Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hello goodbye

Eddie the doorman is retiring after 27 years. I find that kind of shocking, since I would have guessed his age to be around 55. He must be quite a bit older. More importantly, I find myself feeling kind of sad that I won't be seeing him every evening when I walk Lewis. And even more importantly, I find myself feeling kind of embarassed that I find myself feeling kind of nostalgic for someone I hardly know. The exchanging of greetings and twenty seconds of banter two or three times a week hardly qualifies for a sad goodbye. And yet. I know that his last day is sometime later this week, and I find myself dreading it, the dread muffled by a vague feeling of shame. I find myself avoiding his eyes, not wanting to ask about his plans. I wouldn't know what to say at the end of the conversation.

I think I have a problem with goodbyes.

It's like the hating on New York City thing. I don't really hate New York City. I just hate leaving. And so I have to tear it down to make the leaving palatable.

When I was a counselor at a day camp, I used to see this kind of dynamic at the end of the first four-week session. The kids who were staying on for another four weeks would turn their backs on the kids who were leaving. I remember comforting a little boy whose best friend told him he wasn't his best friend anymore. "It's only because he's afraid he's going to miss you," I explained.

I think this is something I need to address in myself. Usually, the things I seek to change in myself are actually ouside of myself. The nose. The tummy. The breasts. New shoes. Hair products that promise (falsely) a lifetime of better hair days. But it's only because the outside is easy. And I don't have to look at it if I don't really want to. I don't think I looked at my breasts for the four-year period between September of 2002 and October of 2006. But when the problem is inside, there's not much you can do to look away. And when it causes discomfort - when you slump into your elevator after not looking your doorman in the eye just because he's leaving his job at the end of the week, and feel a profound sense of emptiness - that's when you know it's something I might think about confronting. And by you, I mean I.



BeBe said...

Try to look him in the eye and ask him about his plans. And it would really be meaningful to him, I think, if you said that you are sorry to see him leave. He will remember.


Jody said...

lauren -- Im glad you posted this about your recent sentiment towards NYC. I was wondering where all the animosity came from. I know you love this city how could you not!


Cody Pomeray said...

Yeah, leave the NYC hating to us Bostonians - we've got first dibs!

Your post reminded me of the Seinfeld "doorman" episode. A little farewell gift or some cookies couldn't hurt.

Tiffersll said...

You can buy hair, clothes, cosmetic surgery ailments - they're like fillers.

We can't buy love, or fullfillment, friendship or dealing with goodbye.

Tell him you'll miss him, I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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