t matter what happened, I’m glad to have a job.”
And I am. I don’t even have enough in my checking account to pay the rent this month. I have to transfer funds from my hard-earned savings account. Luckily I have a savings account, something I haven’t always had.
Things changed in my absence, one lady is in a nursing home and will probably never be back. She is the longest living tenant in the building, she moved in in 1954, the year I was born.
Another old woman I saw being brought in on a wheelchair, her once expensively coiffed hair limp and white as snow thinly falling around her blank, expressionless face. I used to have great conversations with her, she was always at war with the first super I worked for and looking for an ally, I told her I could not get involved in her personal grievances. And now she doesn’t even know me.
Some of my old people are still strong and active, Trudy from the 4th floor greeted me warmly with her 92-year old smile, told me she was glad I’m back, another woman in a walker told me she’d missed me.
The kids missed me too. There were cries of “Xavier! Xavier! Hugs, and high-fives.
It was good to be back.
Some I wasn’t so happy to see, like the former theatrical agent, a pompous man with a loud voice whom I’ve had to pick up from his own shit a couple of times, whose first words were, “You look twenty years older!” He thinks he’s a comedian but he’s not.
Last night the building was quiet, as a lot of people are gone for the long weekend. I did the crossword, Friday’s, and impressed myself by finishing it with out the help of Google. I wanted to kick myself for not bringing a notebook, as I had many Ideas for chapters for my memoir. Tonight I’ll bring one.