After I wrote the initial Doorman vs. Taxi Driver blog, I reflected on my behavior, and realized that screaming like a lunatic every time I was provoked only made me look stupid. And, after a long heart-to-heart about temper-control with Old Man on Christmas morning, I promised myself that I would never again lose my temper at work.
This lasted less than 36 hours.
The doorman phone rings. It's Ms. Joanie, our 97-year-old receptionist:
Ms. Joanie- "Hello, my dear! Can you come up and get me?"
Doorman- "Yep, be right up!"
I love Ms. Joanie. She's 97, has plenty of dough to survive on, and works all week to stay busy so she could take a bus to Atlantic City and gamble like a boss every weekend. She hasn't paid for a room in over forty years. So take note, married twenty-something's. Life does not end at 30.
Her office is on the 2nd floor. A recent hip injury has made it impossible for her to get down the steps, so one of the doormen has to make a run upstairs to get her with a wheelchair.
It's business as usual- I ask her if she's doing okay, and she replies "oh, I hope so." She asks if I could be a dear and grab her coat. I help her put on the long, black coat that she wears year-round, even in the summer. She gets in her chair, and we talk about her favorite thing- gambling.
Doorman- "Did you go to AC this weekend, Ms Joanie?"
Ms Joanie- "No, no, I went to my niece's house for Christmas. How did you do at Caesars, my dear?"
I took a trip to AC this past weekend with my buddies. It's an annual pastime that we call "Manmas", where we eat steak, gamble, and drink like savages. (And tip handsomely, of course.) Ms Joanie and I spent weeks talking about how awesome I was going to do at the tables.
Doorman- "Eh, took a beating."
Ms. Joanie- "Oh, shoot! You'll hit it big one day, I'm sure! Did you behave yourself?"
Monday morning near the Point Pleasant exit of the Garden State Parkway. The Doorman's blue Honda Civic sits crooked on the shoulder with the hazard lights flashing. He is projectile scream-vomiting a fire hose of Kettle One Martini, 16oz New York Strip, and dignity. He digs through his pockets to find a napkin substitute to clean the soupy bile from his bottom lip. After a moment, he finds an ATM withdrawal receipt of $300. It's a transaction that he, for the life of him, cannot remember. He screams a symphony of expletives, keels over, and vomits again.
Doorman- "Of course!"
We get to the end of the lobby, and the other doorman is there, tending to some guests. Normally, he goes for the taxi, while I chat up Ms Joanie. Once he hails it, he holds the door open while I get her down the steps and out the door. It's all a pain in the ass, because it's rush hour and the since it's the busiest time of year, there's an added demand for an available taxi.
We've spent the entire month fighting off entitled assholes from stealing a taxi from an elderly woman. It's funny how severely the words "I'm holding this taxi for an old lady" can anger someone in a hurry to go somewhere. I said this once to a frantic man in an expensive suit, and he replied "I'm sorry that you work here", while flipping me the bird.
To avoid such a confrontation, we've had to open the door, sit in the backseat with our feet out, and tell the driver not to go anywhere while the other guy retrieves Ms Joanie. To someone passing by, it looks like the doorman is taking a dump into the backseat of the cab.
Since Other Doorman is preoccupied, I have to go to the street. After a few quick moments, a taxi with a gangly Middle Eastern driver pulls up.
I open the door, and take my usual seat in the taxi. I motion to Other Doorman to bring Ms Joanie outside.
Doorman- "Hey, buddy. I have an elderly woman coming down the steps, she'll be out in a sec."
Cabbie- "How long?"
Doorman- "Just a second."
He immediately gets frustrated. This pisses me off.
Cabbie- "How long, man?"
Doorman- "As long as it takes. You're not going anywhere."
Cabbie must have misinterpreted my words as "floor it, please", because he did just that. Without asking me to get out, without any warning at all, he peels out, with both of my feet hanging out the open door, narrowly missing the idle shuttle bus parked in front of us.
Doorman- "WHAT THE FUCK?!?!"
You know those action movies where the hero is dangling on a moving train with one arm, and dismantling a bomb with the other? It's bullshit. Fuck that noise. The only thing you can focus on when your life is in the hands of a mad savage, is "well, I didn't accomplish anything in this life. Better luck next time."
I immediately grab the strap and hang on for dear life, and dangle out the door like I'm John McClain as the cabbie blows through a yellow light. I'm able to pull myself into the cab, and slam the door.
Doorman- "PULL THIS FUCKING CAR OVER RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!"
He gets about a half a block down, and does just that. I get out, leave the door open, and take a step back.
Doorman- "Let's go. Get out. Right now."
I've completely lost all inhibitions. I want to fight him, right there on the street. Fuck my job, fuck my freedom. At this moment, I'm willing to sacrifice all of that in exchange for landing a couple of blows to his jaw.
Cabbie- "Fuck you, man."
I'm eerily calm. My hands are vibrating, and I could feel the blood rushing to my face and fists. I've never been this ready for a physical altercation.
Doorman- "Get the fuck. Out of the car. Right now."
