September 20, 2007
I was driving down a one-way street when a beat-up car pulled in from the other end and started barreling towards me. If I had to guess, my face was probably saying something like You are a complete fucking retard and it is an abortion of justice that I have to share this planet with you. As it does. But he just kept coming towards me, head down, kind of nodding and waving like Yeah, but this is in-progress, so just move over to the side so I can get by and continue life.
But do you know whose face I picture when I try to remember what that guy looked like? I’ll tell you, because you’d never guess. The security guard in the dotcom building where I worked in (doing math) 1999. This guy. Gray polyester suit, clip-on tie, white socks and black waiter shoes from Payless. One of those people where you feel bad for them but not enough to overcome the fact that you wish they weren’t in your life. This guy was always with the chit-chat. “What do you guys do in there?” (Order more Aeron chairs.) “My cousin designs web pages, could he get a job there?” (If your cousin can actually design web pages, he’s probably overqualified.)
His job completely sucked, all day at this uncomfortable stool and pedestal, no TV or video games. Just 8 hours of staring at the wall, interrupted by the 6 seconds it took one of us to get from the front door to our office. And it could have just ended there, with a handful of overprivileged college graduates feeling mildly bad for this guy, whose job it was to protect a building that under no circumstances needed protecting. But then he started coming into our office. He would use our microwave and get condiments out of our refrigerator for his lunch, and pull up a chair to our eating area and tuck in like it was whatever, one of the guys. We’re like: Hey who’s protecting the building right now? And that was just an intrusion of personal space that could not be borne. I think one of the VPs said something to someone and he was gone soon after that. Replaced by a closed-circuit video camera, IIRC.
But that’s what it is, the intrusion of space, that’s why my brain only needs to remember one of their faces. A shabby guy who is somewhere he doesn’t belong, in a way that inconveniences me and makes me wonder whether or not he totally gets it. We have a match.