100 Things In 100 Days: #96.

I love elevators.

(Though, to be clear, I will be visiting an elevator-related issue in the near future. But for now let’s keep things positive, shall we?)

#96:  Things you Overhear In Elevators.

As I was saying typing, elevators are wonderful metal boxes where people seem to think inhibitions are verboten. Guests will do anything in elevators. Or at least, they’ll start to; the average ride is ninety seconds and I don’t know about you, but being a tall man, it takes me longer than that to get my pants down, never mind to… well, you get the x-rated picture, right?

Getting back to guests; they’ll say pretty much anything, even if, and sometimes especially, if I’m right beside them. Take this pair of twenty-something broads (and trust me, they were most definitely broads): they couldn’t care less that a bellman was right there in the elevator with them. They just wanted to bash their “friend” as much as they could.

TOWERING BRUNETTE ON THE ELEVATOR:  She claims she got her cootchie sewn back up by a doctor in San Diego, but I checked and her husband said she’s never been to San Diego, the lying bitch!

PETITE BLONDE ON THE ELEVATOR:  Really, I had no idea you even knew her husband, Brad.

TOWERING BRUNETTE:  Oh yeah! We’ve been fucking each other for over a year! That’s why I know she’d never need her cootchie sewn up… she’s a frigid bitch!

PETITE BLONDE:  Oh! You’re seeing Brad? You never told me!

TOWERING BRUNETTE:  Well, you moved away and I’ve been busy…

(Banging her friend’s husband.)

PETITE BLONDE:  How’d you guys meet anyway?

TOWERING BRUNETTE:  The office Christmas party. He says I’m what he ‘Wanted Santa to put in his stocking – the gift that keeps on giving… head!’

Classy, right?

I swear, I wanted to bust out laughing – and knowing myself as I do, I’m surprised I didn’t – but The Hooks stayed silent. Momentarily, at least…

PETITE BLONDE:  (Glancing in my direction hesitantly and whispering – finally.)  Do you think the bellguy can hear us?

TOWERING BRUNETTE:  (Definitely not whispering.)  Who cares! They’re not allowed to listen to guests anyways!

Just then the elevator ascending box of gossip reached their floor. As they got out, I discovered I could stay silent no longer.

ME:  (To the Petite Blonde.)  To answer your question, miss… I have fully-functioning hearing so I can’t help but overhear conversations that occur right beside me. However, I am completely discreet – in spite of the fact I write a blog about my adventures as a bellman. To quote Bon Jovi… have a nice day!

Needless to say, they were speechless/mortified as the elevator door closed in front of them.

And that’s why I love elevators.

See you in the lobby, kids…

giphyBut not that weird, not in my world at least…

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100 Things In 100 Days: #97.

Let’s face it, farmers may be the salt of the earth… but they can be damn sneaky when they want to be.

Let’s talk about a little impending “crisis” they alerted the public to a few years back.

#97: The Supposed Bacon Shortage.

The words sent chills through the bloated, artery-blocked bodies of many a bacon lover: “Experts say the world could be on the verge of a significant bacon shortage because of rising feed costs and declining pig populations.”

The year was 2012.

Four years later, I’ve seen millions of travelers stuff their faces with glistening strips of bacon – and there’s no end in sight. In fact, we’ve had dozens of choking incidents that can be directly attributed to bacon. And poor judgement, of course.

I’ll say this though: bacon suppliers knew what they were doing when they “predicted” this shortage. In four years, bacon has become more popular than a virgin at a prison rodeo. Maybe brussels sprout providers should take note, don’t you think?

Nah.

See you in the lobby, kids… I’ll be the bellman with the bacon grease running down his face.

GoAO5Ur

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100 Things In 100 Days: #98.

With the possible exception of bacon popsicles (made from frozen bacon grease) they are the perfect summer food.

Yes, I am referring to…

#98:  Ice Cream Sangwiches.

They cool you off when summer has depleted your internal water reserves.

They’re the perfect amalgamation of delicious ice cream and icy brown biscuits. They rock harder than Donald Trump at a hairpiece convention. They’re so cool… they could bring King Tut back to life.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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100 Things In 100 Days: #99.

More bellman bitchin’, served up hot and ready for your dining pleasure, friends.

#99: Travelers Who Develop Instantaneous Amnesia.

