Thursday, December 27, 2012

Doorman vs. Taxi Driver: Round II

It should be noted that as I type this and really process what happened, I should be writing this blog from a hospital bed... Or jail cell. 

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?" 

Flashback: 

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. 

Perfect. 

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.

Doorman 1
Taxi Driver 1 



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas: Doorman Edition

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the hotel, 
Not a tourist was stirring, as soon as night fell,
The Doorman stood at his post with haste,
Wondering how his life had become such a waste

The Brazilians were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of department stores danced in their heads,
And the Doorman in his overcoat, scarf and hat,
As he eagerly awaited to return to his flat,

When out of 7th ave arose such a clatter,
He slumped from his post to see what was the matter,
There was an Arab man, driving his cab,
Honking his horn at the Doorman to pick up bags, 

There, a nice couple from London didn't know,
That the Doorman was about to put on a show,
He quietly fetched the bags for this lazy punk,
Then conveniently forgot to close his trunk, 

Bless the Arab driver, so angry and quick, 
Sprung from his cab to scream "you fucking prick!",
The Doorman smiled heartily with cheer,
As he reflected on what he'd encountered this past year,

On Nunzio! On Lena! On Aju, and Big Stinky!
To the top of the roof, to the panty-dropping view!!!
To the thousands of tourists, without any clue!!! 

The hotel was full when Hurricane Sandy wild fly,
As a massive crane nearly fell from the sky,
And in a silver lining for an unprecedented weather,
Were resilient New Yorkers coming together,

And then, with our beloved city broken,
Came tourists asking when shops will be open,
They huffed and puffed and stomped their feet,
Till the lights came on, with restoration not complete,

She dressed all in fur, from her head to her foot,
He moved in with her, and his money was kaput,
A world of red flags were impossible to hide,
But, come on, it was the Upper East Side! 

Her pupils, how dilated! Her speech so quick!
How he ignored his instincts, and thought with his dick! 
Ten days of her, moods all over the place,
All ended with him drunk, and falling on his face,

A scary wise-guy, in a brand-new Range Rover,
Idled in the loading zone, so he walked over,
The Doorman failed in getting him to move his truck, 
Cause "he's Nunzio, and he don't give a fuck",

He spoke not a word but went back to work,
To opening doors, to not fuck with this jerk,
Though it wouldn't be till eight months later,
Till he witnessed something ten times greater,

She drank with her friends, and needed the shitter,
But ran into Marty, who was all the bitter,
In a bout of revenge against this jaded chud,
She painted the bathroom, with her poop and blood,

The Doorman went back to the taxi without a whistle,
As the pedestrians flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, before gearing up to fight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" 







Merry Christmas, From the Doorman

Dear readers,

My parents got me a Kindle Fire for Christmas. It was just what I wanted. In my excitement, I plopped down onto the couch, where my glasses just so happened to be resting. So in a matter of ten seconds, I received a wonderful gift, then broke the most important thing needed to appreciate it. A fitting end to the year of the Doorman.

Having said that, I'd like thank all of you for reading this past year. I've discovered my love for writing, and it wouldn't have been possible without my fine readers. Also, thank you to my guests, taxi drivers, wise guys, co-workers, con-artists, psycho roommates, normal roommates, friends, family, homeless people, and many many more for keeping me inspired and wealthy with material.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Sincerely,

Doorman



Monday, December 17, 2012

Doorman's Message to Victims of Bullying

Growing up, in nearly every phase of childhood and into my late teens, I sucked. At everything. I was put in the lower classes in middle school, where I got the shit kicked out of me on a regular basis. Sticking up for myself wasn't an option, because I was terrified of everything. This trickled into anything I did from then on out. I never applied myself when I got to high school, so my teachers were at a loss for what to do with me - a seemingly smart kid with an enormous world of creative potential. All the while I was getting bullied every day by kids that lived in my neighborhood.
I really can't pinpoint why everyone thought that I was such a turd. Fighting was never in my nature. My Old Man and brothers, on the other hand, are as tough as Irish gypsies. I grew up in a neighborhood where you had to show people that you weren't a pussy, and I failed to do so when I had my chance - so I got hell. Lot's of it.

