Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nice Poker Face, Dick

I have 15 minutes to go on my lunch break, it's Saturday night, it's raining, and the TV in the locker room is broken, so I can't secretly watch reruns of Full House.

In leu of all this, I'd like to post a quick story in the now 13 minutes that I have left on my break: 

A man, a real salty son of a bitch, who has been giving everyone nothing but attitude throughout his entire stay, approaches me inquiring about reserving a limo to the airport tomorrow. 

Man - "I need a stretch limo to the airport tomorrow." 

Doorman - "Okay, how many people and how many suitcases?" 

Man - "Six people, seven suitcases." 

Doorman - "Okay."

(Checks rates.) 

Doorman - "That'll be $130, which includes all tolls and taxes. Though it doesn't include a tip for the driver." 

Not that the driver would benefit much from this fucking asshole. 

Man - "No! No! Unacceptable! I have another company that will charge me only $110!" 

I didn't have time for haggling. It was pouring, people needed taxis, and there was money to be made. 

Doorman - "So why don't you call that company then?" 

A staredown. He gives me his best poker face. I wanted to see if he was bluffing. We intensely studied each other. I could tell he was a shiester, a real penny-pincher. He was eyeballing me big-time, as if all of the money were going into my pocket. He was sadly mistaken. 

I refuse to break eye contact. Ten seconds go by. His eyes look away and his gaze hits the floor. He is defeated. 

Man - "Fine. $130 is okay." 

Victory: Doorman!!!

I take his information and smugly slide the reservation card across the bell desk. He doesn't thank me. Not that I give a fuck, I  just guaranteed a nice little commission to be waiting for me when I come in tomorrow. 

Unless, of course, he just went and called the other guy. 

Okay, break's over. Bye. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How to Survive Working as a Doorman in NYC - Rule #8

Now that you know the essential basics of thriving as a luggage mule, here are some more pointers to help you maximize the amount of money you get to take home every night:

8 - Never, under any circumstances, overlook someone who has taken care of you. 

Whenever someone takes care of you, whether it's a five when you valet the car, or a ten when you bring their luggage to reception, or the slip of a few crispy singles when you get them a taxi, you scan their face like the Terminator and remember the shit out of them. Why? Two reasons:

A- The obvious: Because they understand how this whole thing works, and they'll likely have more fucking money for you.

B - If you don't, it's just a dick move. Don't be a dick.

I never really understood the importance of "B" till I had a few experiences with my own doormen (yes, I have doormen). The guys in my building are awesome, save for some who have a bad attitude about the job. And, believe me, I get it. No one is perfect and I can imagine that it's VERY tough to keep a smile on your face day-in and day-out when you live in a building like mine (full of drunken, twenty-something professionals and trust-fund brats). There are two guys, though, that I have a problem with.

One is with a guy, "Jerry", who, in the two years I've lived in that building, has never so much as smiled or said hello to me. That's fine. I'm not high-maintenance, nor do I need to be coddled every time I enter or leave. I always greet the guys on my way in and out. It's just my thing. This dude flirts with girls, jokes around with delivery guys and the other doormen, completely ignoring me in the process. Every. Single. Time. Like I said, I understand the job. I understand that it's tough to put a smile on. I get it. But this guy has every reason to just say hello to me. Here's why:

After Hurricane Sandy, we were forced out of our apartments for four months due to critical damage to the building's electrical equipment. Despite the fact that the property had no heat or electricity for weeks, the maintenance and door staff still worked around the clock to protect and restore our building. They were rock stars. When we received notice that we weren't going to be able to come back until March at the earliest, I returned to my apartment to pick up the last of whatever bare essentials I needed to get me though the next couple of months.

On the way inside, seeing these dudes working like dogs, breathing in all sorts of fumes in the freezing cold, I thought I should do something nice for them. After all, it's a brotherhood, right? I gotta take care of my guys.

So I took a trip down to the supermarket and picked up about $100 worth of sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. I figured the least I could do was buy them lunch for a day. When I walked in, there was Jerry.

Perfect, I thought. I'd been trying to get on this guy's good side since I moved in.

