To some of my colleagues outside the Bell department I am a stone wall – with many, many cracks.
The cracks often release fits of anger and frustration, mostly the latter, when I find myself in a service elevator, safely ensconced away from the traveling public. To a hospitality line worker such as myself, service areas, elevators and back corners of parking garages are a temporary refuge where one can blow off steam without fear of reprisal from an aghast guest.
Yes, that one was a bit wordy… If I was any good at this sort of thing do you think I’d be rejected so often by the CBC, The Huffington Post (on both sides of the border) and dozens of celebrities on Twitter?
Venting my pain in private and online helps keep my mood (somewhat) under control when I go home. Otherwise, I ‘d be a Canadian Al Bundy, shouting, “Hey, Jackie… Guess what happened at the
shoe store hotel today!” Another trick is to have fun with travelers whenever possible. Old folks are the greatest audience… they’ll believe pretty much anything if you sell it right.
GRANDMA AGNES: (Trust me, she was an Agnes if I’d ever seen one.) What the devil happened to you, dear?
Agnes’ confusion stemmed from my arms. You see, when the weather is nice enough I wear a vinyl jacket with the hotel logo on it. However, when I take the jacket off it leaves a pronounced ring around both arms. (I pull the jacket up in a tribute to Don Johnson and the Eighties in general.) The result is a comedic device with zero statute of limitations.
ME: Oh, you mean my arms? Well you see.. there was a freak accident while I was unloading a trunk… And contrary to popular belief, free Canadian health care isn’t all its cracked up to be…
GRANDMA AGNES: (Pondering for a moment.) Oh my!
At this point I have two choices:
- Let the comedic cat out of the bag and hope she gets the joke. (Which they always do.)
- Let her walk away and hope she spreads the word about the “Frankenstein Bellman” she met in Niagara Falls.
I can usually go either way, knowing full well the results will be both satisfying and hilarious.
And now onto another humorous convo!
MANAGER WHO SHALL REMAIN FOREVER NAMELESS: (What am I, stupid? I love the HR gals but I refuse to spend anymore time down there than absolutely necessary!) Hey, Robert, am I correct in assuming you’re the bellman who tells the guests, “You can check out any time you like… but you can never leave,” when they ask “What time is checkout?”
ME: So now it’s my fault our guests have an appalling lack of pop culture knowledge?
As it turns out, it really isn’t. However… I’m sure you can see where this went, right? The good news is the manager in question is used to my rather “unique” sense of humor so it was all good. My point is this: good material, we’re talking comedy gold, is hard to come by so if you find a routine or two that works for you… Work it to death.
And don’t ever feel bad about working that material; this world could use some yuks these days… And an honest, coherent politician or ten.
See you in the lobby, kids…