Monday, September 05, 2005

Jimmy's passing

Talk about fatal coincidences - yesterday I wrote jokingly about our front desk manager, Jimmy, and his penchant for strongly (and strangely) worded notices. Just a moment ago I learned that Jimmy had passed away some time this weekend. I'm not sure if I should delete what I wrote yesterday, now that my attempt at humor has become tasteless as well as lame.

Jimmy was a wonderful, kind person, and those notices only added to his idiosyncratic charm. He always called me by my full name, Matthew, and many times I found myself getting into long conversations with him while collecting the mail. He loved to cast ridicule at the bizarre attempts at modern art in the park across the street from our building, especially when the Art Basel festival came to town. He asked me once what I thought of Picasso, and I started some blather about discovering whole different ways of seeing, and he said, "Well, me, I just don't get it. Are those supposed to be people, or what?"

One of my favorite Jimmy memories was a conversation I overheard before Thanksgiving last fall. He, Joe, and Mitch were discussing their dinner plans, and apparently Joe or Mitch had made some comment about a restaurant with "a nice atmosphere." Jimmy replied, "Atmosphere? Atmosphere is what you worry about if you're taking a girl out. You're going alone, you want to worry about the food!"

I feel a little silly and more than a little sad trying to sum up this unique, funny person based on my limited experience of him. I guess it's a reminder to get to know people better, before we're all gone. One thing I can say: Jimmy will be missed.

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