Stupid selfish self-obsessed idiot.
Paddy arrived with his little tool box on a trolley.
Now Paddy is tiny, with snowy white hair and a slight stoop as he is well into his sixties. He has been the repair man for this building for some years now. He is polite, efficent, rather charming in an old world way (he calls me Miss).
Paddy has lived in a tiny ground floor apartment with his wife ever since the building was built some twenty-five years ago. He was an engineer and the management company- who hate to be disturbed because they are a shower of lazy bastards- were happy to take him on as the building caretaker when he retired.
When I moved in here he and his wife were very helpful. They showed me around, gave me a key to the roof, allowed me to put up a larger than average satalite dish-don't ask- much to the fury of the Harpy downstairs, and in general made the transition to living here as smooth as possible for me. If parcels too large for the mail slot arrived and I was not here, they would hold them for me. His wife gave me a beautiful plant as a welcome present.
So it has come has a great blow to me today- when I enquired after his wife- for him to inform me that she had passed away some months previously.
I was stunned. I offered my deep condolences and he accepted them with his usual grace. He repaired the problem and went on his way.
I feel ashamed and upset in ways I cannot explain.
How, when I live in the same bloody building, did I not know this sweet woman had died? I know once we shut the doors to our apartments we close out the world to a certain extent, but this is terrible. How can I not have noticed that I haven't seen her lately? How did it not strike me as strange that I haven't run into her in the foyer, something that occurred regularly. My God I grew up in the country, my mother knows who is dead probably before they know themselves.
This is terrible.
I vow to stop and make pleasantries with the people in this building- including the Harpy- from now on. Even the man on the third floor who eats gum in the lift so loudly that I want to take off my shoe and pierce the back of his skull with the heel. I will even say hello to him.