I’m so tired of being alone …. the man in the red plaid jacket
I live in a city obsessed with youth and beauty… the same holds true for my building. I’m surrounded by the beautiful people… there’s lots of spray tans and 40-watt success stories… but above the beauty is youth. It’s raw and edgy and in my face reminding me that I’m not young or beautiful. I’m too old to be young and too young to be old… and nothing can be done.
Every day, I see designer sunglasses blocking out the reality of the night past. Perfect specimens of humanity slightly shaky and unbalanced … but still perfect as they exit the elevator and summons Uber for a quick escape down Hollywood Boulevard. Even my neighbor on the 7th floor is perfect. He’s starred in over a 1,000 adult videos in the past three years and looks like Adonis… maybe because he spends so much time on his back in bed … yes, I said it! Nothing lasts for long… not romance… not “A” lists… not beauty… sadly, not youth … especially youth. That’s a difficult loss to face… maybe because that’s where you notice it first… smack dab in the middle of your face.
I see the people like me that don’t fit the building’s demographics… each morning at 6:00 a.m. I walk Shmuli & Kooli and out comes the man in the plaid jacket. It’s red and black and is missing a button… it’s never fastened correctly, and the clothes beneath it are always the same. dark pants and dirty white dress shirt. Everything looks slept in and dirty…. and there’s a cap… I don’t wanna forget the cap. It has a logo on the front so worn you can’t read it. All of this is on a man that must be 75 years old. He never looks up … he never speaks … he just walks past. This is a routine that has not varied by 5 minutes in over a year. He walks … I stand … the pugs pee. That’s how it is …. that’s morning at the Hollywood Ardmore.
By 7:00 a.m., MJ and I are at Kitchen 24 for breakfast. We’re creatures of habit … we eat at the same table … eat the same meal and have the same conversation with the same waiter … every single day. The man in the red plaid jacket is there too… he’s sitting alone at a table next to the door looking down into his plate of eggs. No one speaks to him and he returns the favor. He remains at the table after we leave…. I won’t see him again until tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. when the cycle repeats itself. We’re neighbors existing without contact.
Yesterday… I decided to break the 12 month silence. We met in the elevator at 6:00 a.m. and I did it … I said, “Good morning, we see each other every day, and I want to tell you my name… I’m Rob” … The old man came alive… he smiled, and I noticed he’s missing a front tooth. He said, “I’ve lived here for 30 years, and I like dogs” … I still don’t know his name, and maybe I don’t need to know it. What I do know is that 6:00 a.m. every morning we’re both alone … we have that in common. I don’t know if he has anyone in his life or if he’s outlived everyone he’s ever loved. Maybe he never had anyone to love … maybe it was just him and a dog. Maybe he was me 30 years ago … just starting over. I don’t know how his life unfolded … I know he’s the guy with the red plaid jacket who’s missing a tooth and likes dogs … could it be he’s just as lonesome as you and me?
I know I’m glad I said hi to him, and I believe he’s glad I did too …