Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Walrus and Carpenter

Author's note: If you have ever seen the Disney version of Alice and know who I mean by the Walrus, you have a pretty good picture of the following individual.

Every work day I arrive at my parking garage around the same time as another gentleman. The very fact that I notice this person in the wee hours of the morning (anything before 10 AM), should provide some foreshadowing that there is something peculiar about him.

Typically, he has already backed his utilitarian van (somewhere between standard and mini, non-metallic gray, box-like) into the space directly across from the elevator.

Here he waits while he finishes his cigar. Every day. He smokes an entire cigar by 8:30 in the morning. Every day. I can literally breathe in the secondhand smoke, and we’re parked in an open garage by the Q.

I actually used to not mind when my dad would smoke cigars outside while working on one of the tractors – to keep the bugs away, he said – but I’ve changed my mind.

It may surprise you to know that this man is not otherwise the picture of perfect health.

He is about 200 pounds overweight, walks with a hitch in his step, and can almost always be counted on to hack up a lung in the short walk to the elevator which he insists you hold for him if he has started to open the door to his hot rod.

In a perfect world, the elevator could make it down and back up in the amount of time that it takes him to walk from the van. Of course, this is Cleveland so the elevator actually takes considerably longer than that.

He will not thank you for holding the elevator, but will allow you to wallow in his cigar perfume for the ride.

I now take the stairs.

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