Throughout the years, through all of the abuse, I had this recurring fantasy of grabbing the biggest kid in the crowd and tackling him to the ground. He would be caught of guard, and I would just start punching him in the the nose repeatedly till there was nothing left, till he was nothing more than a pulsating, bloody skull. I would stand up, dust myself off, and the kids would make a path for me. Then I'd trot into the sunset, never to be fucked with again. That obviously wouldn't have solved anything. But after hours and hours of getting slapped around, being called awful things, listened to kids say horrific things about my loved ones for the sake of a punchline, the fantasy overcame me - though, thankfully, I was always too afraid to carry it out.

Over the past few years, there has been a supercharged effort to stop bullying in this country. As someone who was bullied, I can tell you that it will never ever stop. The best thing you can tell someone who is being bullied, someone who thinks that they'll never be anything in this world, is that you have a decision to make when it's time to step into the real world - you can either let it break you and make excuses, or you could let it shape you and help you grow. I chose the latter. Yes, I'm writing this as a 28-year old doorman. But I'm a 28-year old doorman who wants something bigger for myself because I know that I deserve it. Had I not been bullied, I may be in a different place. Maybe a better place. Maybe I'd be worse off. Who the hell knows? What I do know is that had I not been bullied, I may not be as humble as I am today.

I was raised right, and come from an amazing home with a loving family. I know my blessings, and I count them every day. As a teenager, it's hard to see all that when the people around you don't deem you worthy of their respect. Sure, I had friends- my best friend then is still my best friend now. He was a popular kid. All the girls loved him, all the kids on the block knew not to fuck with him, and through plenty of different crowds of kids that came through the neighborhood, we always ended up sticking together. Had it not been for him, I would have had a much tougher time. He stuck up for me as much as he could, but I never wanted him to do that. As much as I wanted all of the abuse to end, I never wanted others to pity me. Sound familiar?

My advice to you, if you are someone who feels that they are a victim of bullying, is to understand that while people are telling you that it "gets better", you're ultimately going to have to make it better for yourself. Bullying does not end when adulthood starts. Sure, your co-worker isn't going to slap you in the face and steal your lunch to impress the rest of the office, but you will have to deal with the bully mentality- whether it's your boss, in-law, neighbor - whoever.  The key is to learn to respect yourself.

I don't take shit from people anymore. It took a very long time - well into my adulthood, in fact. And it wasn't because I learned how to fight, or I "grew some balls". It was mostly due to finding a sense of self-worth. In college, I took my first acting class. For the first time in my life, I excelled in something. Sure, I was adequate in a few activities, but I was never able to perform something at a high level like I could as an actor.

After preforming in my first college play, I was hooked. I couldn't get enough of acting and performing, which kept me motivated to do well in my classes. I had found a purpose, which helped me find self-respect. Those three or four strangers in the audience, commending my performance as "Tom" in The Glass Menagerie, finally provided me with a validation for this world. It gave me something to look forward to and a dream to strive for in the future, which I am still chasing (and always will) to this day. 


In some sadistic way, I'm grateful for having this happen to me. I'm not sure if I would have discovered my fighting spirit, and all I have to offer the world. I very well could have been complacent in my well-paying job as a doorman, and not had the motivation to work towards creating a better life for myself. I'm taking my shot, because I know I deserve it.

I don't consider myself a "victim" of bullying. I consider myself someone who was bullied, and overcame it. Strived because of it. Used it as a motivation. It wasn't easy. It really, really, fucking wasn't. But I did it, and so can you. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is something out there for you, and you deserve it, even if you feel like it doesn't exist. Take it from me, I was there. 



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ugly Americans

I'm coming up on my one-year anniversary of door-manning. With all of the foreigners that stay in my establishment, treating me like a slave without tipping, I looked forward to December all year. Why? Christmas in New York City brings one blessed thing - Americans!!!!

I couldn't wait for the higher rates, to be showered with tips, to recommend great restaurants and shows to people who will appreciate me! I couldn't wait to have common ground conversations again, like football and American television and Oscar contenders!!! Finally, Thanksgiving came, and I was finally going to have a hotel full of my own people...

Yeah. 

Two weeks into the holiday season, I can see and justify why whenever you ask a foreigner who the worst tourists on the planet are, it's not the Brazilians or the French or the Italians or the British - It's the grand ol' U.S. of A at the top of the list. Like every other group, there's a portion that fly under the radar, a few genuinely nice people that go out of their way to talk to you, and a whole-lot of fucking assholes. The American assholes are a special breed.

