Chasing Sanitation

Falling in Love with New York's Strongest

:: Chasing Johnny Doz II ::

October 15, 2008

Doz hasn’t called.

It’s the night of the Presidential Debate, and I’m going to have to flipping watch it.   I usually do, but I didn’t want to tonight.  I wanted to talk to a Sanitation Worker.

Eh, I’m in Park Slope, anyway.  The loose plans we set – you never know. He might come through.

I’m sitting at Aunt Suzie’s on 5th Avenue with a glass of Montepulciano and a salad.  I’ve always wanted to try the place, and Doz hasn’t confirmed and I’m starting to collapse into poor-mouthing everything.   I think he’s flaking on me.  If he flakes, I’ve started a stupid project following around deadbeats and losers who can’t do any better.  I always start these projects based on someone’s failing self-esteem, intent on writing them out of it.  Committed to giving them a little support from my vantage point. I’m like some sort of emotional probation officer. It’s stupid. But I can’t stop. And there’s little payback and there’s a lot of keeping the faith.  After so many pitches and projects, I can waver fast.  So I’m sucking down this Montepulciano fast and distracted.

When my phone starts vibrating.

“Where are you?”

“I’m eating but can meet you at Bar Loki in a half hour.  Can you do that?” I feel like I’m begging this guy.   Why is everyone so hard to track down?  I just don’t want to do this with them on the job, in the garage, with all the guys there watching and commenting and razzing them later about ‘talking to the reporter.’  I’m no reporter.  And it’s just too political in the garage. I’ve got to get permission, etc. etc.  Who needs it?  Why is it so hard to get a person out for a drink and a burger?

I hear ya, Doz, I do too.  Used to be so easy

So he shows up. I offer to buy him a beer.  “My interview, my treat,” I say.

“I can’t drink much, but sure, ok, I’ll take a Heineken,”

he says to the bartender.

And I ask him his stats and, BAM, we’re well on our way into the first interview.


He’s wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.  Baseball cap turned backwards.  He wears the LiveStrong yellow bracelet from Lance Armstrong’s foundation.  He’s got an earring in one ear.  He walks proud, chest out, head held high – like he’s always ready to catch anything that’s thrown at him – a punch, a ball, a Barcalounger.  He smells like a shower.  He’s not at all nervous.  He’s got a drum set at home and a custody case in full swing. He owns two humble but running cars.  He’s worried about the guys that cleaned up after 9/11 and who are still sick now.  He worked one day and couldn’t go back.  He’s named after the Beatle, not the Pope.  He’s a cheap date. He takes his vitamins every day. His house is cleaner than your mother’s. He hates long weekends. He lets no grass grow under his feet. He’s got a closet of toys for his kids when things settle down.

This is Johnny. Johnny Doz.

::: ::: :::

For Mongo on Doz, click here.

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