What's funny is that I'm not even mad about him having zero disregard for my safety. He could have paralyzed or killed me, for fuck's sake. This doesn't occur to me. All I can think about is Other Doorman having to bring Ms Joanie back up the steps. My adrenaline is rushing at such a rate, I can't focus on anything else.
Cabbie- "Fuck you, man. My window is open."
He wants no part of it.
Doorman- "Come on, let's settle this like men. Get the fuck out."
I can't believe those words have just exited my mouth. It occurs to me that this is the first time in my life that I'm calling someone out to fight in this way. This is what kids did in high school. I'm 28 years old.
He's not afraid of me. He's smiling, with his yellow buck-teeth. This pisses me off even more.
Doorman- "Let's go, man. We're not in front of my hotel. Get the fuck out."
Cabbie- "Go ahead, my window is open. Mother fucker."
I'm calming down a bit. Luckily, my brain is telling me to refrain from hitting him while he's defenseless in his cab. I want him to get out of the car and take a swing at me, which is clearly not going to happen. I opt to let him have it, verbally.
Doorman- "SHE'S 97 YEARS OLD!!! YOU COULDN'T WAIT ONE FUCKING MINUTE?!?! WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU PICKING UP THAT'S THAT FUCKING IMPORTANT? HUH?!?!? YOU FUCKING ANIMAL!!!"
He's taken aback by my screaming, yet continues to smile. I still want to fight him.
Cabbie- "Don't yell at me. Mother fucker."
Doorman- "I'LL FUCKING YELL AT YOU! STEP OUT OF THE CAR!!!"
This is a huge mistake. Now that the yelling has commenced, a crowd has formed, eager to see a rumble.
Cabbie- "No. Fuck you. Mother Fucker. My window is open."
His smile is cheesy and smarmy enough to make me wish I had a stick of dynamite to drop onto his lap. He's not getting out of the car, and I'm beginning to realize that this altercation is having little to zero affect on him.
Fuck it. I slam the back door as hard as I could. He looks at me, as if he's won.
No fucking way. You will not beat me, savage.
So, in a gravely immature move, I cock back my leg, and drive the bottom of my foot into his back door with everything I've got: A stomp with such conviction, that it warranted a "THIS. IS. SPARTA!!!" before the windup.
Startled, the cheesy grin disappears from his face. He leans his head out to inspect the damage. Nothing. Eleven years of playing soccer, and I can't even make a little fucking dent. Only a black footprint. He looks back at me, flashes his rotten teeth, and speeds off.
Cabbie- "Mother fucker!!!"
I turn to the crowd that has formed, and walk through them without making eye-contact with anyone. I'm too embarrassed. I get back to the hotel, and we get Ms. Joanie a taxi.
Now for the Monday morning quarterbacking:
I'm an idiot. Once again, I let my emotions get the best of me, and ended up looking like a barbaric asshole. If I had treated the situation with a level head, I could have done any of the following things:
- Called the cops
If I had just calmly sat with the door open, I could have called the police and had him locked up. He intentionally sped off with me hanging out of the taxi. I'm no cop or lawyer, but that sounds like a serious crime to me. If I'm siting in a different position, my legs get caught under the wheel, and I'm likely in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
- Reported his medallion
An incident like this one would surely get his medallion suspended, or revoked. In the first Doorman vs. Taxi post, I explained that I would have to show up to a hearing in Queens to get anything done. Considering what he almost did to me, I would have taken a day off work to see it through.
Why can't I do this?
Because I kicked his fucking car. Because I screamed at him and challenged him to a fight in front of a large crowd of people. Because I didn't use my head.
All I've been doing since yesterday is googling "doorman kicks taxi", afraid that a video of me losing my mind has gone viral.
Oh, you still think I have a case?
Well I don't, because in my rage, I didn't take down his medallion number. There are 13,000 taxis in New York City, and I wouldn't be going out on a whim if I said that a large fraction of the drivers were Middle Eastern men with bad teeth. He'll avoid my hotel for awhile, till all is forgotten, then go back to his normal ways.
Having said that, I can't begin to explain how icky I felt afterwards. In all my years of going to bars, or working amongst men, I've never made a spectacle of calling someone out to fight like that. I really don't understand it. I remember watching guys stand outside of nightclubs, screaming at the door, baiting someone into coming outside for a brawl, and feeling embarrassed for them.
That isn't me. Or have I become that guy? Have I become the dude with an inferiority complex, always looking to pounce on someone who's lower than me in the societal food chain? Have I become that insecure?
I'd like to think not, but we'll see. All I know now is that I'm done with this job. I need out. I'm going to end up getting myself into serious trouble. So, if anyone has been holding out a book deal for me, now would be the time to send it on over. Unless you're eagerly anticipating a Doorman Goes to Jail post.
Also, on another note- the next time I attempt to damage a car with my foot, I'll use the tip of my shoe. I believe that the stomping-action with the bottom of my foot was the reason I didn't make a dent in his car. Oh well, you live and you learn.
Doorman vs. Taxi Driver Scorecard:
I'm going to have to concede victory to the Taxi Driver on this one.
Taxi Driver 1