Here we are, the busiest, most harrowing day of any week, and my entire crew is composed of individuals who are either hanging, weary from a wedding the night before or depressed!
Let the games begin….
I had two families, warm and friendly people all, with the exception of the two dads. They were good-natured brothers who must have topped their Sugar Flakes off with three Red Bulls – each! Just try to imagine the hyperactive Japanese tour guides I’ve written about in the past, and multiply that by 100!
These guys ran circles around me all over the parking garage and then gave me five bucks and said “Go fill your pockets, buddy!” Unfortunately, after receiving five dollars for two rooms, I wasn’t exactly inspired! It’s really too bad, because I could have used something to prop me up as I faced off against some real wackos!
THE HOOK: Can I help you sir? Do you need some help?
OLD FRENCHMAN: I want to use a cart!
THE HOOK: We can’t give you a cart, sir. We can certainly help you, though.
OF: I’ll return the cart! I just want to borrow it!
THE HOOK: I realize that, sir, but we’re here to help in any way we can.
OLD FRENCHMAN: You mean I can’t do it myself? This is the service I get for $180?
You’d think for $180, he would want some real service instead of having to do it himself at an age where passing a large gas bubble can induce a heart attack! But no, it’s more fun to try to attempt to lower the standards of a full-service hotel than to be waited on, I guess.
A day off! Normally I’d be upbeat at this point, but today was different – in a very bad way. I had a medical procedure today. Now, I know women go through dozens of embarrassing, uncomfortable procedures all the time, but I’m a guy and we’re unaccustomed to such things.
And we’re big cowards.
As far as the nature of said procedure, let’s just say this: what people normally do to me metaphorically, I voluntarily had done medically! A few things worth noting:
- There are two forms of this procedure. I had the less invasive – which is truly the lesser of two evils!
- The at-home prep is actually worse than the in-hospital portion.
- The at-home prep is actually more embarrassing, but you can stay hidden safely away in your own bathroom!
- The wife actually volunteered to help with the prep (I declined – that could REALLY test a relationship!), but how great a wife do I have? That’s true love, man!
- The shunt the nurse put in (“Just in case!”), was more painful than anything else I went through!
On the bright side, I received a clean bill of health and Sarah bought me a copy of X-men: First Class to soothe my bruised ego. I think Vampire Lover actually paid for it, but then again, she also teased the hell out of me! Oh well, I at least I spent the rest of the day sitting on my butt relaxing – carefully!
No more excuses for The Hook, time for chores! Specifically, painting the front porch. I have to say this for VampireLover: she’s a great taskmaster!
Seriously, she keeps me focussed and doesn’t let up until the job is done. We finished 90% of the work and so now all that remains are touch-ups. That’s right, my wife doesn’t just direct, she dives right in and proves time and again why I should never be trusted with a paint brush!
Unfortunately, the porch looks so good, the remainder of the house now looks more dilapidated than ever! Especially a section above the porch that get all the sun. But I’m not allowed to get up there. The wife knows all to well how poorly I perform at great heights. On a ladder, I mean.
Bus tour season is in full swing, hundreds of foreigners and hyper-sensitive tour guides all trying to leave at once makes for a fun ride first thing in the morning, let me tell you. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my “A game” with me. It wasn’t even my “B game”, so you can imagine the fun I had! I fully expected a verbal throw down with our most miserable tour guide (the kind of guy you greet with, “If you’re here, who’s running Hell?), but even though I cut it close, he stuck to his schedule and was satisfied.
To make the day seem even stranger, I served a nice French-Canadian couple who tipped me well! They even held it together when I put down one of their bags on the valet deck and it produced a “clink’. This means a bottle impacted with the cement, but there was no damage to said alcohol, so they simply laughed.
It’s a funny thing, you can drop every bag and people tend to overlook it. Drop a bottle, and you’re risking a major battle!
Well rested and armed with my weekly haul of comics, I assumed today would, at the very least, be uneventful in the morning.
THE HOOK: (Answering the phone. Big mistake!) Bell Desk, how may I help you?
CONFERENCE JACKASS: Yes, there should be a trolley down there with some boxes of binders. Could you deliver them (for free, no doubt!) to one of the meeting rooms?
THE HOOK: Which one, sir?
CJ: I really don’t know…
THE HOOK: (After slamming the receiver against my head!) Why don’t you go to the room, sir, and call me from there. Then we’ll both know where you are.
CJ: Sounds good!
I delivered the boxes, but no one acknowledged my presence or offered a tip or even a word or two of thanks. But I’m sure you saw that one coming, right? I firmly believe there is a corner of Hell reserved for conference douchebags; they sit around shuffling papers in preparation for a “big presentation” that never happens.
The rest of the day was filled with encounters with one of three groups,
- SENIORS – They’re mostly happy and some of them tip!
- TOUR GROUPS – They’re quiet and always smiling. What else can you do when you don’t speak English?
- CORPORATE GROUPS – Look hard enough and you’ll find the odd one who isn’t a complete waste of space! Maybe.
On a personal note, the evening was special, no, make that sacred, in our house: Vampire Diaries, Season 3 debuted! Whenever Sarah would come in the kitchen, she would be greeted with a “Not now! My show’s on!” from VampireLover!
Yes, we have a tv in the kitchen. Doesn’t everyone?
To add insult to injury, I found myself betrayed by my own blood! Sarah’s new school held a book fair and she brought home a Vampire Diaries poster for her mother. Sweet, right?
She hung it over our bed, alongside two other pictures of various bloodsuckers! I really don’t feel comfortable looking at the undead competition while in the bedroom, not that anyone cares.
Plenty of bus action to keep me hopping this morning, not to mention my first family of the day and their little ball of fun, a little Asian princess named, coincidentally, Sarah!
I get to the room and immediately get the lay of the land; 12 shopping bags, 3 suitcases, assorted junk and 1 baby, 2 shrivelled old people, a Mom, Dad and of course, an Asian Tasmanian Devil in pink! Seriously, she wouldn’t get move out of my path, no matter how often her parents pulled her back.
Finally, it came time to give her a little bump, just to let her know The Hook means business. She sounded like one of those “purse dogs” if you stepped on it! The parents scooped her up again, but as soon as she was free, she inched her way to the cart and attempted to sit on one of the suitcases.
“I sit on cart!” she screamed as Grandma yanked her off. We met back up downstairs and she immediately jumped back on the cart as the rest of the clan sorted out the valet situation. “All right,” I relented, “Just sit tight…”
She jumped right off as the cart was in motion!
Don’t worry, she lived to terrorize another day. As did her creators. After loading the vehicle, it looked as though Mom and Dad were going to stiff me. I quickly enacted my back-up plan: remain at the vehicle, no matter what!
After a few minutes, the Mom pulled a single coin from her purse and asked, “Is this Canadian dollar?” T o which I was forced to reply, “No. it’s a two dollar coin.” Fortunately, she released it anyway.
The rest of the day followed suit, unfortunately.
It’s 10 am as I write this, and as I scroll across the page I realize this week has really kicked my ass!
I had to dip into my energy reserves to throw around all the Japanese luggage passing through the hotel this morning. I’ll say this for the Asian tours: they’re incredibly warm and friendly but more hyperactive than a gang of squirrels on pure cocaine!
Still, the Asians are a delight compared to some of the window-lickers that make their way to The Hook’s desk. I swear, if you peered inside their heads, you’d see a dead hamster on a wheel! And speaking of oddballs, a female Lenny Kravitz just walked by. Seriously, her hair was identical; shake her head and a family of starlings will fly out!
Enjoy your week, gentle readers. Say a prayer for The Hook.