Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Name is Nunzio

I haven't been in a fight since high school. And for all the nasty things I say, I don't have an itch to relive those moments. Getting punched in the face sucks, but for me, actually having to strike another human being with my fists is worse. I'm more okay with getting hit than the notion of "fuck, now I have to hit this person." I have this recurring dream where I'm in a fight with some meathead, punching him in the jaw with everything I've got, while he laughs maniacally like my fists are made of toilet paper. All of this is happening with a large group of hot women standing behind him, pointing and laughing.

I'll admit that I'm one of idiots that will google "girl fights" and stay up till 4am watching vicious brawls on YouTube. Watching people that you don't know fight is a glorious activity, but the thought of getting into one in my adulthood is a scary thing. I honestly don't know how I would do in a fight now that I'm almost 30. 

You know that pulsating feeling you get after a heated argument or physical altercation? When your adrenaline is at 100mph, you heart is pounding, and all the blood has rushed your face? When you feel like you could flip over a truck without breaking a sweat? Yeah, being a doorman has eliminated that for me. Between the taxi drivers, gypsy cabs, and greedy bellmen, I average near-blows argument about two or three times per day. It's part of the job. I can scream in a man's face and tell him to fuck his mother one second, then be laughing about a weekend booze story the next. I've become so desensitized to fights to the point where I'll sometimes day dream when a savage Arab taxi driver is threatening to murder me.

Savage- "I will fucking kill you! I will fuck your ass!"

Me- (mouth open, staring at Central Park) :::Oh man, I'm watching the New York Giants build a dynasty. It's happening in my lifetime. Eli Manning is God:::

It's become very difficult to shake me, but everyone has a breaking point. I'm no tough guy, but I don't take anyone's shit, and won't in almost any situation. Though there are moments where anyone, even the most unflappable, can be frozen:

It was about 9pm and pouring. POURING. My doorman ass hat is mesh, so I have to put a clear shower cap over it and it looks ridiculous. I hadn't received a raincoat yet, and catering to the doorman is never a priority in a hotel, so I have to borrow the jacket of a bellman that's as big as Bane. I look like a fireman's 5-year-old son trying on his daddy's gear. Like clockwork, the hotel GM has taken his usual spot in the cafe to sip tomato soup and stare at me for an hour. Of all the things that he obsessively fixates on, the door and the man who opens it is priority nĂºmero uno. Seriously, this is the most mindless job I've ever had in my life and my boss breathes down my neck like I'm a floor trader for Merrill Lynch.

Was that a correct finance reference? Huh, successful people? 
A brand-new, black Range Rover pulls up in front of the entrance. Now, it's my job to approach any car that pulls up because for one, it might be a valet, and another being that I need to keep the loading zone clear. On any other night, in rain like this, I'd wait for them to let me know that they need help. Its usually done by a head nod or an "eeehhhh where is to park the car?". But with Fucko in the cafe watching my every move, I need to be prudent.

I can't see into the car very well,  but all I can make out is a guy on a cell phone and an expensive-looking pinky ring with an "N" carved into it. I step out to the car, in the pouring rain, and wait by the door. As I get closer, I see a well-dressed man with a gaudy chain and slicked-back hair. He sees me. He fucking knows I'm there with buckets of water being dumped on my head.

What a fucking asshole, I thought.

I give him about thirty seconds because, judging by the jolly manner in which he is yapping into the phone, the call doesn't seem all that god-damn important.  I knock on the window. Not a bang, just a gentle little knock-knock with one knuckle.

He is startled, but not as if I had scared him. Startled more like "is this guy fucking kidding me?"

He turns his face with a scowl, doesn't make eye contact, and points his finger toward the entrance of the hotel, and goes back to his conversation.

At first, I'm thinking that he's waiting for a guest to come out, so I go back to the door. Whatever. Fucking prick.

But he stays awhile.

10 minutes go by. Still there.

An airport shuttle pulls up behind him. Guests get soaked coming in because he's blocking the entrance. I begin to get angry. I feel the GM's eyes on me, wondering why I just let a group of people walk the 15 extra feet and who this guy was that I was letting just sit there.

The man gets out of his car and begins arranging things in his trunk. He's not very tall, but he's dressed and carries himself like a wise-guy. He's a fucking Guido, all grows up.

Now, I don't give a good god damn about what happens in front of that fucking hotel. There can be two Nazi's blowing each other with fire-spitting midgets cheering them on and I wouldn't do anything but laugh and tweet about it. Protecting the front of the hotel is not on my priority list.

What was beginning to set in was the blow to my pride.

This asshole blatantly disrespected me as a human being. He didn't have the decency to see what I wanted.

That point wasn't a "I'm picking someone up", that point was a big "fuck you".

He just thinks that he just sit in front of MY post and yap on his phone while all of these people get drenched coming in?!?

