Ten travelers stand in a hotel lobby, complete strangers to one another, bound only by their temporary location in time and space.
Silently I sit at my desk, my perch, my observation post in the greatest experiment in all of human history.
Or maybe not. Depends on your opinion of my virtual musings, I suppose. At any rate, here are a few simple observations, from a simple man of the bell variety, of ten specific travelers I happened to take notice of for a few minutes on a random day.
NUMBER ONE: A weekend hooker – who, based on multiple sightings on various consecutive days, appears to have been contracted for a week.
She is a willowy ginger, with legs that go on for miles.
She is, I’m willing to bet, a lost little girl with faded dreams. (Yes, I realize some sex workers are enlightened, empowered individuals, but this girl doesn’t strike me as the type that had many choices available to her growing up.)
She is someone’s daughter.
The love of someone’s life?
But at this moment, she is an actress, a liar, a deceiver, catering to a client who wants nothing more than to be caught up in a charade, a beautiful lie, a sexy deception.
NUMBER TWO: The client in question, a towering, raven-haired, hockey mom whose face I’ve seen before, but whose predilection for young, nubile, female flesh comes as a shock – but only for a moment.
Casting my memory back twelve months, I can recall a woman with three rambunctious tween boys, a snarling mother-in-law, and an indifferent husband who spent more time examining other female travelers rather than pay attention to his spouse.
Payback really is a bitch, buddy.
Her gaze revolves between the valet deck and her unbelievably-alluring temporary prize. She reaches out and strokes her companion’s chestnut locks. Their eyes meet.
(Yeah, okay, I’ll admit I’m really watching, but it’s in the interest of science, I swear!)
The hockey mom moves forward slowly and parts her lips slightly, no doubt preparing to devour the eager lips of her concubine… but loses her nerve after pausing to examine her surroundings.
Okay, so perhaps I was watching a little too closely. I’m not trained for stealth; I’m a bellman, not Bond.
They depart in the hockey mom’s Audi two agonizing, incredibly-awkward minutes later.
I really do miss all the good stuff…
NUMBER THREE: A sizable, twenty-something, African-American, male New Yorker with more muscles in his upper body than I have in my entire form. Based on the number of eyes on him in the lobby, I can surmise that he draws attention everywhere he goes – but his attention is focused solely on his phone.
He cannot draw his attention away from it; whatever it contains is thrilling enough for him to willingly ignore his traveling companion.
NUMBER FOUR: His traveling companion. She is as white and blonde as he is black. Her frame is as average is his is superior. She is as tiny as he is enormous. But her gaze is as fixed on her phone as his is on his own. They rise together from their lobby easy chairs – but separate, as each remains distracted by their tech – and head deeper into the lobby. It is then that I begin to piece the puzzle together.
Her steps are dawdling, no doubt deliberately. Her back is arched slightly, as if weakened after enduring a great trial. Her legs remain incredibly-close together, as if they had been through a rigorous workout.
Just try to imagine a Nubian Godzilla mating with a common house cat. The picture becoming clearer?
One can only imagine she was Googling, “Where can I get a reasonably-priced vaginal reconstructive surgery performed?”
NUMBER FIVE: A remarkably unremarkable chap, with dirty glasses, a receding hairline and a pasty, white face that has seen better days.
Oh wait, that’s just my reflection in the Bell Desk’s computer screen.
NUMBER SIX? I honestly don’t know what the deal is with this guest. Cloaked in a heavy blue fabric hood and a form-concealing, full-length, black leather coat, this individual cuts a shadowy figure, preferring to remain hidden in plain sight. He/She/It has gone so far as to take up a position in the only dimly lit corner of an otherwise fully illuminated lobby.
They may be an assassin. They may be a horribly-disfigured mutant, created by exposure to life-changing microwaves while watching Trump orientation videos. They may simply be shy.
I’ll never know.
And neither will you.
Life’s funny that way sometimes.
NUMBER SEVEN: A middle-aged corporate executive, determined to wring every last second of productivity out of the day. She sits tensely on a lobby bench and types away furiously on her laptop, oblivious to the world racing ahead without her.
She obviously doesn’t realize the world doesn’t wait for anyone…
Get busy really living or get busy dyin’, lady.
NUMBER EIGHT: An unusually-tall, Asian wannabe frat boy, decked out in stereotypical frat boy gear: an over-sized jersey, sports cap and baggy jeans and shoes that are at least two sizes past his weight class – waits for his “posse” to arrive. It’s clear the poor kid’s never had an original thought in his life.
But he looks happy, so perhaps ignorance really is bliss?
NUMBER NINE: A group of five actual American frat boys. Having served these… gentlemen the day before, I can attest to the fact they were sharing the same brain and so they qualify as one individual – barely – hence their inclusion here under a single heading.
Honestly, these boneheads stumbled right out of a low-rent version of Animal House. They were obnoxious, inebriated in the middle of the day, staring at and making lewd comments about young ladies barely old enough to qualify as ladies, and just being complete and total asses.
If it were not for the fact I was certain they were all going to perish before Fifty of liver failure and/or an STD, I would have been outraged.
NUMBER TEN: An insurance company sales exec. He is a Muslim male of average height and build. He is a regular guest. He is relatively quiet and reserved, despite his vocation, which I imagine would require one to be outgoing and somewhat aggressive in order to close a deal.
In short, he is an all-around nice guy/guest.
Regular readers of this blog are no doubt shocked right now.
“You mean nice guests actually exist, Hook? You’ve seriously met one?”
Yes and yes.
Good luck accepting that truth, people.
That’s all I have to offer today, friends. Take my insights/observations/sugar-induced-ramblings for what they’re worth, file them away in the appropriate place in your consciousnesses (I don’t even want to hazard a guess as to where that might be), and get on with your life.
That’s an order.
See you in the lobby, kids…