Guys, seriously, get your fucking acts together. These past couple of weeks have been a humbling experience. I used to think I could get away with whatever kind of drunken behavior I wanted in a hotel because I was generous with my money and just hushed people with fives and tens.. Holy shit, will I ever change my philosophy. There's a German girl that stayed in the hotel earlier this year that I still keep in touch with, and I asked her why the rest of world hates American tourists. She put it very simply: 

"Because they drink too much, are loud, and are always flashing their money." 

I try my best to break that mold, and as much as I'd love to say that isn't me, I look back on my road trip to Chicago with my two best friends that I took in the Summer of 2010. We went to a Cubs game, walked around the city a bit, and saw some sights. Oh yeah, and we were disgustingly ossified the entire time. We yelled at people we knew we were never going to see again and acted like boorish savages. 

The vacation philosophy with an alarming amount of Americans (myself included) is "I'm going to go to this city and get as fucked up as I can and maybe see a few things." I was in Chicago for three days, and all I can remember was Wrigley Field and the nine beers I drank in the stands. I also remember being thrown out of a club by the collar of my shirt because I thought it'd be funny to spike a beer onto the dance floor while dancing to That Girl is Poison. While I was embarrassed the next morning, all I could think was "man, I can't wait to tell my friends that story when I get home." 

When I worked as a concierge, I didn't really see much of this because I was usually out the door by 7pm, well before where shit hits the fan. The only thing that stands out is a man with a large family of teenage boys from Missouri. I was giving him directions on the subway while his family was sitting on the other side of the lobby. He was in his mid-40's, but still wore a backwards baseball cap and a St. Louis Rams jersey. 

Out of nowhere, while I was mid-sentence, he screams "HOLY SHIT!!!", pulls his camera out of his pocket, and sprints out the door, screaming "BOYS! BOYS! COME OUT HERE NOW! YOU GOTTA FUCKING SEE THIS!!!" 

I'm thinking that there has to be a centaur taking a dump in the street or something, so I follow him out the door. What I saw was a little person, walking along, trying not to get angry, with this man in his face, filming him screaming "A FUCKING MIDGET! GOD DAMN!" 

The funny thing was, his SON had to come out and say "Ok, Dad, enough." 

That's bad, but what I've seen in my hotel since Sunday has been enough to change my vacation behavior for good. 

-A drunk middle-aged couple come stumbling out, and the woman takes charge: 

Woman- "How bout you get us a taxi?" 

I decided to play "I'm going to make you repeat the cunty thing you said till you realize just how cunty it was." 

Me- "Excuse me?" 

Woman- "How bout you get us a taxi?"

Me- "Come again?" 

Woman- "How bout you get us a taxi?"

Me- "Sorry, I'm deaf in one year, can you repeat that?"

Woman- "How bout you get us a taxi?"

Me- "Again, in this ear." 

Woman- "How bout you get us a taxi?"

Well, she's not budging. 

Me- "Would you like to try again?" 

She's oblivious to the fact that I'm fucking with her, and believes that I am, indeed, too stupid to process her request. 

Woman- "I. NEED. A. TAXI. WOULD. YOU. LIKE. TO. GET. ONE. FOR US?" 

She looks at her husband, as if she wanted to confirm that the hotel would allow someone this deaf and stupid to be the first face you see when you arrive, and the last when you exit. 

Instead of losing my mind and cursing them out, which was something I had been itching to do to someone all night, I went the "smile and say something shitty" route that you learned in my Guide to Fucking with Guests

Me- "Not really, but I guess I have to." 

She laughs a vicious, airy cackle, then honks like a donkey. 

Woman- "I like you! YOUR FUNNY!!!" 

(Notice I misused "your". That's intentional, because I imagine she has a Facebook page, and I'd bet my life that she has a plethora of status updates where she can't differentiate "your" and "you're", because she a stupid, mid-life crisis, brainless twat.)

Her husband, cock-eyed and eager to get in on the fun, decides to join in:

Man- "Heh heh. She can probably get a cab faster than you." 

Great one, turbo. Way to gain command of the situation. I should have invited them to try, so I could kick them up the ass and into an on-coming ambulance. 

I hailed the first taxi that pulled up, and, of course, no tip. 

They arrived a few hours later, in worse shape than before. She got out, and in a struggle, her skirt hiked up and I caught a glimpse of beige, see-thru lingerie covering what appeared to be a black owl's nest. Classy. 

