Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Doorman: The End - Part I

There's a tradition at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs (and other ballparks, I'm sure), where if you catch a home run from the visiting team, you have to throw the ball back onto the field. Chants of "Throw it Back" will form, and you will be heckled until you do so. I've been going to baseball games my whole life and I've never so much as come within a section of a home run or a foul ball. So if I were ever put in that spot where I finally, after twenty-five+ years of attending baseball games, caught myself a souvenir, I would certainly have a difficult time following through with said tradition. 

This year, money-wise, has been a nightmare for us. I'm on pace to finish the year with nearly $10,000 less than what I pulled in 2012 (after taxes). I can't really get into detail about as to why we're getting fucked so badly, but a large portion of it has to do with a new crop of people who have flooded our hotel. It's the same old song-and-dance - a grotesque amount of heavy luggage, demanding cunts who snap their fingers and treat us like slaves, no tips (or a dollar or two, if we're lucky).

Do I need to specify who they are? Not really. It doesn't fucking matter anymore. I've been here long enough to understand the cycle of clientele who rotate through our doors. We'll have a season chock-full of one country, who are oblivious (or so they say) to our "tipping culture", I'll get frustrated, get stiffed, not get thanked, go into the locker room, smash a fucking chair, go to the bar, get drunk, go home, pass out, wake up at noon, rinse, repeat. Then, when they clear out and the dust settles, a new wave of cunts from a new country will fill the hotel, and it will be the same hate-inducing series of events. 

Which brings me to this story: 

A Jeep Cherokee pulls up. A older couple, from a part of the world that I've been conditioned to dread over the past several months, hops out. I greet them through my teeth, and explain the laws of the valet parking. The man signs his signature from right to left, hands me back my pen, then points to his vehicle.

Man - "There are many luggages." 

Of course there are, you fucking cocksucker. 

Doorman - "Okay, I'll bring them right up to the front desk for you, sir."

He leaves with this wife without saying anything else. I open the trunk. Four suitcases. I open the backseat. One more big suitcase, and two carry-ons wedged forcefully in-between the seats. Terrific. 

I pull the dead-weight motherfuckers out and lay them on the curbside. Two people, five monster suitcases, and two carry-ons. 

Now this is what happens to me, every fucking time: 

These cunts want to get a head-start on the check-in process while I hump their fucking dead bodies out of their vehicle. By the time I drop organs out of my anus by lugging them out of the car, up the steps, and to the front desk, a bellman has already been summoned to bring them up to the room. So now, after I've done 80% of the work, the bellman will wheel the cart into the elevator, schmooze with them, unload the luggage, and get the fucking tip. This leaves me standing there, forgotten, watching my cock get smaller with an empty pocket. 

Most of the bellmen are my buddies, so they'll come down and try and split the tip with me. Though I have a rule - if the fuckhead guest doesn't deem me worthy of the tip, then I don't want their fucking money. And while it feels really good to stick to my principals, my wallet takes a fucking beating for it. 

What can I say? I'm stubborn. It's the Irish blood. 

Though this particular time, the line was long at the front desk, and there was no bellman to bail them out. 

I wheel the luggage cart to the couple, who are waiting patiently. 

The man looks at me. 

Nothing. 

Doorman - "Okay, sir." 

He looks at me. Nothing. 

Doorman - "A bellman will take this up to your room while I attend to your vehicle."

Nothing. My ears start ringing. 

Doorman - "OKAY?"

He looks at me like I'm a mad man. And rightfully so, because I'm positive that a psychotic madness has washed over my peach face. 

Doorman - "YOU'RE WELCOME!!!" 

This startles everyone in the lobby. The man looks to his wife, confused. I turn and stomp off. 

I return outside and throw a full-blown tantrum, cursing and spitting and wishing evil on this man and his people. My manager walks out. He didn't see the incident. 

Manager - "You okay?"

I unloaded on him. I went on and on and about how sick I am of being treated this way, how sick I am of these "savages treating me like I'm a savage", how I can't wait to show everyone, how I didn't go to college for this shit, how I'd like to take that guest's, smug, round face and smash it against the concrete repeatedly. 

Long story short, I said a lot of hateful shit. Hateful shit that's never been in my nature. Borderline racist shit. Shit that this job has brought out in me. It's a side of myself that I never wanted to see, nor ever thought I had in me. I fucking hated myself at that moment. I hated what I turned into. 

My manager couldn't really do much. He just warned me to watch what I say and where I say it, because he doesn't want to see me fired. 

The door opens, and the man's wife exits. She has a ten dollar bill in her hand. She approaches me, with her hands making a peaceful gesture. 

Doorman - "No. I don't want that. Have a good night." 

She looks at me with a grave pity. I have guilted them into giving me a tip. I'm not sure how other service industry people feel about guilting people into coughing up a gratuity, but I fucking detest it. Like I said, if people don't deem me worthy of a tip, or a thank you, then I don't want their god damned money. 

Wife - "I will leave it in the car."  

She leaves. 

Manager - "Are you going to take it?"

Doorman - "No." 

Manager - "Why not?!?"

Doorman - "Because I don't want their money."

Manager - "If you leave it in the car, then one of the valet guys will take it."

