Monday, November 16, 2009

Our doorman is very LOUD!

In three months we've had three doormen.  The permanent doorman was having a lung removed when we arrived in Madrid.   Marco, the temporary one, busied himself with all kinds of physical labor showing management that no man, one lung or two, could possibly compare to him.  With unemployment in Spain hovering somewhere around 24%, Marco had no problem mopping the steps, opening the door and watering the grass on our rooftop everyday.  Nonetheless, labor laws prevailed and the sweet, permanent doorman and his good lung returned in September. He tried, but bless him, he didn't have enough stamina to walk, let alone mop and open doors.  Now we have a new guy, Sever!

He looks exactly like Mr. Bean with a 2000 kilowatt smile and the enthusiasm of Ed McMahon telling you that that you've just won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes.  His voice starts out blaring and obtrusive, then cresendos into a thunderous clamor at the end of every banal sentence.  If you aren't prepared, when you walk into our building, he will scare you and you will wet yourself:
Senora! HOLA!!!  I saw... your HUSBAND!!!

Oh...really?  Great.
He just went into... THE ELEVATOR!!!

Um. Ok.

Sometimes, he's so enthusiastic that he answers his own questions before you have a chance to answer yourself.
Que tal? Bien? Bien,  Bien!!!

And you can forget about whatever pressing engagement you have if you're unlucky enough to be caught by Sever. No amount of non-verbal communication, such as looking at your watch, positioning your feet and body towards the elevator, tapping your foot and looking bored -- nope, none of that, will dim Sever's smile and enthusiasm. Verbally communicating your time restraints won't do much either.  He will acknowledge that you have something going on -- oh, SI, SI, SI!!!!! -- but he will still position himself between you and the elevator and will happily regale you with stories of the time he lived in America.

Lately, I've been walking into my building with my dead cellphone to my ear.  I put a finger to my lips in the briefest of shushes, and wave lightly while pointing to the phone indicating that someone important is on the line.  I try to convey that I am in the midst of a huge business deal and that grave issues are at stake.  He nods knowingly and brushes his fingers across his own lips, suggesting compliance.  Then, right as I'm about to make it to the elevator, he can't help himself:

Senora!  I saw your CHILDREN!!!!


Gilman said...

His hours are 9-2 and then 4-7. I never venture into the lobby during work hours except under extreme duress. Senior HOW IS YOUR SPANISH COMING? DO YOU WANT TO PRACTICE WITH ME!!!!!
He is actually a lovely man and actually works without smoking. A big plus over here.

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