- A group of old, mink-coat wearing southern belle's file out to go see Matthew Broderick in Nice Work if you Can Get it. They brought out their drinking glasses, and were chugging red wine like a college student playing flip-cup. 

The leader of the pack, wearing a leopard coat, takes charge. She looks like the mascot for the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Jaguar- "We need a taxi to the THEE-AY-TER." 

Fantastic, one of these. 

I hail them one, while they're all chugging away. I open the door, and they all put their glasses out, like I'm a busboy. 

Me- "What's this?"

Jaguar- "That's for you!" 

Me- "Excuse me?" 

Jaguar- "That's your tip!" 

They all start giggling and pile in without giving me a dollar. 

Now, I expect this bullshit from a bachlorette party. But really? These are probably grandmothers!!! 

My blind rage prevents me from saying something witty, so all I could muster was an lousy "Oh thanks, thanks a lot! Thanks! Gee, real great! Thanks a lot!" Before I slammed the door as hard as I could. 

The taxi sped off, with this covent of hags about to go on with their evening at a mediocre Broadway show, with me as a distant memory. I had never been so defeated. 

When they came back, I was hanging out by the bell desk. I refused to make eye contact with them. One of them had the nerve to say "Smile!" to me. No way. Wasn't happening. 

Jaguar- "You must see all sorts of stuff here! Enough to write a book!"

Precisely, bitch. 




Warning: This last story is grotesque. If you have a weak stomach, I suggest you stop reading now. You've been warned. 

This past weekend, by beloved New York Football Giants hosted the New Orleans Saints, which brought in hoards of shitty, aggressive southerners. I guess it's their payback for all the Yankees who ruined Mardi Gras for them. 

Whatever, the Sweet Prince Eli and G-Men knocked the Saints' collective blocks off, which in return, regurgitated a group of drunk, bitter Louisiana folk from Metlife Stadium. A limo got dropped off in front of the hotel, and they immediately went for the first bar they saw, which happened to be the restaurant attached to to the hotel. The joint is high-end, and we generally have no affiliation with them because our guests can't afford to eat there. 

It was peak dinner-time, and Gotham's elite were about to get a rude visit from a gaggle of pissed-off, Drew Brees jersey-wearing animals. They continued drinking... A LOT. 

After about an hour of carnage, one of the women, in her late 30's approaches Marty, from the Hurricane Sandy story, at the bell desk. 

Saint Lady- "Your restaurant has no toilet paper."

Marty- "Okay." 

There's a long pause. She's swaying and rocking back and forth, with her eyes in all sorts of bloodshot contortions. 

Saint Lady- "Well... are you going to... going to do something about it?!?" 

Marty- "Well, no. We're separate entities. Just tell the bartender or the manager in there?"

"Entities", Marty? Really? 

Saint Lady- "SO YOU'RE NOT GONNA HELP ME?!?!

Marty- "Lady, I don't know what you want me to do. Use the restroom in the lobby." 

Saint Lady- "UGH, THAT BATHROOM SUCKS!"

Marty- "That seems to be your only option, ma'am." 

Saint Lady- "FINE... FUCKING ASSHOLE!" 

She zombie-walks to the restroom. 

About ten minutes later, a different woman goes to use the women's facilities. She opens the door and screams. It echoes through the lobby, loud enough for me to hear it through the doors. I ran up there, and the woman, pale-faced, covering her mouth, can barely get any words out. 

Me- "What happened? Are you okay?" 

I go to open the door, and she grabs my arm. 

Woman- "Don't go in there!" 

Me- "What is it?" 

Woman- "There's blood... blood everywhere!" 

I grab the phone to call security. One of the girls from the front desk walks by, and I stop her and have her open the door. She does, and screams. 

Front Desk Girl- "Oh my God!!!"

Me- "Will someone tell me what's in there?!?!" 

She looks like she had just witnessed a beheading. 

Front Desk Girl- "Someone shit and bled all over the ladies room." 

Me- "What? Is there anyone in there?" 

Front Desk Girl- "No."

Well, I need to confirm this. I open the door, and sure enough, there's a shitty chainsaw massacre in the bathroom. At first glance, it looks like someone splashed a pot of meat sauce against the wall. I have an extremely weak stomach, so I immediately dry heave and slam the door. Like any disgusting, train-wreck incident, everyone began to convene in front of the door to see the wreckage. 

