Being a bellman is akin to being a soldier.
Except for the “serving your country while selflessly wading into danger” part, of course.
But otherwise, there are more similarities than differences.
- Most bellmen have military-style haircuts.
- The hours suck.
- Adherence to a mind-numbing routine becomes the norm.
- The food often sucks.
- You have to keep your equipment (luggage carts), and uniforms in perfect working order and spotless.
- Bellmen have to be well-oiled machines capable of infiltrating and navigating hostile territory in record time.
- There is a chain of command that cannot be superseded. (Except by yours truly, of course.)
And finally, bellmen often walk right into minefields that are disguised as safe zones.
In this particular case, the safe zone was the hotel’s penthouse suite, often referred to by staff as “The Top Of The World”.
- Corner-to-corner windows that bathe the room in enough light to wipe out an entire vampire clan in one blast.
- Ultra-chic furnishings that would make Brooke Shields weep.
- Palatial bathrooms.
- Big, strong beds – that get put to the test, trust me.
- A view to die for – and some people do when they get the bill.
The Top Of The World is Heaven encased in concrete and wood. Though to be honest, the temporary residents are usually far from angelic.
“Hey, buddy! I need two carts to the penthouse suite ASAP! I’ll tip you good! Don’t bring those crappy silver carts, I need the good gold ones with the bars to hang shit from! You feel me?”
And so it began. Mr. Personality was a standard, brash, white American male cut came from the same Confederate flag as a million other white American males. His manner – and his voice, for that matter – were as smooth as shattered glass but otherwise, he was completely generic in appearance. Although, he was buzzed at noon on a Friday. At any rate, I made my way to The Top Of The World where, we’ll call him “Mr. Scratch” for reasons that will soon be obvious, was waiting.
“All right, pal! I need you to load all this shit, and there’s plenty of it, on both carts! And I need you to check every room carefully! My boy and I had a wild night, so we need you to make sure we didn’t forget anything, all right? Cool room, right? You been up here before?”
ME: Yes, sir, I have and yes, I’ll check every room. To begin with, I notice there is some make-up on the floor beside you.
MR. SCRATCH: Oh that! That there belongs to the wild girls we ordered last night! We’ll never see them again so don’t trouble yourself with their shit! Just get our stuff and I’ll give you as good tip, all right?
ME: Got it.
And so I channeled my inner Sherlock and conducted a meticulous search of The Top Of The World. Aside from dozens of wet towels, dirty drinking glasses and food plates and wrappers, the room was pretty dull.
Then I checked the second bathroom.
Magnum condom wrappers – and their used contents – were littered around the room, scattered amongst the towels and other refuse. The stench of copulation was barely detectable but lingered nonetheless. A single thought burned its way through my consciousness and demanded to be shared.
ME: You said you were here with your son, sir?
MR. SCRATCH: Yeah, what about it? Wait that reminds me… GATES! (His voice resonated like thunder over the Alabama plains.) GET YOUR ASS OFF THAT COUCH AND GET YOURSELF TOGETHER! WE’RE GOIN’ AS SOON AS THIS GUY LOADS OUR SHIT UP!
I couldn’t contain my laughter. Not that Mr. Scratch cared. His mind was racing too fast to register anything but his own ramblings.
MR. SCRATCH: Hey, you seen the view from here, Boss? I could spend days just staring at it, know what I mean?
ME: I do. Just out of curiosity, did the ladies enjoy it?
MR. SCRATCH: What, the view?
ME: Yeah, sure we’ll go with that.
MR. SCRATCH: Who cares? They weren’t here to take in the view, they were here to take –
ME: I get it, sir! No need to elaborate.
With that, I set out to the master bedroom and began to load up six paper shopping bags, four suitcases, three duffel bags, several dress shirts, two bags of liquor bottles and assorted sundries.
MR. SCRATCH: Told you that we had a lot of shit! I’ll tip you good, though! Turns out, I found a lot of stuff I wanted! That’s why you needed the gold carts. You can hang the paper bags up there… but only if they’re strong enough, right?
ME: Indeed! Don’t want your shit dropping all over, now do we?
MR. SCRATCH: Hells, no! You can help me load the car, right? I’ll tip you good!
ME: I think I heard that. It’s a deal. Tell you what, you peel your son off the couch and I’ll head down to the valet deck. We’ll meet up and double-team your car.
Poor choice of words.
MR. SCRATCH: Double-team? That reminds me –
ME: EASY, SIR! I really don’t need the imagery! I get the picture all too clearly.
Mr. Scratch was speechless. For an all-too brief moment. He grabbed his dazed-and-confused son and met up with me in the guest elevator. And he only had to stop twice to flirt with housekeepers. Finally, we reached his car.
I stood motionless for a moment, quietly contemplating the challenge that lay ahead: two carts, as fully loaded as Lindsay Lohan on a movie set, and the tinest BMW they make – with a trunk that was already fully loaded. A walk in the park, right?
Not quite. But after twenty minutes of shuffling, chucking and rearranging (and plenty of ‘I’ll tip you good, buddy!’), we were all set.
MR. SCRATCH: Well, I gotta say, that’s a helluva packin’ job, Boss! Ain’t that a great job, Gates?
Gates was barely alive, but he nodded and smiled.
ME: I’m not just a pretty face and a Thor-like body, sir.
MR. SCRATCH: HA! Well, a deal’s a deal… (he peeled off a few bills), here you go, Boss!
I shoved the wad into my pocket and set off to secure some bleach for my brain.
See you in the lobby, kids…
Other Stuff I Did This Week When I Wasn’t
Battling Serving Guests
I ate an entire bag of candy for dinner one night.
I prayed to a deity I barely believe in while vowing to never again eat an entire bag of candy for dinner.