Doorman - "Hey, Jerry. I'm Chris from apt 2110."

Jerry - "Yes, sir. How can I help you?"

I plopped the shopping bags on the desk gave him a toothless smile.

Doorman - "Nothing. Just wanted to bring this by."

Jerry looked at it as if I just plopped a liverwurst on the table.

Jerry - "What is it?"

Doorman - "Just some sandwiches and drinks and stuff."

He stared, waiting for an explanation.

Doorman - "Just make sure everyone gets fed. I wanted to... you know... show my appreciation. For all the hard work you guys are doing."

Jerry - "Thanks."

A long, awkward pause. I wasn't sure what I'd expected to come out of this. I didn't think he was going to triumphantly hold the bags over his head and announce to the building staff that Jesus had come and brought them some nourishment, but a fucking smile would have been decent.

Doorman - "Ok, well, have a great day."

Jerry - "You too, sir."

He had always been cold, so I didn't really think much of his lackluster reaction. It did bother me a bit, seeing that I didn't really have to do what I did. I think I was just annoyed that I didn't get to pass if off to one of the guys that I'm friendlier with, someone who would have thanked me... and actually remembered my name.

We moved back into the apartment that March. Still, to this day, he never acknowledges me when I greet him. I wasn't looking for a heroes welcome from him when I came back, but just a god-damned smile or a head-nod - something, anything, would suffice. Now I'm at the point where I rack my brain wondering what the hell I did to this guy.

Then I think about it some more, and realize that he's just a fucking jerk.

The second guy totally fooled me. "Carl" and I are usually on the same work schedule, so I obviously don't see him much. One day, around Christmas time, I thought I had left my stove on, so I called the front desk and he picked up. He was super cool, told me he'd check and call me back immediately. Sure enough, less than five minutes later, he called to inform me that everything was A-OK. Being that I've been conditioned to take care of people who take care of me, I caught him leaving as I was returning home, and slipped him a five.

I could see his pupils morph into dollar signs.

After that, I seemed to see Carl every time I passed though the lobby. He would greet me every time, call me by my name, ask me what I thought the Mets were going to do in the off-season. It was like having a brand-new friend to shoot the shit with.

As the holidays approached, my roommates and I prepared to give our yearly "holiday envelope" to the building staff. We gave our usual amount, and the three of us signed the card and dropped it in the box next to the front desk. Apart from that, I like to give some one the other guys, who I consider "my guys", the ones who call me by my first name, who smile and say hello every morning, who make an effort to get to know me and make me fell welcome, and give them a little something extra. A little slip of the hand and a personal "thank you" from me. (I don't know if this is a practice that anyone else uses, but it works for me. This is only my second Christmas living in a building like this.)

Carl, over the past few weeks, had earned his keep on the list of "my guys".

As I slipped him the cash, his eyes lit up once again.

Carl - "Thanks, bro! I like your style!"

It's now March. He hasn't so much as said "Good Morning" to me since. He's gone back to being the indifferent guy who rarely, if ever, shows a bit of warmth or hospitality.

Now, I understand and respect his game. He saw a mark and executed. I'm all for throwing a few extra bones his way if there's a little bit of gratitude to show for it. Here's the problem I have with this: I plan on living here past next year, and he probably thinks I won't recognize his shtick. It's one thing to get your tip from a guest in a hotel, then move onto the next one. It's another to hustle a bigger tip out of a resident, then turn your back on him once they're tearing down the Christmas decorations.

So guess what happens? When he perks up for the holidays this year, I look the other way.

Point is, you never want to offend a good tipper. Someone who is generous with you in the beginning is someone who enjoys tipping, like myself. Seriously, there are some people out there who actually enjoy making people's day. It's a no-brainer and a win-win. You get paid, they get excellent service and feel like they've done a good deed. Always remember and worship someone who takes care of you right off the bat. Otherwise, you're just shooting yourself in the foot.

Ever go to a restaurant or a bar, leave a server a great tip, and they don't acknowledge that you've done so? Feels like a waste, right? Same rules apply here.