After a few minutes, the doorway to the bathroom is surrounded by bellmen and guests like paparazzi waiting to snap a shot of Lindsay Lohan outside a nightclub. Then the last guy to show up to the party came. 

Aju, the 5'3, gentle houseman from Bangladesh came into the lobby with his vacuum, ready to start his shift. We all saw him, and everyone went quiet. 

Aju- "Hi, guys!" 

The red sea parted, which led to the ladies room door.

Aju- "What's going on?"

It was when no one answered that Aju realized his fate. He slowly walked toward the door, as if about to get the lethal injection. He slid his key in, opened the door a pinch, and peaked inside. Without saying a word, he turned and made his way back downstairs with his head down to retrieve his heavy-duty cleaning supplies. 

This woman, to get back at the man who didn't help her find toilet paper, who offered her another solution, shit and wiped her bloody tampon all over the bathroom. You know when you do something to piss off your dog, so it spitefully shits on the carpet? That's what she did... with some menstrual blood. 

We went to the restaurant to find her, but the group was gone from the bar. Security tried to find out what room she was in with no success. She was probably staying somewhere else. 

About a half an hour goes by, and Aju emerges from the bathroom with a full hazmat bag, wearing yellow rubber gloves and a surgeon mask. He yanks off the gloves, throws them in the bag, then carefully and meticulously removes the mask as if he were a doctor about to break horrible news to a patient's family. 

His eyes were completely red, with dried up tear-streaks running down the side of his face. He looked like a Vietnam veteran, about to share a story about how he witnessed an entire village of women and children get wiped out by napalm. 

Then, in his thick accent, all he could get out was:

Aju- "All over the walls... all over the sink... all over the toilet... all over the floor... all over the door..." 

He disappeared into the basement, just repeating objects around the bathroom that had blood and feces on them to himself. 

Not only did this woman do the most repugnant thing I've ever heard, but she did it to spite the wrong guy. In our hotel, the houseman gets an extra five dollars for every "excessive mess" they have to clean... and he has to fill out a form describing the filth to get it. 

Whenever I complain about getting a bad tip, I'll remember this incident. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Doorman's Guide to Not Getting Ripped off in New York: Part II

Street Scams

Now that you know how to get around the city safely, here's how to avoid getting robbed by hustlers that prowl the Times Square area, looking for prey. There really is only one thing to remember- don't give anyone your money. Ever. That's it... Unless they're a handsome guy wearing a hat, overcoat, and carrying your luggage while holding the door. Then, by all means, give him as much as you can.

Another exception is someone busking or entertaining on the subway. Those people are working, trying to get noticed, and are very rarely, if ever, aggressive about asking for money. Also, if you see a homeless person, who is clearly in need, sitting with a coffee cup and a sign asking for change, then of course give him something if you want to.

If you've read any of my blogs before, you know that I've seen some shit, but these are the most common scams that I see idiots fall for. And for the first few months working this job, I would stupidly stick up for these naive chums, fighting with degenerates because these tourists were too stupid to realize that they were being had. Now, I generally stay out of it, mostly because I don't want to get shanked. So take my advice, tourists. I fucking grew up here:  

The Subway Monologist

There's a reason I wear headphones on my subway commute every day. At least once, before I get off the train, someone gets on and delivers a heartbreaking monologue that sounds something like this:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so very sorry to interrupt you today, but I am in desperate need of your help. I was recently laid off from my job, just days after my diagnosis of bone marrow cancer. And, just yesterday, a freak electrical fire has burned down our home. Now, my pregnant wife and our five children are without a place to live, or anything to eat. If you could give anything, just a little, it would help us immensely. Thank you very much, and have a blessed day."

Now, for every person who is in legitimate need of help, there's five fucking assholes who wrote something powerful and is looking to exploit kind, generous people. I'm not about to take that risk. You know how you can tell if someone is lying? Offer them actual food. I've seen people become visibly disappointed when a good samaritan breaks them off a half a sandwich.

I hate to sound heartless, but I don't have a dollar for every person that comes to me with a sob story. I have enough of my own. Sure, it's tough to not feel bad for people, especially when they really fucking sell it. But you have to understand that these people are con artists, and con artists are the finest actors. I'm sure I can throw on some shitty clothing and use my Meisner training to pan-handle a couple of hundred bucks on the A train.

