Sunday, February 5, 2012
The Doorman’s Diary: 2.4-5.12
Hope comes in many shapes. It may be Spring’s first crocuses. An uptick in the Dow Jones. A comatose patient’s flutter of eyelids. For me, The Doorman, hope came to the door in the shape of two young earnest-looking men—one white, one black—friends. They nervously asked if there was live jazz tonight while soaking in the club from top to bottom, left to right. I said the music starts in 30 minutes and there’s a five-dollar cover. I then asked, “How old are you guys?” They stuttered out, “18, sir.” Their honesty combined with a curiosity to hear live jazz made me want to break the law. I almost said, “See the high-top table in the back right next to the exit? Go outside, circle around the building, enter through the back door, sit at the table, and order two Cokes—Diet if you must. Any sign of a uniformed or undercover cop and I want you to bolt out the door and run like mad.” Instead, I said, “I can’t let you in here until you’re 21.” They bowed their heads in disappointment and were heading out the door, when I stopped them. “Listen,” I commanded, “look me in the eyes and promise me that in three years you’ll drag your sorry butts back here, because you deserve to be here.” They responded, “Oh, we will… definitely!” I couldn’t help but remember that when I turned 18 the drinking law had dropped a few months earlier to my age. I remember dragging friends to a jazz club I had discovered with the intent of impressing. In the process of showing off, I had unexpectedly learned to truly appreciate jazz. So, where’s the hope in all of this? It gives me hope that there are at least two 18-year-old guys out there with an interest in jazz. I hope they get fake IDs that could “fool me”—they need to be here. For the future of jazz, they belong in the club.