Last Sunday proved eventful enough to stand on its own, so here’s how the rest of the week turned out…
I just wasn’t feeling very hospitable this morning, which is not conducive to functioning efficiently in a 965 room hotel. I had to put m funk aside and get on with the business of slinging luggage for dollars as my first call put my people skills to the test.
Sometimes I’ll ride down the guest elevators with my people, it helps foster goodwill and hopefully, increases the size of my gratuity. Assuming, of course, modern technology doesn’t turn on me.
I’m riding the elevator with my guest and first off, it takes forever to show up. Then..
- It goes up instead of down.
- Then back to our original floor.
- It then moves back down 5 floors.
- It sits at a floor for a moment.
- Then back up 5 floors!
- It then stops on every third floor, and for the most part, opens to an empty hallway!
All the while, we’re picking up guests, including an old Italian couple who are bewildered and fearful of the entire situation. The lobby is our eventual destination and we make our way to the guests’ BMW and it’s tiny trunk, into which we somehow managed to cram two suitcases and three small duffel bags!
I may be a smartass bellman, but I’m an efficient smartass bellman.
A new dawn has broken, but my funk hasn’t quite reached its zenith, I’m afraid.
Aunt Pat has ovarian cancer.
That was the single worst phone call we’ve received in some time. She had been hospitalized earlier in the day and now our worst fears had come to pass.
My father-in-law’s sister, Pat, has become an integral part of his life in the years since his wife’s passing. The two of them, both widows, have become thick as thieves and it’s been a positive influence in his life. I’m sure his own mortality is weighing heavily on his mind at the moment.
I know the irony of the last few days has been weighing on mine. My mother has been grappling with chronic illness for years, my father-in-law’s health has taken a significant hit, and of course, there is still the matter of my colleague’s daughter, Demi and her battle with leukemia.
I appear to be surrounded by death, and yet, I labor in a place that is a way station for human beings racing through their lives. They run through the doors, desperate to get checked in, they run to and fro, to make dinner reservations and tours and tee times. Then, they race out, even more desperate to make the next leg of the journey.
We run to stay ahead of the hands of time, but that is as futile as gripping a handful of water. Our time will run out, no question. The only question of any value is this: what did we do with it?
As for work, it’s been quiet (thankfully!), but there’s always something to write about. Here’s a short list of things that drive me nuts about people who store their bags with The Hook…
- “Careful, this is a laptop!” just pisses me off! I know it’s fragile, dumbass!
- Booze stored in a paper or plastic bag is already at risk, especially if you don’t inform the bellman just what you’re giving him.
- Simply walking up to me and tossing your baggage claim tags on the Bell Desk is not going to ensure prompt, courteous service!
- If it’s busy, don’t simply drop your bags behind the line and leave! Unless,of course, you want to donate your items to The Hook’s retirement fund.
Freedom is just a word I’m not truly familiar with I think. Let me explain. It was my day off, but that didn’t absolve me of responsibilities, not by a long shot.
VampireLover and I had errands to run, namely picking up a walker for my father-in-law. It’s difficult to acknowledge your mortality, but he takes it all in stride. He was quite pleased with his new set of wheels, and that left me free (sort of!), to race to the comic store for New Comic Wednesday. Believe it or not, I was actually excited about the new Aquaman title!
I left at 10:45, which left me enough time to get there for Pulp Comics’ 11 am opening. The plan was simple and elegant; pick up my reserved titles, browse for a minute or two, and race back to VampireLover, who had delayed lunch to allow me “geek time”.
But this is me we’re talking about here.
I arrived to a full store of anxious comic fans (all male, of course!), each awaiting his weekly offering. But the demand for DC Comics’ new line has been overwhelming and the books had to be sorted. Long story short, no one could get their books until all the reserved orders had been filled. I wanted to browse the new books, so I had to wait to see what was left over before making a purchase.
Thirty minutes later, I was still waiting and I had the guts to say what most of the guys around me wouldn’t, “Man. I’m going to need super powers, because my wife is going to kick my ass when I get home!”
Still when the smoke cleared, I had the sole remaining copy of Aquaman #1. Who would have thought the “fish guy” would be reborn as an ass-kicker?
A new day dawned and after Sarah was safely ensconced away at school, I headed to the barber shop, which is truly ironic, considering my rapid hair loss. Nonetheless, I love visiting an actual barber. The atmosphere is something I’ve written about before, so I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say, visiting an old school barber, especially one of Italian heritage, is the closest thing to time travel you could ever hope to experience.
The vintage decor and style (Electric clippers and straight-edge razors. Don’t sneeze!), the hospitality and even the revolving sign are reminiscent of a simpler time. A better one, in fact. The rest of my day was quiet and uneventful, which means it rocked!
From quiet and uneventful to eerily calm but chaotic. I barely sat down at the Bell Desk and two thieving, old geezers stroll by me with one of our utility carts. I had to follow them to retrieve my equipment, but of course they were parked on the second floor of the parking garage and they were the slowest packers in the history of travel!
I’m standing at a respectable distance, waiting, my rage simmering below the surface, and one thought keeps running around my head, “How do people like this even get a cart in a full-service hotel in the first place?” They have to pass the Front Desk, the Concierge Desk, a lobby bar, and numerous staff members, but no one says anything! I love the people I work with, but come on, you can stand up to cheap, thieving slime balls in a respectable manner and live to tell the tale.
I’ve been doing it for fourteen years, and if today was any indication, the end is nowhere in sight. A corporate group stole four more carts and then the ultimate insult was paid to my department: a bellman from the casino across the street made a delivery to one of our rooms. Sounds harmless on the surface, right?
Not by a long shot.
Individuals that labor in the service industry are supposed to adhere to a strict, unspoken code of conduct that prohibits snatching the bread from another’s mouth. This jackass messed with someone’s livelihood.
You don’t do that to someone in your field, end of story.
This is it, the last chance for Fate to mess with me for the week. And what did Fate have in store for me today?
Asians, tons of Asians.
They were all over the lobby! The same company had four tours staying with us. So naturally, the hyperactive female tour guides kept running up to me and inquiring, “You have Maple Fun luggages? Please, I need my customers’ luggages!”
Imagine that four times in a row on the same morning.
As for the rest of the day…
- Another crazy elevator ride with guests.
- More thieving tourists. They took two of our newly polished carts, too!
- A family who kept referring to me as “That guy who took our bags!”
Finally, I received a request from the Front Desk to deliver a wheelchair. I arrived at the room expecting a senior but instead, I was greeted by two young ladies, one of whom was still drunk! She had cut her foot, refused to attend to it, and wanted me to wheel her to the lobby. So we’re in the elevator and this is what transpires…
DRUNK CHICK: My foot hurts! It really hurts!
THE HOOK: (Surprised she could feel anything at all!) We’ll be in the lobby soon. You’ll be on your way soon.
DRUNK CHICK’S FRIEND: (Examining her friend’s positioning in relation to The Hook) You know, from this angle, you could totally “b**w” him!
DC: (Looking around) You know, you’re right!
THE HOOK: Just so you know, I also accept cash…
That’s it for this week, my friends. Time to meet up with my trusty sidekick, Sarah Girl, and catch the season finale of Doctor Who. If you’re a Whovian – that’s a Doctor Who fan – like us, you’ve spent the season in a fog, completely dumbfounded by the conundrum set up by the first episode of the season.
I’m a bellman, folks, my fragile mind can’t handle mind games.