As I scribble these words in an unbelievably-worn notebook to be transcribed to the web later, hordes of cheerleaders, cheer parents and cheer coaches are checking out of the hotel.
Truthfully, I’m cool with that. Ridiculously-cool, in fact. Don’t get me wrong though, having three thousand “cheer people” stay in the hotel is a much-needed boost to our off-season sales. it’s all about heads in beds, kids.
But having three thousand “cheer people” in the hotel – and thousands more in the city of Niagara Falls – is not good for one’s already-tenuous sanity. Still, if I can survive six mind-boggling seasons of LOST, I can survive pretty anything, right?
But back to the great cheer exodus of 2016. I was standing at the Valet Desk, as I often do during the early hours of Sunday morning, before all hell breaks loose, educating the young Valet Desk coordinator on the finer points of Eighties films (of all genres, mainstream and not-so-mainstream) when a young French-Canadian cheer coach approached us.
She was of average height but exceptional build, with beautiful raven locks and a decent amount of face paint. (I only mention the make-up because most of the super-young cheerleaders I’ve seen this year look like hookers, to put it mildly.) Her thin frame was covered in tight workout pants and a figure-hugging green top. She was a fine representative of Quebec.
CHEER COACH: (Looking right at me, through to my soul.) You do me, please?
ME: (Clearing my throat while giggling.) Excuse me, miss?
CC: You do me? With rollie cart?
The picture became a little less murky – but no less amusing.
CC: I need you!
ME: I can help you with your luggage, miss, if that’s what you want.
CC: Yes! You do me?
ME: (Putting the Cheshire Cat to shame.) Certainly! I’ll see you at your room in a few minutes.
And so I set out to do my part for provincial relations. I knocked on the young lady’s door and that’s when things got weird – even for my life. There she stood at the door, accompanied by another cheer coach. The original CC stood motionless, a slight smile on her face, a toothbrush in her mouth – and no top on.
That’s right, she had a black lace bra over her… croissants, but nothing more. To make matters even stranger, neither coach would move so I could enter the room and collect their bags. They just stood in the doorway, grinning slightly at me as two of their compatriots placed all their luggage in the far corner of the room, rather than putting it close to the door as is the norm. Why make it easy on the Anglophone, right?
Finally, I had to say something. After all, my shift was only nine hours long and time was wasting away. Plus, the whole situation was just bizarre. I mean, these French gals just weren’t moving. CC just stood there, a toothbrush protruding from her small mouth as a mixture of toothpaste and drool collected at the corners of her lips.
ME: Ladies, can someone please move before I wind up divorced?
It was all I could come up with. To be honest, I just wanted to get anything out before I said something truly horrible, as I’ve been known to do.
To my horror, they didn’t move an inch. Don’t ask me what they were waiting for; if they had an agenda they surely would have enacted it within a minute, right? Anyone walking by in the hall would have had a helluva vacation tale to tell.
Finally, I just walked in, basically forcing my way into the room.
They scattered, Topless CC headed back into the bathroom and her colleague headed further into the room at last.
But no one lifted a bag any closer to the door, which, quite honestly, was fine with me. I prefer to load my cart myself; as a bellman there are very few situations I have complete and total control over.
Sadly, the story becomes conventional after that. I loaded the cart, met the No-Longer-Topless-CC and another of her colleagues in the parking garage where I loaded their van and accepted my cash tip. Each of us did a Fleetwood Mac and went our own way.
Sorry if I’ve disappointed you, folks, but while my life as a bellman occasionally steers into Penthouse Letters territory, I have to immediately do a course-correction. I’m bound by a strict code of conduct that I play fast loose with enough as it is. Plus, the wife would kill me.
You that wasn’t a euphemism, right? She’d actually be responsible for the life leaving my body. Not that I’d blame her.
And on that matrimonial note, I’ll see you in the lobby, folks…