But in a person there lives a small observer – he takes part in neither actions nor sufferings – he is always cold-blooded and always the same. His employment is to see and to be a witness, but he has no vote [literally 'voice'] in the life of the person and it is not known why he, lonely, exists. This corner of a person's consciousness is illuminated day and night, like a doorman's room in a great house. For days on end this doorman sits awake in the entrance, he knows all the inhabitants of his house, but not a single one of them asks the doorman's advice about his own affairs.
Languagehat has been reading Platonov's Chevengur, translates a couple of passages which make one long for more.