Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Man With An Animal's Brain

There's a film called "The Scout" from the early 90's starring Albert Brooks and Brendan Fraser about a baseball scout who discovers and immensely talented but emotionally disturbed American pitcher in Mexico. I haven't seen it since I was kid, so I'm not sure if it holds up now, but I remember it being one of my favorites when I was a pubescent little jerk-off.

Brendan Fraser plays the pitcher in his typical Brendan Fraser "calm and coy then explodes with unprovoked anger" fashion. His character eventually signs with the Yankees and blah blah blah movie stuff. At one point in the film, the naive Fraser, comes to Albert Brooks to verify a valid point made by his building's doorman. This could potentially cost Brooks' character money, so he tells him the following:

"The doorman told you that? A doorman is a man with an animal's brain."

As a kid, I found this line hysterical. And I'll admit that, for a long time, I believed it.

But, like most people, I became a grown-up. Unfortunately, not everyone grows up to be grown-ups. Here are some:

-Two midwestern hags spend their entire stay perpetually asking the same mindless questions that I hear at least 100 times a day: "Where is Times Square?" "Where is Central Park?" "Where is Ground Zero?". These ladies didn't have an interesting bone in their bodies, which is fine. Not everyone is as well-versed as yours truly. I'll clown around with them and make them laugh, because I'm silly like that.

Their last night in the hotel, I opened the door for them and noticed that they were a little more gussied up than usual.

Me- "Looking ravishing, ladies! What's the occasion?"

Hag- "Oh, we're going to the thee-ay-ter."

She actually fucking said it like that.

Me- "Great! What show are you seeing?"

I love theatre, and I see a lot of shows.

Hag- "Oh, you wouldn't know it."

Me- "Try me."

Hag- "Seriously, you wouldn't know it."

Oh, ok. A doorman can't be cultured. I get it.

Me- "I insist."

Hag- "Freud's Last Session."

Freud's Last Session, in a nutshell, is Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis pontificating about religion for 90 minutes. It's a piece of shit, and I had seen it several weeks prior.

Me- "Yeah, I saw that a couple of weeks ago."

Hag- "REALLY?!?!"

She said it like I told her that Paul McCartney was staying in the hotel.

Me- "Yes."

Hag- "How is it?"

It was like a serving up a hanging curveball to Babe Ruth.

Me- "It sucks."

I wish I could produce the sound of a balloon deflating on cue. Her face sank and her shoulders slumped simultaneously. The other hag just started at me stupidly.

They walked away, defeated, and I never saw them again.

- Some yuppie asshole who wasn't a guest approaches me. He looked like one of the bad fraternity brothers from Animal House, 30 years later.

Yuppie- "You probably don't know, but where could I get a nice bottle of wine around here?"

There's a liquor store 50 feet from the hotel, with a giant sign that says "WINES & LIQUORS." He was also holding an iPhone.

Me- "Why wouldn't I know where to get a nice bottle of wine?"

Yuppie- (smugly) "You just look like more of a Bud Light guy."

Me- "I don't think that's a fair assumption. I could make wine in my basement, for all you know."

Yuppie- "We'll... Umm-"

Me- "Are you even a guest in the hotel?"

Yuppie- "Well, no. I just figured-"

Me- "Figured you could just waltz on over from the street and insult me?"

Yuppie- "Look, I didn't mean to offend you, I'm just looking for a liquor store. Do you know where I could find one?"

Me- "Sorry, I don't drink."

That's a lie. He looked at me, baffled.

Yuppie- "OK... uh... thank you for your time, sir."

I got him to call me "sir." A very proud moment, indeed.

He turned the other way and walked right past the massive fucking sign to the liquor store.

- A black guy with braces comes outside and asks me to hail a cab for his girlfriend. This is a couple hours after I sent him to "a nice restaurant that I could wear sweatpants in." They were pleasantly satisfied. No tip.

Black Guy- "Yo, can you catch my girl cab?"

Me- "Absolutely. Where to?"

Black Guy- "East Village."

Me- "Sure thing."

I started to head towards the street and could feel him quietly creeping behind me. I'm thinking he's going to slip me a couple of bucks, which is a generic "cool guy" move done in front of women.

No. Instead, he gets right in my ear and says "must not be that easy to hail a cab with that little suit on, right?"

First of all- HUH?!?! What the fuck does that even mean?!?

Second- OK, weirdo. Why are you presenting this like it's a secret? The whole point of humiliating someone to build yourself up is to have a third party witness the occurrence. His girl was nowhere near us. Look at you, adult with braces, you can't even be rude to the help! Nice mouth, dick!!!

And, finally- I could be naked and waving a bloody chainsaw over my head and still have an easier time getting a cab than you.

