When he woke up in the morning, the first thing he did was look at his uniform. Because only recently did he realize the respect he was receiving just because people couldn’t quite place the uniform right.

His next door neighbor, the woman whom he caught smiling coyly at him so often, thought he was a very profound person. She saw that his lean and tall body looked good in a shirt. His collar was always clean and straight. He walked in a rushed manner, always on the lookout for something. He stood up straight and smiled genuinely as put one hand behind him and opened the door for her whenever he ran into her. She thought he was handsome too. But he didn’t have any particular good looks at all. Looking in the mirror, he saw that his nose was too long and his eyelids too heavy, his cornea too veined and his teeth crooked.

He would shower in ice cold water every morning and dress up in his uniform of dark pants and white shirt. He would leave the top two buttons of his shirt unbuttoned because it didn’t quite fit and his huge Adam’s apple poked out in the rudest manner.

His scarcely furnished dwelling wasn’t due to his choice for a simple way of life. He would like to have lush green leather couch instead of the beat up old thing he had in front of his 14inch TV on a large cardboard box. He would like to have crazy luxurious tables and counters for his kitchen and flowing curtains for his window. However, his very undignified household was all his low three-digit monthly payment could afford.

He always carried a black messenger bag because it was the only bag he owned that could carry a jacket for him for when it rained and a book to distract him during his break time.

He would throw a smiling “good morning!” to owner of the small coffee house at the entrance of his condo and sit down for a cup when he wasn’t running late. The old lady who sat by the coffee cups wasn’t a particularly nice person. She was always claiming that customers stole from her and she often slapped her very young maid around shamelessly in front of customers. Her flaring temper had a reputation. However, she had a deep, unexplained liking for him. She would make small conversation with him and ask him very reflective questions about what happened in the world, business news and politics and things he’d never cared about or paid attention to. The woman would ask her questions and answer them herself and take his helpless smile to be some form of answer. He suspected she couldn’t place his uniform either.

The tall, thin guard who stood by the large gates would bow low from the waist in greeting when he saw him coming. He liked the guard very much. The way he would lean on his also thin walking stick and whistle to the sky reminded him very much of his own old father back in the country. The site of this man brought tears to his eyes so he would press tens and twenties into the guard’s wrinkled palms whenever he got a good tip. Then the guard would bless him and he would assume it was his father’s blessing so he would go about his day happily.

All this respect he was receiving and giving was the highlight of his life. He didn’t really have much going on despite what, he realized just yesterday, everyone else thought. He noticed when suddenly it wasn’t there anymore, that they had finally placed his uniform.




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