Doorman Owns an Entitled Guido

As you may have noticed through over one hundred stories about my follies and adventures, I sometimes have a difficult time controlling my temper. During my three-month hiatus from blogging, I spent a good deal of time dealing with these issues. I can't say that I still don't have the occasional dust-up, because I most certainly do. With this job, it's par for the course. Though I'm proud to say that I've been improving my approach to dealing with belligerent assholes, thus shrinking my odds of getting my head kicked in by someone who actually means business. 

As you may have seen in my pilot (WATCH IT HERE), or in the popular My Name is Nunzio post, I will sometimes have to deal with a guido in a nice car, who swings his dick around and can't be told anything he doesn't want to hear. I grew up on Staten Island, and I've had my lifelong fill of these entitled wannabe wise-guys who think they can do and say whatever the fuck they want. Most of these little pukes are nobodies cruising around on daddy's dime, but you really never know who you're messing with. 

That's the frustrating thing about having to confront these guys. They're all going to put on the same fa├žade, belittling you while trying to impress whatever woman they have in the passenger seat. Most of the time, if I see a car in the loading zone, I give them a few minutes to do what they have to do and only approach them if it's absolutely necessary. Nine times out of ten, the problem fixes itself. (I'll cover this in my next How to Survive Being a Doorman post.) 

Though on this particular day, it was 3pm, I had a guests and a taxi trying to pull in, and this grease-ball in an Escalade took it upon himself to casually parallel park in my last spot in the loading zone. With a cabbie honking at me, and an economy car with Quebec plates behind them trying to unload, I had no choice but to get this fucker out of here. 

This brings be back to my dealing with anger issues. Instead of flipping out, running over to him like a maniac, I instead took a breath and approached him like a gentleman. He was older, maybe in his fifties, with that coifed, slicked-back rug atop his dome. The first words out of his mouth as I approached his vehicle with a wave and a warm smile was, "what?" 

Not a good start, Paesan. 

Doorman - "Checking in, sir?" 

Guido - "No." 

He wife was in the passenger seat. 

Doorman - "Are you picking anybody up at the hotel?"

Guido - "No." 

We're at three words being spoken to me. Here I am, trying to do my job, and I have this grown-ass man giving me one-word answers like some spoiled toddler.

Doorman - "Okay, do you have any business here at the hotel."

Guido - "No."

Okay, fucker.

Doorman - "Well, I'm going to have to ask you to move. I need to get some guests in here and you're blocking my only spot."

Now, any reasonable human being would oblige. Why? Because I was polite, gave them a moment to speak their peace, and kept my cool. But we're not dealing with any reasonable human being. We're dealing with Johnny OneWordAnswers:

Johnny OneWordAnswers - "No."

All the work I've been doing to control my temper and remain calm in situations like this had official been called in.

Doorman - "Excuse me?"

Then, Johnny OneWordAnswers spoke:

Johnny OneWordAnswers - "I'll be leaving in a minute."

As he took out his phone to start texting, with his plastic wife nearly catatonic next to him, I felt that old familiar feeling: the blood rushing to my face, my heart galloping loud enough for me to feel it in my earlobes, the shaky hands. There were two doors I could walk through, and I did the mature thing and walked through... the... umm... mature door?

Doorman - "Sir, I don't have a minute. I have one parking spot to unload two separate cars, and I can't do that with you sitting here. Now, please, do me a favor and move."

Spoken like a true gentleman, Doorman.

Johnny OneWordAnswers - "You're not a traffic cop. I'm not fuckin' moving."

I just stared at him. I wanted to punch him as hard as I could in the mouth, then take the metal street garbage can and smash it over his windshield. But I didn't. I just kept persisting. Kept being a gentleman:

Doorman - "Why are you acting like this?"

He looked up from his phone. He knew what I was getting at, and he invited me to follow through with my statement.

Johnny OneWordAnswers - "Like what..."

Doorman - "You know god-damn well 'what'."

He shifted in his seat and gave his wife the "you believe this fucking guy?" look.

Doorman - "You know what? Stay here as long as you want. Enjoy your victory. Sit here and know that you've made my job more difficult. And for what? To impress your woman? Congratulations."