While I’m perfectly willing to acknowledge how difficult it can be to keep one’s head above water financially these days, if you’re going to travel, don’t do it halfway. If you can’t afford to travel, if your trip is going to put you in a debtor’s hole… stay home! But if you’re going to leave your driveway, have fun, don’t pinch those pennies until your fingers cramp up. Go for it, you cheap bastards!

Sorry about that. I deal with a lot of cheap brain dead people on a daily basis. People like this chick…

CHEAP CHICK:  Can we have a cart, buddy? We have too many luggages to carry!

ME: We’re a full-service hotel, miss. I can send a bellman out to your car to collect your bags if you like. 

At this point she began to twitch like a duck on a hot plate. Then she reevaluated her entire existence – or at least certain facts pertaining to her existence. All of the sudden, the mere notion of paying someone to assist her became more terrifying than the prospect of a Trump presidency.

CC:  Well… let me just see how many luggages we have…

ME:  But a moment ago, you had too many bags, I’m sorry, too many “luggages” to carry…

CC:  Uh…

She then spontaneously combusted. The fire department arrived. There was ash all over my desk so the lobby maid had to break out the Shop Vac. There was a formal investigation. It was a whole thing.

(Actually, she accepted my help in spite of my smartassery and even tipped me. But that’s a boring conclusion so forget I mentioned it.)

But at the end of the day – or rather, at the end of my shift – I accept that cheap people have a role to play in the world. I just wish that role didn’t exist in my story.

See you in the lobby, kids…

giphy

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100 Things in 100 Days (Maybe): #100.

Here we go, one hundred things – some good, some bad – from my oft-fevered mind.

(Hey, it’s better than no material at all, right?)

Enjoy!

#100: Travelers Who Can’t Count.

One of my duties as a bellman is to store and eventually retrieve travelers’ bags from our storage room. (Which, incidentally, looks like Eric Foreman’s basement.)

At any rate, the process is ridiculously-simple:

  • The guest arrives at my desk, plastic bags and laundry baskets in tow.
  • I ask the guest how many bags (some have actual luggage, but not many) they would like to store.
  • The guest freezes when faced with a math question.

And this, kids, is what really creams my corn.

How difficult is it to keep track of how many bags you’re traveling with? Seriously, some of these people actually shudder when they stop to look around at their luggage. Drool collects on their lips. They start to count but often surrender to their own idiocy. 

“How many bags do I have?  God… this is so hard.  Uh… let’s see… one… two.. ten!”

Imagine dealing with that a hundred times a day while load ing anfg unloading buses and dancing like a trained monkey – in a monkey suit – for tips…

And that, friends, is part of why The Hook is The Hook. My frustration comes honestly, trust me. 

See you in the lobby, kids…

giphy

 

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The Mother Of All Meltdowns.

HOOK’S NOTE:  Yes, I’m still burnt-out. However, I’m still fighting the good fight while serving haranguing travelers of every variety. This is how I’m doing my part to unite the human race; by treating everyone badly.

After eighteen-plus years in the hospitality trenches I’m used to seeing guests lose their cool.

To say the least.

But a fifty-something guest of the female persuasion recently made me scratch what’s left of my scalp raw when she completely lost her shit – as the kids say – for no apparent reason at all. She was willowy. She had stringy silver-hair. Her voice was as hoarse as Mr. Ed.

She was out of her goddamn mind.

I’ll admit, one never knows what’s going on in a person’s mind and it can be stressful to travel, but even this chick’s husband wasn’t convinced of her ability to reign herself in. His advice to the bellman who loaded up their bags outside while she checked-in?

“My wife… well, she’s having a day.  So back off!”

I didn’t serve the husband, however, and so I had no idea who she was or that her deal was so far gone when she approached my desk and began to go completely off the rails. All I knew was that this chick was PISSED!

MELTDOWN MOMMA:  WHERE IS MY HUSBAND… AND OUR LUGGAGE?  WHERE’S OUR DAMN LUGGAGE? WHERE ARE YOU KEEPING IT?

ME:  I’m sorry, miss? I don’t follow.

I knew I was in for a wild ride, but I wanted to stay calm – for as long as I could.

MM:  WE JUST CHECKED IN1  WHERE’S OUR FUCKING LUGGAGE! IT SHOULD BE RIGHT HERE!

She pounded her fists on my marble desk to make her point.

ME:  We don’t keep bags on the desk, miss. I’m sure your bags are in our backroom. You should have a tag to track –

MM:  BUT WE JUST CHECKED IN!  IT SHOULD BE RIGHT HERE!