Just as I was completing all of these awful thoughts, I turned to see him thumbing through his wallet to pull out a ten dollar bill.

Black Guy- "Here, I didn't get you before."

Fuck.

I never said that I was always right.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Doorman Misses the Super Bowl

I love very few things- my family, halal food, Breaking Bad, and the New York Football Giants. When they shocked the world and beat the undefeated, cheating Patriots in 2008, I swore that I didn't need to see them win for another 20 years. I also swore that until I had a child, that day will go down as the greatest of my life. My wedding day would likely not top the euphoria I experienced seeing my beloved G-men take home the Lombardi Trophy. I've told this to women that I've dated and, well, still single, ladies.

So when the Giants went on another improbable run this year, I wasn't as amped as I was in the past, but it was still awesome. Only problem was that since I was the low-man in seniority, I'd undoubtedly would be working during the game. Not good. I tried not to think about it in the days leading up to the game, but as it got closer, reality set in-

I'm going to miss the Giants in the fucking Super Bowl.

UNACCEPTABLE.

My shift started at 4pm that day and they had me inside as a bellman. The way my hotel works is that the guy with the least seniority has to cover the door when the doorman goes on break. I worked out a deal with the doorman, who didn't care about the game, that would have me covering the door at the start of the 4th quarter, so I could take my lunch at the end of the game and (hopefully) see Eli orchestrate another magnificent 4th quarter comeback. Sounds perfect, right?

Fuck, no. This is ME we're talking about.

I downloaded the NFL mobile app, which claimed to stream the game live. So all I had to to is have my iPhone nice and charged up and put the game on mute in my pocket. The other 2 points of getting information on the game were the girls at the front desk, who had it on the computer so they can watch the commercials and halftime show on mute, and a 13 inch tv from the early 90's in the break room.

Here's how my evening went (the times are my best estimate):

6:30pm- I walk into the storage closet and open the NFL mobile app. It's tells me that it's loading. That's ok, still eight minutes before kick-off.

6:32pm- Still loading. I become impatient.

6:35pm- The first "go fuck yourself" at an inanimate object of the evening. There will be many more.

6:37pm- The bell rings. My turn to bring a guest up. Brazilian family, eight monster suitcases to bring up. They wave at me, point to the cases, and stroll toward the elevator. I'm going to miss kick-off. Cock.

6:40pm- It takes two carts to bring the luggage upstairs. There is a line for the elevator. I'm upset.

6:50pm- I finally get an elevator. The General Manager squeezes in. I can't take my phone out. I want to die.

6:53pm- I knock on the door to the room. I hear them giggling and celebrating the land of many department stores. I check my phone, it's 2-0 Giants. I missed a fucking safety. I consider faking an injury.

6:54pm- I remember that I'm a pussy, back out of faking injury plan.

6:58pm- Brazilians give me a $2 tip for eight bags up. I look at them with contempt, they are oblivious. I sadly leave the room.

7:03pm- I return to the lobby. I power-walk over to reception and ask what the score is. The girl says "zero-two." This makes me psychotically angry.

7:05pm- I return to the bellman closet and open my NFL mobile app. Loading.

7:07pm- Still loading.

7:10pm- Still fucking loading.

7:11pm- 2nd "Go fuck yourself" at an inanimate object of the evening. This time, it's much louder.

7:12pm- I'm paranoid that someone of importance heard me scream cuss words at my cell phone and get the fuck out of the bell closet.

7:13pm- Power-walk to the front desk. I ask for the score. "zero-nine". I've missed a touchdown. I ask how it happened, and she looks at me like I just asked her to explain how Google creates their search algorithms.

7:14pm- I'm not allowed behind the front desk. I go back there anyway. The girls are giggling at a commercial. The manager asks me to leave.

7:15pm- I leave. I realize that I've haven't seen another bellman since kickoff. Scumbags.

7:16pm- I return to the closet. The second I take my phone out, the bell rings. I ignore it.

7:17pm- The bell rings again. I tell the bell to go fuck itself. It responds by ringing again. I storm out to the lobby.

7:18pm- More Brazilians.

Fast Forward an hour.

I've given up trying to get the NFL mobile app to work. Brady has helped the Patriots regain the lead. I've seen maybe 30 seconds of live action. I'm jumping out of my skin.

8:30pm- I download a radio app and find a station that sounds like Madonna singing "Vogue". The halftime show!!! There is hope.

Now that I have the game on the radio, the 3rd quarter was uneventful. The doorman took his break just as the 4th quarter was set to begin.

Patriots-17
Giants-15

9:45pm- I'm running a pair of headphones up from my back pocket, through the back of my jacket, up into my earmuffs. I look in the mirror, the headphones are invisible. I rule.

