Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Doorman's Diary 12.14.12

Mellow jazz guitar quartet. A couple sitting at the bar near the door proved interesting. The guy steps outside to have a smoke as I was propping the door open to let cool fresh air in. We get talking and I learn that he has history working jobs through a temp agency. Long term--like years--at these jobs. He had been security at a huge music hall that brings everything from metal to hip hop to country. Currently he works at a huge web-press magazine and catalog printer. "Any chance of being hired direct?" He says: "I  don't have a car, so I can't get there and I can't afford a car 'till I get paid better." So he lives a Catch-22 life of treading at $8 an hour with the temp-agency van driving him to work and back. Been doing this for years. I was happy to see again and old jazz cat. A wizened face and black beret. Said to him: "Good seeing you, it's been awhile." He recently returned from New York where he was helping on his son's campaign for Congress--going door to door in Harlem. Tells me he turns 84 in four months. His life:  Born in Texas, near Louisiana border...orphaned, then adopted...troubled youth...joined the Air Force when facing a join or jail choice...his all Black unit were guinea pigs in jet propulsion testing, 16 died during the Bachelor's and Master's at George Mason University...married a Jewish woman in the 1960's which was a convictable offense (the police chief and circuit court judge at the time would have gleefully arrested him and locked him up)....went to Kansas to get married...raised five kids, all successes...helped found a neighborhood association in one of the city's first integrated neighborhoods. He mentions all the hassles in trying to uncover his roots. My advise is easy, but I think pretty accurate: forget about your past, you’ll hit nothing but dead ends and misery when faced with your slavery lineage. You are living a successful life and you're the grand patriarch of a wonderful extended family. The history starts with you, my dear friend. You are the center of your family's universe! 

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