Lastly, the most obvious sign to spot a fake is hygiene. Have you ever smelt a homeless person? They're quite pungent. 

CD Hustlers

There was an incident in Times Square a few years ago, where one of these savages opened fire on a cop with an Uzi in front of The Lion King. It put and end to this shit for awhile. Now, they're slowly making their way back. 

It's all a bullying scam. They corner you on the street, asking you to buy their demo CD. If they sense weakness, they will pressure and intimidate you till you give them fifteen bucks for it. A lot of the time, they'll actually put it in your hand and have you look at the back, then demand you give them money, using the ol' "you touched it, you bought it" trick. 

I've had these scumbags actually stuff the CD into my coat pocket, get in my face and scream "YO, YOU TOOK MY CD WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT! 15 DOLLARS MOTHERFUCKER!" And while I never walked away with one of these things, I'm sure it's nothing more than a blank CD with some graffiti scribbled on it. 

People get intimidated easily. Imagine being in a brand-new city, and a group of men pushing a gangster rap CD surround you and demand money? Just a few months ago, I was busy helping a guest, and one of them tried and swindle a British girl, no more than 11 or 12. I stepped in, and in front of the girl and many other people, he screamed "NIGGA, FUCK YOU! YOU ABOUT TO GET YO' FAGGOT ASS CUT!!!" 

Are those the words of an artist, trying to get his work out to the world?  

If one of these guys approaches you, don't even acknowledge them. Keep walking. If they insist, give a cold "no" without making eye contact. Being polite will get you nowhere. 

Trust me, you will not pay fifteen dollars, go home, and discover the next Tupac Shakur. 

The Deaf Guy 

Some people are versatile, and will switch up their scams. This was the first (and only) time I ever fell for something while working the door. 

He was a five ft. Latino man that came up to me, with a shitty sign that said "Help, I am deaf and homeless, anything will help." I had made $200 in tips that night, and was feeling charitable. And vulnerable. What really sold it was his, perfect "please, sir" that followed. He sure as shit sounded deaf. 

("Sounded deaf"? Is that a thing? He seemed deaf. Yeah, he seemed deaf. I'll roll with that.)

I gave him a dollar. He spoke and signed "Thank you, sir. Thank you so much!" and went on his way. 

No more than a week later, the same motherfucker came up to me with a box of chocolates, and in perfect English, asked:

Deaf Guy: "Hi, would you like to buy some chocolates to benefit the Girl Scouts of America?"

He had no idea that he had already used his deaf guy hustle on me. 

Me- "Dude! Weren't you fucking deaf last week?" 

Seriously, how absurd is it that I actually had to utter those words? 

He realized his mistake right away, they went back to his "deaf voice".

Deaf Guy- "I'm deaf! I'm deaf! Buy my chocolates, sir!" 

Me- "Get the fuck out of here!" 

Deaf Guy- "I'm deaf, I swear!"

Me- "Get out of here before I call the cops!" 

Deaf Guy- "No cops! I'm deaf!!! Please!" 

He turns and power-walks towards the corner. Just for confirmation, I tested him. 

Me- "Hey, FUCKO!" 

He turns around. Got him!!! I point at him maniacally like a young Jack Nicholson. 

Me- "AH HAAA!!! I thought you couldn't hear me?!?!" 

He makes the "Oh... God Damnit" face, then does the walk of shame back toward Times Square. 

You Made me Drop my Food 

Of all the scams, this one is my favorite. Not that I enjoy these things, but it's certainly one of the more clever ones:

There's a guy (or several) who finds food in a garbage can, puts it in a shopping bag, then intentionally bumps into a tourist. When that happens, he drops the food on the ground, spilling it all over, then hustles the tourist into making them give him money for it. 

"That cost me twenty dollars, man! I don't have any more money!" 

"Those were my leftovers from the restaurant! That meal cost me ninety dollars man! You gotta give me something for that!" 

Like the CD peddlers, when the tourist doesn't want to give him anything, or doesn't offer enough, he'll bully them:

"You just cost me twenty dollars! What the fuck are you gonna do about that?!?" 

"So you're gonna spoil a man's food, then not give him money to buy more? You fucked up!!!"

The last time I saw it happen, he did it to a business man wearing an expensive-looking suit. The suit was apologetic, buy the scammer didn't do a good enough job of selling the bump. Suit didn't feel like he was in the wrong. Still, he offered the guy a couple of bucks because the scammer was becoming more and more aggressive. 

