Thursday, January 22, 2009

Milovan Loves You

In fact, I think Milovan loved just about everyone except his "wife, that bitch."

I met Milovan when I worked at the large, downtown hotel in Salt Lake City. I was one of the guest services managers, and he was one of the bellmen, and I have to say that I never did quite get a handle on him.

What I know is this.

He grew up in Croatia, got married there, had a daughter. During the conflict in the area, he moved with his family to Germany for a few years until he was able to bring them to the United States. At the time I knew him, his daughter was about 13 years old, and had thankfully not inherited her father's looks. I met her once or twice - slim, blond, blue-eyed, no obvious deformities - pretty, but not shockingly so. Milovan, god bless him, would not have been out of place in a line of gargoyles.

I know he had done construction work in Germany, but he told me he much preferred working at the hotel and for one of the local airport shuttle companies in Salt Lake. Because the hotel we both worked at had a contract with the shuttle, and Milovan worked a double shift most days, I saw quite a bit of him.

He always greeted me (sometimes many time throughout the shift) with "Heeeey, Kate. Milovan loves you." Which, despite being mildly creepy, was also very hard to resist because of his general good nature, and fact that he greeted most of the women who worked there in a similar fashion. I should probably add that not all of them found it as amusing as I did.

He was never inappropriate - and was in fact very generous with time and favors (like driving me home when my car was out of commission), without ever implying that he expected anything in return.

All the same, I have to say that I was never tempted to dig much past the surface. I liked working with Milovan, and enjoyed his unique outlook and interactions, but I had the sense that if I looked more closely, I would find things I didn't want to know. And when I left the hotel in the Spring of 2003, I heard my last ever "Heeey, Kate. Milovan loves you."

Nonetheless, I don't think I'll ever forget it.

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