9:48pm- I brag to the first guest I open the door for about my plan to listen to the game. They don't care.

9:50pm- My first Cosmo Kramer-esque series of violent contortions reacting to an exciting play. People on the street look at me like I'm insane. I don't care.

9:55pm- The Patriots are driving. I'm getting nervous. I begin to pace back and forth. Brady keeps churning out first downs.

9:57pm- A little girl approaches me. She couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 years-old.

Little Girl- "ehhhh where is to find a hot dog stand?"

It's New York City. Throw a rock, you fucking idiot.

I could think of at least 10 in the immediate area, but I was so caught up in the game that I drew a blank.

Me- "ummm... Err... Uhhh... Just walk to Times Square."

Little Girl- "Ehhhh yes, but where is to find a hot dog stand near zee hotel?"

As she is saying this, this is what I hear in my earbuds:

"Brady drops back, gets set, gets hit, breaks free! Scrambles to the right and throws it down field and it's... INTERCEPTED BY CHASE BLACKBURN AND THE GIANTS HAVE IT!"

Me- "AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!"

I screamed right in her face. I couldn't help it. And it wasn't just a yelp; my face turned red, my eyes budged out of their sockets and every vein in my neck and forehead came to the surface.

She looks up at me. Her doughy little eyes begin to well up with tears. Her chin quivers.

Oops.

10:00pm- I apologize and give her directions to her precious little hot dog stand.

10:15pm- Doorman returns and starts telling me about some stupid commercial. I call him a cocksucker for taking too long. At this point, the Patriots have gotten the ball back and were driving down the field again with less than 5 minutes left.

10:16pm- I power walk to the time clock behind the front desk. The manager asks me to take a guest's luggage up to the room. It's one suitcase. The assholes couldn't handle that? I tell him that I'm going on break. He tells me that there are no other bellman available, and if I want to keep my job, I'm going to do what I'm told. I consider punching him in the face and sprinting to the pub around the corner to watch the end of the game.

10:17pm- I remember that I'm a pussy, back out of plan.

10:18pm- I'm in the elevator. I straddle the suitcase, place my buttocks on the handle, and lay down a wet, sloppy fart. It sounds like someone drowning a duck in a toilet.

10:19pm- The elevator smells heinous.

10:22pm-I fling guest's luggage across the room, say "enjoy your stay" and chug down the hallway without waiting for a tip.

10:24pm- I decide to take the elevator to the 3rd floor, which takes you through the kitchen, down some steps and into the break room to avoid the lobby.

10:25pm- The elevator door opens. The little girl is standing there with her hot dog. She put ketchup on it. Where the fuck were her parents? She walks past me, frightened.

10:26pm- In the elevator. I turn on the radio app and hear the following commentary:

"And this will not get overturned. What a catch by Mario Manningham! One of the best catches you'll ever see!"

If you watched, you know what I'm taking about. I missed the best play of the game. I had the opportunity to see it, but I didn't because I followed the rules like a little bitch and tried to clock out on my lunch break.

10:28pm- I get off the elevator and sprint through the kitchen. A Mexican dishwasher tells me to slow the fuck down. I don't.

10:29pm- I get to the staircase. It's short, maybe 6 steps with no rug. I slip on the second step and ride down the rest of them on my back.

10:30pm- I stagger into the break room like a drunk zombie. The television is off.

Remember when I said that the TV was from the early 90's? I was about to find that out the hard way.

10:31pm- I search the room for a remote. No remote. I begin jumping around like a caveman trying to find a button on the TV.

10:32pm- I can't find the button. I begin to cry.

10:33pm- I tell the television to go fuck itself. Then I decide that isn't enough, that the television clearly deserves more punishment, so I close my fist and punch the screen with everything I've got. I scream in pain.

10:34pm- I'm on my knees holding my hand. I notice that on the bottom of the television, there's a little cover. I lift it open.

THE POWER BUTTON!!!!!

I turn the game on. 2 minute warning. Giants are down 17-15.

I watched the the final two minutes of the game with a sore hand, back, and psyche. Eli completes another 4th quarter comeback. Ahmad Bradshaw scores the most anti-climatic game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl history. When Tom Brady threw that last Hail Mary into the end zone for an incomplete pass, ending the game, I jumped up and down and celebrated by myself, then called my Dad and brothers with tears in my eyes. In it's own sadistic way, it was almost perfect.

Giants- 21
Patriots- 17

12:10am- I walk into the pub around the corner and order a Guinness. The crowd has teetered with the exception of a few drunks. I sip my beer and enjoy two hours worth of highlights and analysis.

It was the most satisfying beer I've ever drank in my life, bar none.