ME:  Miss… I can see you’re frustrated but work with me here a little, please. We keep the bags in the backroom –

MM:  BUT WE JUST GOT HERE! WHERE’S MY HUSBAND? AND OUR FUCKING BAGS?

To my credit, I didn’t wail on her with a Frozen suitcase, I just kept my cool. (Get it?)

ME:  I’m guessing your husband is parking the car, miss. I’m sure he has the tag for your bags.

MM:  ARRGGHH!!!!

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Seriously, she screamed like a banshee – or if you prefer, a non-hot Sofía Vergara – and stormed off outside onto the valet deck where she continued to lose it.

That was the last I saw of her until an hour later when I delivered their “missing” luggage. Her husband kept her sequestered in the back of the suite while I dropped off the bags. I took my tip – which wasn’t nearly generous enough – and headed out, but not before delivering a parting shot.

ME:  Sir, out of curiosity… how long have you been married?

HUBBY:  (Sighing, in spite of the fact his wife was in the next room,  the deepest sigh I’ve ever witnessed.)  Twenty-five long years, man…

ME:  And was your hair gray when you got married?

HUBBY:  (Chuckling.)  What do you fuckin’ think?!

See you in the lobby, kids…

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What Lies Beneath?

The query came as I was still getting my morning bearings, without the benefit of coffee, I might add.

“Have you heard about The Girl, Hook? She killed herself. She jumped over the Falls”

(Out of respect for the memory of a fallen colleague, I’ll be using “The Girl” instead of an actual name.)

The words were cutting and brutal. The reality, even moreso. Naturally, I was floored. The Girl wasn’t someone I was close to, but she was ridiculously-friendly, chipper and bright. She always had a kind word or a joke at the ready. She worked tirelessly as a lobby cleaner in the hotel.

She was 23 years old.

She was far too young to end her life in any manner, never mind the one she chose. Then again, every life is precious and should never be forsaken. But I refuse to judge The Girl or any of the souls who plunge into the icy depths of Niagara Falls every week.

After all, I’ve stood at the brink of the Falls, gripping the handrail until my knuckles turned white, contemplating what could have been the final contemplation of my young life. The tears rolled down my eyes. My heart beat so hard against my chest there was a bruise.

All I wanted from life that night was to be free of the burden of it.

Don’t ask me why I didn’t do it; to this day, I don’t have an answer. My life certainly didn’t turn around after that night. It would be months before I began to move past those suicidal thoughts.

Years later, I met a young lady named Jackie and the boy who desperately wanted to die did just that. I became someone new, someone who had something to live for.

Decades later, I’m a happy man but my demons are have never left. To be alive is to be plagued by self-doubt and despair; this is the truth of our existence.

I’ve become, in my admittedly biased opinion, a good and loving spouse. I’ve failed as a writer. My daughter appears to be pleased with my parenting performance so far (most of the time). I’ve never been able to break through with the blog. I have a rewarding career that is never boring and manages to pay the bills.  It seems like every a schmuck with a concept is on some form of television platform these days but I remain untouchable to the CBC and every network in existence.

There are days I hate myself.

But I’ll never hate myself enough to stop being myself.

I don’t know what happened to The Girl that made her end her young life. I didn’t know her well enough to be able to offer a glimpse into her tortured psyche. I do know this: The Girl is not alone. As I’ve said already, every week some poor soul jumps over the rail separating the Falls from the earth. In fact, this summer a man parked his car in the parking lot across from the Table Rock complex at the base of the Canadian falls and sat there all night. At some point the man pulled out a gun, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

The postmortem examination revealed the bullet did not kill him. Instead it rattled around in his head. And so he slit his throat, covering the interior of his car with his own blood.

Again, this is a brutal fact, one I refuse to shy away from. I live in a city where this truth is hidden. I’ve mentioned this before but now it’s hit home. Jumpers are Niagara’s dirty little secret. You won’t see them discussed in the local papers or online. However, I was recently informed that the only place with more jumpers is San Francisco.

The truth is, while I know there are some city officials who fear publicizing these acts would inspire copycats, a great truth always wins out.

Death is bad for business.

And so life goes on in Niagara.

And so do the poor souls who wait for cover of night to end their suffering.

And that’s it. I don’t have any clever words or a snappy send-off for you today. I’m sad, frustrated and angry, among other emotions raging in my soul. But at the same time, I’m happy and content – to a point.

I can only imagine the maelstrom must have been unfolding in The Girl’s mind.

Wherever she is, I hope she is at peace at last.

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