This post is in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on The Luckiest People
Every morning between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., I trek out of the apartment building for seniors, where I have lived for 6 years, in Port Richmond, Staten Island to feed the stray cats, who are waiting for me, and the pigeons, who aren’t around until after sun-up. My bird seed gives them something to help fill their early-morning empty stomachs.
Every morning, the person I usually see first is the security guard of my building. We have two that work graveyard on different nights–12:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. One is Paul and the other is Joe. This morning Joe was on duty, so I will tell, whoever you are who is reading this, what I know about him.
Joe has been working as a security guard in my building for about a year, which is a long time for mostly the guards don’t stick around that long. I can’t tell how old he is, but, after he had been missing for two weeks, he told me he has a family, some place in the Carolinas, whom he had gone to visit. I think he must be his middle-to-late forties. He lives with his mother in Staten Island to save money, but from what I gather, she doesn’t seem to like that arrangement.
My 6-story brick building has 76 one-bedroom apartments for seniors who are able, supposedly, to take care of themselves. It’s not assisted living, it’s just like any other apartment, except there is help available if needed, and social programs, if one desires to participate. However, sometimes there are emergencies which have to be dealt with by the security guard. I’ve never seen Joe deal with an emergency, because we haven’t had any since he has been here. The seniors in my building, many of whom are in their 80’s or 90’s, sometimes have to go to the hospital, or it’s time for them to move to a nursing home, or even sometimes they die. Then the Security Guard has to take some action. Most of the Guards are quite efficient and dependable, something you wouldn’t expect in people earning $8.50/hr.
When I first met Joe he said he was a doctor, an anesthesiologist. But I find that a little hard to believe. He also goes to school, so maybe he is studying to be one. Or maybe he has to be re-certified. It seems I wasn’t interested enough to ask for clarification. He’s intelligent, but doesn’t seem like someone who has ever had much money–which is another way of saying, “working class.” And doctors don’t usually come off as working class.
Since the security guards mostly just sit at a desk by the front door, Joe spends a lot of time studying what look like Medical books. He also sleeps at his desk, but just in the early morning hours. He works out in a gym and is very muscular.
In the last few months, he has started going out at night and collecting cans and bottles, for their deposit, which he puts in big plastic bags and then deposits them in his recent model, mid-size car that he parks in front of our building. He probably makes an extra $10/night doing that, but it takes him away from his job. This worries me in case there is an emergency.
I like Joe, because he’s very nice to me.