And then I walked away. If he was going to fuck up my day, I'll be damned if I don't get the last word in.

I went back to the door to get a valet ticket, and planned on just figuring out how to work around Johnny OneWordAnswers. I flung the door open, snatched the ticket book from on top of the doorman phone, and turned back.

Johnny OneWordAnswers was gone. The car with the Quebec plates was pulling in.

VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I celebrated like Walter White did after he blew up Tuco's headquarters. You know, when he first realizes that he loves being a criminal? (Haven't watched Breaking Bad yet? I feel sorry for you.)

So about twenty minutes passes by, and a bellman comes outside to bull shit about stuff. I told him my triumphant story. I told him that I used the gentleman's approach to dealing with Johnny OneWordAnswers, and how I'm never going to lose my temper again, and how I'm the greatest doorman alive. He laughed and nodded, proud that I was turning over a new leaf.

Then, just as I finished my story, I saw a  gloved hand, low to the ground, with it's middle finger erected as it passed by me.

Walking by was Johnny OneWordAnswers, standing a mere 5'2 with his wife towering over him, flipping me the bird. All I could do was let out a belly-laugh.

Doorman - "HEY! Where'd you park?!?!"

He simply just lifted his little hand up higher, with his stubby little middle finger angrily pointed towards the sky, and kept moving.

I never saw Johnny OneWordAnswers again.

I've been doing this for two and a half years. There has never been a more satisfying end to any altercation I've ever had. Ever. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

7 Ways to Survive Working as a Doorman in NYC

Believe it or not, I've had several requests from other (mostly just starting) doormen to write a post giving pointers on the actual job, which I never though was relevant in this blog. Then I spent this evening really paying attention to the little nuances that happen throughout my day, what I look for in guests and in potential situations to make money, avoid conflict, start conflict, and survive through a shift without getting fired or arrested. (If you have no interest in learning how to become a better doorman, I understand. You could probably stop reading now. However, if you're curious to learn a little more about the hustle that allows me to live vicariously in New York City, then please read on. You might learn a thing or two.) 

Being a "good doorman" can it can be interpreted into two different ways:

A - He who takes pride in his job, smiling and having a genuine goal to provide excellent customer service. 

B - A hustler, who is there to make as much money as possible, by any means necessary. 

I find that most doormen start at A, because it seems like the obvious choice when working in hospitality. 

If I smile and be nice, I'll make a ton of tips! Right? 

Wrong. 

Over time, you get stepped on enough. You become jaded and bitter. Soon you'll begin to realize that you're just a microscopic blip on people's radar while they're on vacation. Sure, you might run into a couple of people who take an interest in you, and you might strike up a conversation about your aspiring acting career, maybe even exchange emails. They'll tell you that they'll be sure to look up your YouTube channel, or read this blog you've been writing. But once they're home and back to their routine, you'll just be that nice doorman from their trip to the big city, whose name they can't remember. 

That's why it's necessary to take a good look at option B. If you plan on being there for awhile, as I have found myself (two and a half years of "this is just temporary" sneaks up on you), you'll eventually have to learn how to make good money, and it doesn't come with being the smiley punching bag that management wants every front-of-house employee to be. If that were the case, front desk agents would be millionaires. 

If I had to categorize myself, I'd say I lean towards B. Picture a gas gauge: "A" being empty and "B" being full. I'm right at the three-quarter of a tank mark. I know some guys who are strictly the "A" type, who do the right thing, all day and every day, make an average wage, and are completely (or so they say) content. Then I know some guys who are the ruthless opposite. Those guys are the high earners who will stop at nothing to crush all those around him to pull in as much as they can. For me, I like to hold back a little. It makes me feel better at the end of the day. Sort of. 

To be completely honest, there's a certain rush you get from knowing that there's no figurative cap on how much money you can make in a day. I've worked both hourly wage and salary jobs in addition to this one. Having experienced the empowerment you feel when you've crushed your way to a personal record for one day, it would be really tough to go back to knowing the exact dollar to the cents that I pull in every week. 

