The Morning Shift

Coffee o’clock


As a concierge/doorman there are three main shifts throughout any given work day and I have had the pleasure (displeasure?) of working all of them at some point during my “journey” as a doorman. Today we focus on the beginning, the morning shift. Better be a morning person if you plan on taking this Herculean task or if not, you better have an acquired taste for caffeine.

Me not trying to hear it before my morning coffee.

Most mornings start the same. An array of chills going down my spine as I turn the chrome door handle still frigid from the morning’s breeze, regardless of the season. I take a quick glance at the overnight guy whose eyes were bloodshot as if he had just finished smoking a doob, but that was me. After trading good mornings, he attempts to give me the rundown of the buildings, but like a blocked shot from Dikembe Mutombo, I finger wag all that nonsense away. I mean I appreciate him doing his job and all, but “Not. Right. Now.” I simply uttered as I walked towards the employee break room where our lockers are located. After getting dressed with some of the slowest processing speed one will ever see and clocking in for the day I sluggishly make my way not to the front desk, but to a marble countertop.

Sitting on top of this mostly clean countertop in the building’s lounge area is a large stainless-steel Miele coffee maker. After a long night rest, I frantically pressed down on the power button to awaken this sleeping beauty. “Good Morning” reads from the LED display on the front of the maker, but how could it possibly be a good morning? You have not made any coffee yet! You know it is actually quite hilarious how beans and hot water can alter a person’s entire morning if not day. It is called nectar of the gods for a reason.

Under the coffee maker on what the staff has dubbed the “Coffee Cubby,” we have a selection that would even have the girl on the Starbucks logo tip her hat. Decaf, dark roast, and Colombian just to name a few. It always fascinates the different variety in our hot bean water. Sugars from brown to cane and creamers of all sorts of flavors round out this impressive inventory for your caffeinated, or decaffeinated, needs. After fixing myself my second cup of the morning I grab a server’s tray, also located in that cubby, and distribute all the small coffee cups evenly on the tray. Time to prepare today’s batch.

Shortly after the changing of the guard at the front desk and the completion of the morning coffee, the paperboy arrives. Pulling up in his blue sedan, don’t they use bikes? He drops the stack of newspaper that always seems to make this hollow thud noise when they connect with the desk. Papers are aligned next to the coffee station at the front desk so tenants can get both their news and “juice” simultaneously.

My tenants before they have had their coffee.

I have been doing this a while now so I have timed it, so that minutes after I have finished this morning routine the first tenant is on their way out. Most have these stone faces in the morning you would think they were about to get butt stomped by Mario. As the first tenant prepares for their day so do I. They are greeted with a nice hearty “Morning”, that’s the coffee talking and I offer them a cup. I add any cream, milk, or sugar they may request as they sift through the newspapers looking for theirs. A quick conversation is struck, mostly about sports or the weather, but in doing so those stone faces turn into the smiles of Bullet Bill as he speeds towards Mario.

Now I would love to tell you that that is how it goes with every tenant, but come on now. One can wish though right?

I will never use the name of any one of my tenants out of respect for their privacy so let us call this individual Greg and man can Greg go kiss my you know what. He emerges from the elevator and I have not even finished my what would this be, like 20th “morning” before a hand is damn near my face telling me;

My tenants after they have had their coffee.

“It is not a good morning, there are never good mornings.”

“Well how about a nice cup of coffee to help get that morning going for you” I rebut.

“Wow, I cannot believe you just offered me coffee. What are you supposed to be Dunkin freakin’ Donuts?”

“No… just a man doing his job,” I say looking like a deer in headlights from where this conversation has ended up.

“Well, I do not drink that. Maybe if you had any tea or something you would know that.”

“I am sorry, I did no…” once again hand damn near my face before he hit me with the “save the apology for somebody who cares” and abruptly charges out the building. As I am trying to wrap my head around what just happened Greg makes his way back as if nothing ever happened and calmly asks about his newspaper. I hand it to him still with this deer in headlights look still and he leaves the building for the second time.

“That is not a morning person right there folks.” I mutter to myself.

After the tenants help reduce the number of occupants in the building to nearly zero the rest of the day is a breeze until the postman comes. He comes in just as hot as Greg and the only thing on my mind is “do not offer this man any coffee.”