He couldn't move up 10 fucking feet?!?

He thinks that he could just point me away, like I'm some fucking peon?!?

He thinks he could make me look like an asshole in front of my boss, just so he could laugh and chat with one of his Goomba friends?!?


I march over. Everything slows down.  My heart starts pounding. It's the same feeling I got right before I punched Tom Monahan in the face in 7th grade - the only fight I've ever started. I didn't connect then. I was aiming for his jaw, but missed and hit him in the forehead. He was bigger than me. He pulled my New York Ranger Starter jacket over my head, which I didn't think to take off, and pummeled me until a teacher broke it up.

Don't be nervous, you've done this a thousand times.

I get to the door. He's texting.

I knock, this time with a little more conviction.

I take a step back, which turned out to be a very good move. He looks up and curls his lips, then swings the door open. He puts one leg out and hold the steering wheel with his right hand, his other hand goes on his knee. I catch another glimpse of his pinky ring. I wonder what that "N" would look like branded into my face.

Guido- "WHAT?"

Me- "Haya doin."

Guido- "What the fuck do you want?"

His voice is raspy and his New York accent is thick. I try to stand my ground. My mouth goes dry.

Me- "Just wanted to see what you were doing."

With my cotton mouth and forgetting to clear by throat, my voice cracked mid-sentence. Awesome.

Guido- "You wanna know what the fuck I'M doing?!? Who the fuck are you?!?"

I feel the blood rush to my face. Whatever it is that I'm going to say, it had better be good.

Me- "Well, this is a hotel. I'm the doorman."

Well, there ya have it. That was the best thing I could come up with.  I just handed over my dignity on a platter, and he was going to ravenously devour it.

Guido- "Oh, you're the doorman, huh? That's nice! Well, hey! The doorman is here! BIG FUCKIN DEAL! Let me ask you something, doorman - Do you know who the fuck I am?"

The back of my neck feels like someone was slapping it with a spatula. I take a hard, thick gulp.

Me- "No, can't say that I do."

Guido- "My name is Nunzio, and I don't give a fuck...Now go back to your door and mind your fuckin' business!"

I look him dead in the eye. He's not fucking around.
Now, if someone is going to use a line like that, that only means one of two things-

1. He's a tool.

2. He's a fucking lunatic.

I don't want to find out which one.

Me- "Alright."

I do a walk-of-shame, oversized jacket with my hands swallowed in the sleeves, back to the door. Once I get there, I awkwardly put my hands behind my back, then folded at my waist, then in my pockets, then one hand on the door and one at my side, all in a span of fifteen seconds.

He leaves about ten minutes later. When he's gone, I tell security about it, like a dick. Security, of course, radios the story down to the bellmen, who tell me how they would have handled it. The night crew is all young guys. They would have said "Yo, I don't give a fuck who you are. Get the fuck out of here." They would have fought the guy and won. They all have a solution as to how to remove the man from the front of the hotel. They're all tough guys.

The next day, I get to the locker room and tell some of the older bellmen the story and they laugh hysterically. They assure me that I did the right thing and all have similar stories. My favorite comes from a bellman that looks strikingly like my Dad-

"My brother-in-law was working the door at a concert. There was a huge line to get in, so two older women walk to the front of the line and walk right past him.

My brother-in-law says 'Excuse me, ladies. There's a line to get in.'

One woman screams 'SHUT THE FUCK UP'

So I say- What did you do?

And my brother says- 'I shut the fuck up.'"

I know that I did the right thing. That guy could have done anything. No matter how tough or strong you are, you're not tougher than a sick fuck with a knife. 

I did the right thing, but when I look back on it, I wonder if I did the right thing by default - by freezing up an being a pussy. To be perfectly honest, I'm glad my emotions got the best of me. For weeks, all I could think of was an episode of The Sopranos, where the men went out to an expensive restaurant. Paulie Walnuts made Christopher, who was low on cash, pick up the tab. He couldn't leave a good tip, and the waiter followed the two wise-guys into the parking lot and berated them. You know what the wise-guys did? They fired a brick at his head and killed him. If I'm going to die young, I want to die in a blaze of glory. I don't want to die being stabbed to death defending the front of a lousy 3-star hotel. 

This guy probably wasn't a wise-guy, but the way he presented himself, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. "My name is Nunzio, and I don't give a fuck" is a cheese ball line, but then someone says it to you and really sells it, it's tough to not get a little scared. 

Nowadays, when a car pulls up in from of the hotel and sits there, unless it's an emergency, I won't approach it. It's not worth it. If I ever see a black Range Rover, well, I'll probably hide. 

1 comment:

  1. Great blog T-Bone. I am a doorman myself in a bar/restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. Feel good in the knowledge that we never get tips and forever get abused. Keep up the good work.