With that, here's my comprehensive list of How to Survive Working as a Doorman in NYC: 

1- Never leave the door

This may sound simple and stupid, but walking away from the door takes you out of the game completely. It turns your odds from making any number of dollars to a stone-cold zero. I don't care if you could have ten arrivals left for the evening and they're all business men from India. You don't fucking walk away from the door. No matter how bleak the night is looking - walking away to text your girlfriend, or to get coffee, or to smoke a cigarette - will eliminate your chances of making anything. The second you leave, a guy in a Bentley will pull up and give the other doorman a twenty to watch his car while he runs into the deli to get a sandwich. Then you come back with your chai tea fuckiatto that you spent twenty minutes waiting for at Starbucks, ask the other doorman what you missed, and he tells you "nothing". Which brings me to:

2 - The loading zone is real estate

Say you're working the night shift and it's dead. Your loading zone fits five cars. A guy pulls up and he's only staying for a few hours while he has dinner with a guest. If it's dead, and there's no one loading or unloading, why waste all of that perfectly good real estate? Know your neighborhood's parking garage/valet prices, and charge them a little less. $30 to park it in a lot for two hours? Tell them you'll do it for 20, and they can keep it there till the end of your shift. Most of the time, they'll hit you again on the way back for saving them from the hassle of getting it whacked around by the careless garage attendants. And don't ever worry about getting in trouble for it. Why? Because every manager at your job has or will eventually ask you to watch a car for them - whether it's theirs or a friend or family member's - to save themselves a few bucks.

3 - Make sure their hands are free

Whenever you approach a car or a taxi to greet potential guests, you'll always need to make sure that the potential tipper isn't carrying anything. Not because it's good service, but because if they're hands are occupied carrying they bags, how the fuck do you expect them to tip you? If they only have one hand free, then they can't open up their wallet or purse to give you anything. If you have to strain yourself by throwing a duffle bag over your shoulders when you're already handling two suitcases, do it. This gives you the opportunity to chat them up a bit on the way to reception, and it gives them a moment to reach into their pockets to give you something. If there's no line at reception, there's really nothing keeping them from walking right up to the front desk agent to begin checking in, leaving you with your dick in your hand. So you need to make sure they're not distracting themselves by placing a bag down. 

That being said-  when there's a group, always find your mark when they get out of the car. Meaning that if a van full of four people hops out, find the one most likely to give you something, and make sure you get their bags. If it's a family with children, make sure the patriarch isn't holding anything. This is what teenage sons are for. 

Another tip - if a group of young women come out, always make sure the most attractive one is carrying her own bags. Hear me out- they're used to being the first ones greeted by men, while their friends are likely used to carrying their own stuff in favor of her. I've been doing this for a long time- hot girls don't tip. If you bypass the other girls in favor of the hottest one (which, believe me, is a sad, sad instinct we have), you'll be just like every other luggage mule that's come their way, and you won't get shit for it. Take the suitcase of the less hot, likely more humble one, and you'll surprise and flatter them, thus increasing your odds of getting a tip. 

Speaking of greeting guests in taxis:

4 -If you open a trunk, and the luggage tags are from the United States, any non-French speaking region of Canada, Mexico, or Ireland: 

Take a breath of relief. There's money to be made. 

5 - If you open a trunk, and the luggage tags are from England, Germany, Japan, Iceland, any Scandinavian country, Quebec, most of Central and South America, or Australia: 

Put your tap shoes on, do some serious stretching, and be prepared to dance and dance hard. If you're going to get anything, you're going to work for it, and it won't be much. 

Although Australians are the most open to learning about our tipping culture, and are the nicest, most sociable tourists out there. Always ask an Australian how long they've been traveling. It's very common for them to take 4-6 weeks "holiday" at a time, and they usually hit up several US cities during any given trip. If they've been in the states for long enough, someone may have schooled them on how to tip. 

6 - If you open a trunk, and the luggage tags are from France, Italy, Spain, China, Russia, Africa, Brazil, or the Emirates:

Lube up. 

