As my fingers bounce around the keyboard it is eight am in the morning in Niagara Falls.
It is also Saturday morning and that means the lobby’s voids are quickly filling with travelers. There are families, wannabe jocks in over-sized jerseys, young tramps, cheerleaders, actual jocks, and miscellaneous miscreants of all shapes, sizes and ideologies.
The Hook is home.
So why do I feel totally disconnected from the world?
I worked eleven hours yesterday and I spent every one of them waiting.
Waiting to feel at ease in my uniform, behind my desk, or wheeling my cart around the hotel’s labyrinth of corridors and rooms. I waited to feel at ease being a lovable smart-ass bellman who puts guests in their place while pocketing coins and bits of paper. I waited… to feel.
But I never did.
Never fear, friends, I have no plans to chuck my life for a shack on a secluded beach somewhere, where The Hook will spend his days as that “crazy white devil” who terrorizes and amuses the local population. Though, that would be cool for awhile. No, I just want to feel like myself, the man I was a month ago.
But that man may have died as he watched the greatest man he ever knew take his last breaths before departing this world for whatever remains. In many ways, I’m still in that room, listening to the constant hiss of pure oxygen emitting from a loose port in the cracked, drab wall, under the dull glow of hospital lighting.
The ward was so quiet that night you could almost feel a wave of calm wash over you. The silence was occasionally broken by alarms and the presence of security personnel racing to avoid potential disasters, but otherwise, it fell to my brother-in-law, his cousin and myself to fill the room with conversations of better days when dad was strong and vital. And so we did. There was laughter. (I almost fell off my chair at one point. God knows what the nurses thought.) There was nostalgia. There was regret. And of course, there were tears.
But not enough tears in my estimation. I didn’t break down that night. Nor did I at the funeral. I’m waiting for the dam to burst but I cannot reach my grief and yank it out.
So be it.
I’ll continue to move forward, taking solace in my wife, daughter, colleagues and friends, both virtual and “real” – whatever that word even means these days. Here then, are a few tidbits of guest nuttiness I have been fortunate enough to overhear this week.
1) “I’m from Quebec City; my English is still sleeping this morning! Help me!”
2) “I’m never dating a banker again! He kept wanting to make a “deposit” in my ‘rear safety deposit box'”!
My response to that particular nugget?
“As long as he doesn’t make a series of ‘early withdrawals’, you’ll be fine.”
Nice to know I still have it. Let’s continue, shall we?
3) “I don’t want a bellman to help me! I’m an accountant!”
4) “My friend and I have a giant penis cake. Can you take it?”
Naturally, my initial response was silence – which seemed to last forever. Luckily, I quickly realized the young ladies wanted me to store their ginormous confectionery member while they waited for their room to be ready. And so I did. Of course, I made sure I wheeled it through the lobby, past the throngs of cheerleaders, blue-haired old ladies and snobby corporate drones.
Maybe I am back after all.
See you in the lobby, kids….
UPDATE: Read this tweet and be amazed. Watch this video and be enthralled. That is all.