Last Tuesday, when I went down to my apartment lobby to check the mail, another woman was there at the same time.
Sigi’s* a little German lady who’s probably lived here since the building opened back in the ’60’s. I was a little taken aback that she was standing there in her housecoat and bath slippers, telling me about a workman damaging one of her walls. She was waiting on the repairman to come and give her an estimate.
I was there when he walked in. A young man, he gave her the once-over. His eyes went wide when he noticed her attire. I give him credit for trying hard to focus on her face instead of staring at her clothes.
In the spirit of true confessions, I’ve thought about running down to the laundry room, maybe 20 feet away from my apartment, in my robe, but I’ve never considered going down to the lobby and hanging out without being dressed in street clothes.
As Sigi got into the elevator with the repairman, another building resident came in the front door, shaking his head.
“What’s up?” asked the concierge.
“I just saw a guy, walking through the neighborhood, naked.”
“Well, he had on one sock, and he had a towel hung over his shoulder.”
“Husband came home early,” said the concierge, deadpan. “Hey, you never know. Seriously, you’d be surprised how many times residents here have come downstairs half dressed.”
“Oh yeah. Several ladies in the building have come downstairs in their slips. I send them right back upstairs.”
Shaking my head, I was thinking, not “Who forgets to put on their clothes?”, but “Who wears a slip any more?”
All this reminded me of when I lived in New York. We had an elderly woman in our building who was impatient in the extreme.
One day, as I was returning home, she got on the elevator with me after checking her mail down in the lobby.
The building’s old elevator doors didn’t function fast enough to suit her. I was standing behind her as she started stabbing at the “Close Door” button. She hit the thing repeatedly until the doors finally rattled shut.
I noticed that she had wild, uncombed hair and was wearing a long, baggy sweater. I noticed something else, too. There was nothing below where the sweater ended. From the waist down, she was completely naked.
Maybe she was in a hurry to get home to put on the rest of her clothes? Next time I went out, I mentioned this to the doorman, thinking maybe she was getting forgetful in her dotage.
He shrugged. “She does it all the time.” Unlike the concierge here, apparently, they accepted her eccentricities.
Suddenly, Sigi looked pretty good in her housecoat.
* Not her real name.