Fuck, he had a point. How am I going to teach these motherfuckers a lesson? How am I going to exact my revenge? How am I going to turn this into a story in my favor, you know, for the blog? 

Manager leaves, and I was left with a decision to make: 

1 - Take the money, spend it on beer, and hate myself for not sticking to my principals. 

2 - Leave it in the car for some random valet attendant to pocket. 

3 - Find a way to give it back to them. 

I went with option number three. As soon as the couple checked in and left the hotel for the evening, I found out their room number, stuffed the ten in a key card envelope, and slid the money under the door with a note saying "left this on the dashboard". 

I hopped in the elevator, wanting to feel good about it. I waited for the triumph to settle in, for the rush of running to the door, opening up my notepad, and jotting notes to write out my awesome story on this blog. 

It never came. 

For the rest of the evening, I couldn't stop running through the situation over and over and over in my head:

They didn't want to give me a tip. Hell, the guy didn't even want to thank me. And if he really wanted to do the right thing, why did he send his wife outside? Why didn't he face me, like a man? Maybe it was her who saw the problem, and wanted to fix it? Maybe he's a cock sucker, and she's just the poor soul married to him? Did I embarrass him in front of his wife? Was there a language barrier? Did he not understand that I wouldn't be the one taking him up to the room? But why didn't he thank me?!?! All I was looking for was a thank you!!! Just a little RESPECT. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK FROM THESE FUCKING PEOPLE!?!?! 

I couldn't shake the guilt I was feeling for doing what I did. Turning down the tip was one thing, but did I go too far by sliding it under their door? What lesson was I trying to teach them? Why does this feel so fucking wrong? 

I didn't see them for the rest of the night. It was Wednesday. I picked up some OT on Friday, and as fate would have it, they were getting ready to leave as I was arriving to start my shift. We almost bumped into each other, and he hesitated to say something. 

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks - my move to slide the money under the door was a cowardly one. I never expected to have to face him again. I threw in my last word like an internet troll sending an anonymous email. He sent his wife outside to deal with me, and I handled it no better than he did. Now the two of us were face to face. 

I kept walking. Right to my door. 

A few moments after, he came out with his valet ticket and ten dollar bill ready. I took the valet ticket out of his hands, then handed him back the ten. 

Doorman - "No, thank you." 

His remorse turned to sheer confusion.

Man - "WHY?!?" 

I didn't have an explanation for him. I still don't. 

Doorman - "No, thank you." 

I walked away from him. After about twenty minutes or so, his car arrived, and he put all seven of his luggages into the vehicle by himself. They left. 

I stood there, ten dollars poorer, with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. My revenge ploy had backfired into a disingenuous attempt at a funny story, and it only made me feel (and look) like a fucking asshole. Yes, I stuck to my principals. Yes, I may have taught them a lesson about how a doorman, or any working stiff, should be treated with respect. Maybe the next doorman they deal with will benefit from it. Though that didn't really help matters much.

So I must say this now, and I've thought long and hard about it:

I'm done. 

After two years of this, I have finally reached my limit. It's time this blog came to an end. I've told almost 100 stories of me getting stiffed, abused, kicked around, inspired, dejected, rejected, fucked over, drunk, scammed, challenged, intimidated, etc. These stories have also resulted in me taking all sorts of shit from people, standing up for myself, assaulting a guy, crying, breaking furniture, suing people, trying to finagle a Japanese girl threesome, growing a pair of balls, and, most importantly, finding my voice as a writer. 

With the pilot getting some great buzz and being shopped around the festival circuit, I know I'm close to the end. But even if I have to spend another year doing this - hustling and bustling to scrape my way to $100 for the evening (if i'm lucky, nowadays), the #Doorman stories as you know them have come to an end. 

At that moment where I slid the money under the door, consciously doing it for the sake of the story and nothing else, it became clear that I have outgrown this blog. I'm ready for the next level. I've spent the past three weeks writing half-hour episodes of Doorman, and I assure you, they will see the light of day. Screenwriting has taken over as a new addiction, and being able to take these Doorman stories - these deeply personal, completely fucked-up, tragically hilarious stories - and use them to choose my own adventure, has been an experience that I can't wait to share with you, my readers. 

This isn't the last post. Expect a few more as I wrap up this story of a schmuck, without a place in this world and lacking a pair of balls, finding his voice as an artist and as a man. Stay tuned. 

Much love, 

#Doorman 

2 comments:

  1. So will you just rely on previous situations/experiences to flesh out future scripts for your series? I have viewed this blog as both catharsis for you and a chance to hone your voice as you attempt to build a visual show around your experiences. I understand you have reached the point where you have to say "I'm done," and I am glad you have the insight to realize you have reached that point, instead of allowing it to lead to creative stagnation.

    As much as I enjoy this blog, I would not feel right reading it knowing that it inflicts such a high emotional toll upon its author. I hope your experiences at this job will have left you better equip to handle the selfishness and egotism that permeates the television industry. Though from what I gather, it is a far different beast than the service industry, people are still really shitty anywhere you go.

    Who knows, maybe I will some day stumble upon your blog detailing your navigation through that industry haha. Best of luck.

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  2. Buried deep in my Bookmarks is your blog. Every now and then I stumble onto it and spend a couple days catching catch up on your travails. Thanks for checking out and not just disappearing. Looking forward to your movie.

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