Having said that, getting a nice tip from an offending country is overwhelmingly exhilarating. It almost never happens, but when it does, it's a beautiful thing. I once got a ten-dollar tip from a black woman from France who wore a headdress. I nearly fainted. 

7 - When a taxi driver honks his horn at you and points to fetch the bags, always use this line in the calmest voice possible:

"I'm sorry, sir. Did you not want to finish your job and earn your tip?" 

I covered this in the first Doorman vs Taxi Driver, but I'll briefly revisit it because I've learned to use it to my advantage:

A lot of cabbies will smugly beep at the doorman and point to the trunk to unload the luggage, which is their job, when dropping a guest off from the airport. This, of course, has no ill affect on them because the guest is going to tip him what they planned on tipping them, completely unaware that they're not going to carry out the final task in their duties. 

Saying those simple words: "I'm sorry, sir. Did you not want to finish your job and earn your tip?" in the most polite voice possible, just loud enough for your guest to hear it, will not only vilify the piece of shit behind the wheel, but immediately plants "tip" in the guest's brain. Now they see that not only is the cabbie doing the wrong thing, but the doorman is picking up the slack. They hear "tip", see that the doorman is working harder and still being polite to the jerk-off beeping at him, and have instantly gotten on board with the man in the funny hat. 

Then, when you greet your guests with a smile, having already unloaded their bags from the car, you leave the trunk wide open and walk away. Then the cabbie still has to get out to close it. Why? Because fuck him, that's why. 

But, also - this will, nine times out of ten, cause the cabbie to scream profanities at you as you walk in with the guest. So now the guest has seen you be mistreated, act like a gentleman, continue to carry out the task anyway, and they've heard the word "tip". The cabbie swearing at you will only work in your favor. The guest will think, "jesus, this guy has it rough and he's still smiling", and your odds of getting a tip have vastly increased. Little do they know, the shit-eating grin you're wearing is just the victory lap in another round of Doorman vs Taxi Driver


Next up: The Hustle. 

What to do once you've gotten the tip, and how to command respect from everyone who is trying to take money out of your pocket. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How May I Carjack You?

There's usually a point about midway through a really bad shift where I collect myself and become a normal human being again. I call it "leveling out". I'm sure people who suffer from unpredictable mood swings and have multiple meltdowns at work can relate this moment in their day - when you find yourself, inexplicably, in a great mood. For me, I instantly feel guilty about being able to smile again. It sounds fucked up (and I assure you, it is), but when I spend hours fighting with co-workers, screaming a cabbies, and acting like a fucking neanderthal, I'm almost embarrassed to perk up and become social again. It's like I don't feel like I've earned this sudden rush of good vibrations. Take a second to think about that - a mandatory part of my job is to smile at every guest, but I can't smile because I'm stressed and miserable, and when I'm not stressed and miserable, I feel like I don't deserve to be able to genuinely smile, because feeling stressed and miserable feels so god damned normal.

What the fuck was I going to write about?

Oh yeah!!!

So I was "leveling out" after about four solid hours of "fuck your mother", "whataya stupid, or what?", and the old classic "Do you think I'm scared of you because you have a few inches on me? I'll drop you like a fucking tree." (Although you don't really "drop" a tree, do you, Doorman?)

I used to be such a nice guy.

So I was leveling out, smiling again, trying to engage in conversation with co-workers who have become accustomed to being on edge around me. Like I'm some ticking time bomb, ever unpredictable and always temperamental. At times like these, where I've spent the entire day flipping out and being moody prick, I tend to overcompensate when I'm feeling a little better. I'm overly-helpful, overly-smiley, and just a gooey, hospitable boob. Especially with the guests.

As I'm headed back to the door after being dismissively handed a dollar by some suit with a carry-on bag, a college kid walks in and tries to take my luggage cart. I don't let anyone touch my luggage cart. One reason is that they guests aren't allowed to use the carts without a bellman or doorman, something about it being a liability or whatever. (I feel like if you're stupid enough to hurt yourself while operating a luggage cart, you really don't deserve to travel... or breathe.) Another is that there's a small staircase you have to use upon entering the lobby, so no matter what you load onto the cart outside, you have to unload it then load another to bring it to the front desk. I prefer to make a few trips and just load one in the lobby. It's always more efficient. (This is the extent of how much I have to problem-solve while at work.)

