Monday, March 14, 2016

SOLSC Day 14: Time Passing

We’ve been living in our current apartment building for 45 years. (And is it okay to continue to say “we,” even in the present tense, for describing something that included Jack in the past?) One of the building’s handymen, Luis, has been living in the basement apartment with his family for almost as long as we have lived here. And he is retiring at the end of the month.
            He’s 80, so it’s way past time for him to stop doing the kind of work that handymen do, polishing the lobby floor, sweeping up in the basement, shoveling snow or steering the snowblower, collecting trash from the 15 floors and bundling it out to the sidewalk. I’m sure he’s done way more work that I never see.
            Luis’s cousin Pedro was one of our doormen for many years, and he retired a couple of years ago, moving to Florida. There was a building party for him, and there will be one for Luis.
            Having the people who’ve worked for you for many years retire and move away is one
more mark of passing time. When Jack and I moved into this building, there was a middle-aged couple on our elevator. We never knew their name (New York is like that; and we live on the second floor so didn’t usually take the elevator), but we smiled and nodded when we saw them. Then he died, and then she ... moved away? died?
            Now I feel like I’ve moved into that slot for newcomers in the building. They saw the notice about Jack’s memorial in the lobby, perhaps wondered who he was, may even have seen him going out with his walker to walk around the block. But they didn’t know his name, and they won’t know mine when I disappear. (Unless I make an effort.)

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