Scammer- "What is this? Four dollars? This fucking cost me twenty!" 

Then the suit did the perfect thing. 

Suit- "I'll tell you what - I'll take you back to the place and buy you a new one. How bout that? "
The scammer just looked at him, and he knew the jig was up. The suit offered him a fair alternative, and with lots of people watching, knew that he either had to accept the offer, or be called out as a fraud. 

Scammer- "Man, fuck you! I ain't got time for this shit!" 

And he left. Out of sheer boredom, I took a look at the food. It was an old Chinese food container with some lo mein, halal food, a few french fries and a half-eaten hot dog bun. 

I've also heard about the same guy having a cheap bottle of cooking wine in a black bag, doing the same thing, then claiming that it was an expensive bottle. 

How do you avoid this? Watch where you're going. Re-teach yourself how to walk without staring at your smartphone. Refrain from bumping into shady characters holding black shopping bags. Use common sense. It's not difficult. 

GI Joe 

He's the Joker to my Batman. I saved him for last, because he just keeps reappearing and is the only one who generates a visceral reaction in my stomach every time I see him trotting down the street. 

He's a tall black man that walks around with a phony military ID, claiming to be a retired Gulf War veteran, and collects money for a fake foundation for homeless vets. He wears army pants that are tucked into his boots, a green sweater and beige hat. He'll take whatever donation they give to him, then takes their name and home address to send them a calendar or something. I've been in countless fights with him, and everyone in the area knows who he is, and feels the exact same way. 

All the cops in the area know him, and have arrested him several times. He'll just stop coming around for a few months, then come back, claiming he around the whole time. There was one point at the beginning of the summer where he came around every night, then completely vanished during Fleet Week. I called him out on it once, and his response was "It's still Fleet Week, you fucking knucklehead!" It wasn't, by about ten days.

It makes me sick to my stomach to see some dumbass foreigner take a picture with him, like they've just met some All-American hero. He shakes their hand and does a salute into the camera, then when the picture is taken, he collects his money and shoots me the "yeah, fuck you" look. What gets me the most about him is that I've asked him countless times, nicely, to not do it in front of the hotel. I've actually said "I don't care about your hustle. Do it wherever you want, just not in front of the door." He does it anyway, because he's a piece of garbage.

Whenever I see him coming, trying to solicit a guest having a smoke outside, I just call security. I'm done fighting with him, because of this exchange: 

I had run inside to answer the phone, and he saw that I wasn't at my post, so he darts across the street to squeeze a woman smoking a cigarette by the door while I'm not there. I caught this, placed the guest on hold, and ran outside. He was in the middle of his schtick: 

GI Joe- "My name is (GI Joe), I served as a Sergeant in the US military for 17 years. I'm retired now, and am collecting money for the (veteran fund). In exchange for your donation, we will mail you a (shitty, non-existent prize)." 

I came bursting out the doors like the Incredible Hulk, and cock-blocked him immediately. 

Me- "Ma'am, don't give this man any of your money."

He slams his clipboard on the ground and gets in my face. 

GI Joe- "Man, you are this fuckin' close!"

Me- "To what?" 

GI Joe- "To me fuckin' you up." 

Me- "That doesn't sound like the way a military man would carry himself." 

I knew security was on their way out, so I'll admit - I was in way over my head, but I wanted to get him fired up before they broke us up. 

GI Joe- "Man. you never served a day in your life!" 

Me- "You're right, but neither have you!" 

By this time, the guest had run inside, scared. Security came out and got in between us. I took a few steps back, and we kept jabbering at each other. 

Security- "Doorman, enough! Go inside!" 

I kept baiting him. 

GI Joe- "This is my only source of income, you motherfucker!" 

Got em. 

Me- "What's that? Come again?"

GI Joe- "You heard me!"

Me- "I thought you were collecting money for homeless vets? Sounds to me like that's a charity, and you shouldn't be pocketing it. That's illegal, right?" 

Boom. He responded like they all do when you blow up their little scene. 

GI Joe- "Man, fuck you! I ain't got time for this shit!" 

And he left. That was the last altercation I got into with him. Now when I see him, I smile and nod, and he gives me the finger and walks the other way. 

Am-erca. 

So if you're in New York for the holiday season, remember these things. Also, not being stupid is a huge plus.