Pay No Attention To The Hook Behind The Curtain…

Well, I’d like you to pay attention for a few minutes… longer if you’re a slow reader.

But after that, feel free to return to your search for the greatest pet shaming pic/video of all time.

I was recently reminded of a conversation I had with a mentor who remarked, “I think people will really love your work. It takes them behind-the-scenes, to a world they never get to see.” This is true, of course. Some of my adventures literally take place behind closed doors – though they’re not all worth sharing.

Like the hours I spend reading books (mostly comics, naturally) in the bellmen’s storage room/HQ. That YouTube live-feed wouldn’t exactly set the world on fire…

But I’d like to show you exactly what I do all day – when I’m actually doing something, that is.

 1)  Joe Average drives onto the hotel’s valet deck.  He’s braved traffic (including all those nasty Canadian potholes), threatened to turn the car around eighteen times and scrapped with his spouse over directions ten times. Now Joe’s ready to enter the next phase of Family Vacation Hell.

2)  The Doorman asks him if he wants assistance with his luggage.  If he’s like most husbands, Joe will bitch and moan about wanting to do it himself (because he’s a cheap bastard), but ultimately, his spouse will win out.

Shocking, isn’t it?

3)  The Doorman fetches a Bellman.  And so I put down my Walking Dead trade paperback and moan as I get up from my office chair (yes, Ive reached that age), and head out to spread some hospitality cheer.

4)  I arrive at Joe’s mini-van.  Joe pops the back door. We’re both amazed/dismayed by all the crap bags his family packed. Like most husbands, Joe remarks:

“Hey, where did we get all this shit from? Do we even own this much shit? Seriously!”

Yes, Joe, you really own that much… stuff. My response is the same every single time.

“You won’t see me complaining, sir. Without all this shit, I wouldn’t have a job!”

It’s perfectly acceptable for a bellman to curse if the guest has already opened that foul door, kids.

5)  I make all Joe’s stuff fit on one cart – somehow.  After almost twenty years, my packing skills are vast, friends.

6)  As he continues to scrap with his family, I hand Joe a luggage tag.  He remarks, “What the hell is this?”, and I give the same response every single time:

“I’m not accompanying you to the Front Desk, sir, so just take this tag (which you’ll most likely shove somewhere and lose), call the blue number on it, give us the black number on the side and we’ll deliver your bags. It’s so simple, a Kardashian could do it!”

Granted, the Kardashian thing is new. But Joe’s response isn’t.

“How the hell are you going to know which room I’m in?”

My response usually gives guests pause.

“I’m psychic. That’s why they hired me.”

Seriously, guests often simply stand there staring at me until I let them off the hook.

7)  I park Joe’s cart in the storage room and return to my desk/back room to await his call.  In-between, I’ll do more calls (hopefully), scribble future posts in a weathered notebook, read some more and hear myself age. Sometimes the wait is unbelievably-tedious; January 5, I sat down at the Bell Desk at seven in the morning. My first call was at ten thirty.

8)  The call will come in!  Then the real fun begins, as I grab my luggage cart, head out into the lobby, bypass the hordes of travelers and wait for the service elevator in one of the hotel’s three towers.

And I wait…

And I wait…

And I wait…

We have one thousand guest rooms, over a thousand employees at peak seasonal periods, and five service elevators for three towers. The math makes my head throb.

9)  I arrive at Joe Average’s room.  As you are no doubt aware by now, this is the moment where literally anything can happen.

  • He could pull out a gun and wave it around. (This has happened once and luckily, the moron in question was just bragging about the size of his barrel.)
  • The kids could be hopped-up on Red Bull and literally bouncing off the walls.
  • Mrs. Average could be incredibly-flirtatious – or a total mega-bitch. It could go either way.

When you’re a bellman you just don’t know what’s going to happen when the guest answers the door.

And that’s what makes the job so appealing.

That, and the chicks, money and fame.

10)  I survive the experience and live to return to the lobby and do it all again.  Yes, there is a great deal of monotony in this business, but at the end of the day, no two days are identical. 

There you have it. A snapshot of my day in all its mind-numbing tedium and potential glory.

See you in the lobby, kids…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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30 Responses to Pay No Attention To The Hook Behind The Curtain…

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Number 5 kills. May you always receive a hefty tip. Just wow.

  2. You and my husband must be cut from the same cloth – packing finesse is a marketable skill and I bow in awe. Loved this, Hook!

    PS: You won’t believe this, but last week I was talking to my bff about you. She and her hubby celebrate 15 years of marriage, me and my hubby celebrate 25…we think we should book a trip and come visit you. Though…we would be comparatively boring.
    PSS: E-mail coming soon. I’m getting my blog (and life) in order!

  3. Joe Average likely needs help re-packing his mini van, but I imagine the depth of your hospitality ends there. I, too, have a husband with boss-like packing skills – likely to rival mine – as we both volley for the closest position to the trunk. It’s really quite comical. Sort of.

  4. Reminds me of standing watch in port at the gangway of ships I used to work on. Night shift was beyond boring, and day shift could be so busy at times your head would spin. It’s one of those jobs where you are either bored witless or scrambling… and no tips. I’d love to come to your hotel; I’ve never stayed in one that has a bellman. Looking forward to more stories!

  5. davidprosser says:

    I can’t help but wonder what you’re going to do if a Kardashian ever comes and can’t do it. I’m convinced both of those things are a possibility.

  6. jlheuer says:

    Well at least you have time for reading and blogging. Could be worse, like construction in the winter. (-4 here this morning)

  7. My hubby is amazing at trunk/car Tetris! I am always amazed at the fact he can pack anything (well almost anything) anywhere (well almost anywhere) he he! Stay safe Robert! 🙂

  8. curvyroads says:

    My fav line: “I’m psychic. That’s why they hired me.”

  9. You know I wholly believe you are destined for fame, that your stories are SO MEANT to be seen by the world – well, those parts that are blessed with the perspective to have interest in travel, etc., as opposed to say, basic survival.

    Anyhoo, I swear, one of these days we are going to hit on the right note at the right time… it just has to be. And also, I am going to now, forever, send you my packing items for completion prior to any of my travels.

  10. You say “psychic”, they hear “psycho”….

  11. Great recap. I still think it would be fun to shadow you for a day.

  12. All part of life’s rich tapestry.

  13. A far more exciting day than mine, keep up the good work sir.

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