A woman calls up her friend. She says, “Becky, l understand you got a new apartment.”
Becky says, “l do. I got a pretty apartment. Why don‘t you come visit?”
“I’d love to visit, but I don’t know where you live. You gotta give me directions.”
I live on I486 Eighty-sixth Street. You’ll take the train, get off at Eighty-sixth Street. You’ll see a big apartment complex, 1486. Outside. you’ll see a double door. With your right elbow, press down the handle from the door. push open the door, and you’ll be in what we call a vestibule.
“In the vestibule’s a list of bells. I’m apartment 4B. With the left elbow, press 4B; it’ll ring upstairs. As soon as I hear the ring, I’ll buzz you.
“When you hear the buzz, with your right elbow press on the inside of the door, push open the door, go straight ahead to the elevator, and with the left elbow press UP.
You’ll get in the elevator; with the right elbow press 4 for the fourth floor. The door will open up; you’ll go straight into my apartment. 4B.
“You’ll ring the doorbell with the right elbow. Give it a couple of knocks with the left elbow; I’ll answer the door. You’ll come in; we’ll have coffee.”
Her friend interrupts, fed up. “What kind of directions are these, with the elbow? The left elbow, the right elbow. What’s with the elbow?”
Becky says, “What? You’re coming empty-handed?”
Source: Sam Hoffman, Eric Spiegelman,
Old Jews Telling Jokes: 5,000 Years of Funny Bits and Not-So-Kosher Laughs,
(Villard, 2010) page 35
What if the real and most beautiful gift we can offer one another is that of Presence! Don’t we after all call a ‘gift’, a ‘present’? What gift is it if I don’t make myself fully present in what I am giving?