Doorman - "Hold on, sir! Can I help you?"

He was a college student, wearing a University of West Virginia hoody with shaggy hair and flip flops.

College Kid - "Yeah, I need to check in. Where do I park?"

I explain the valet rules. He was staying for three nights, so the total would be $105. This was a bank-breaker for him, and I could tell that any chances of a tip had vanished immediately. Still, I was trying to "level out" and be nice, so I stuck with him and offered up my services.

College Kid - "Well, you're not the bad guy in all of this. Guess we just have to pay up."

Right.

We get outside to his car, a shiny-new Ford Fiesta.  I open the trunk, and there's a wheelchair along with a cooler and a few duffle bags. Piece of cake. His girlfriend gets out of the front seat, and what appeared to be his mother gets out of the back. She could walk, but hobbled a bit when getting out. Before I could offer to put down the ramp for her, the College Kid made a request:

College Kid - "Yeah, so is there, like, any credentials you can show me that proves you work here? Other than that hat."

Huh?

Doorman - "Excuse me?"

College Kid - "Yeah, like, how can you prove that you work here?"

Doorman - "What are you talking about?"

College Kid - "How do I know that you're not trying to steal my car?"

I had no idea what to say. Not that it mattered - I was fucking frozen. In my two and a half years working here, no one has ever so much as hinted that I might try and steal their car. Sure, you always get the twat who says "be careful with it", or "don't fuck it up", or "$35 per day? you gonna wash it for me, too?" then stiffs you. But no one has ever flat-out questioned if I were, in fact, an impostor in a goofy hat.

He turns to his girlfriend.

College Kid - "Why don't you go inside and vouch for him while I take care of the stuff. What's your name, sir?"

Fuck this.

Doorman - "Are you fucking kidding me? You know what? You've got some fucking balls. When you get out of college, and you've earned that shitty piece of paper that you've put yourself in six-figures of debt to obtain, I hope you remember me when you're pumping gas for some smug little prick who has no fucking idea what the world has in store for him. Now get the fuck out of here before I put my foot up your ass.... Oh, and if I were going to steal a car, it wouldn't be a motherfucking Ford Fiesta, you economy car-driving cunt!!!"

He stared at me for a few seconds, then burst into tears and apologized profusely. Then I took out my mule and he blew me in front of his mom and girlfriend.

Ok, that's not what happened.

I just muttered my name under my breath, and the girlfriend ran inside. I opted out of helping them with their luggage.

College Kid - "Sorry, bro. It's just the world we live in."

Fuck you. 

I finished writing out the paperwork, and I'm assuming on the of managers confirmed my identity. I didn't lay a finger on any of their bags, and he ultimately used his mom's wheelchair to carry all of the stuff up the stairs.

After I was handed over the keys, refusing to make eye contact, his mother chimed in:

His Mom - "He's only doing this because he had his car stolen once."

I didn't really need to know that. I was fine with just hating him, which is why I didn't so much as look at her as she walked away. I would spend the rest of the evening ignoring them, not opening the door and greeting them as they came in and out, and not carrying the wheelchair up the stairs. In hindsight, I should have been extra helpful to make them feel like shit. Maybe some reconciliation could have happened, and I would have learned a little about a guy who's nice enough to take his wheelchair-ridden mom on a trip to NYC with his girlfriend. But sometimes the high road is hard to find. (99.9% sure I just quoted a song lyric. Doesn't make it any less true.)

Immediately after the incident, I reverted right back to the ol' looney-bin Doorman, ranting and raving and carrying on about how degrading the incident was... to my black co-worker.

He listened to my dissertation on how he judged me before knowing me, about how I'm college educated and from a good family, from a good neighborhood, and how it wasn't fair that I had to prove that I wasn't a degenerate or thief to some fucking kid. Then, after about ten minutes without saying a word, he took a small breath through his nose:

Black Co-worker - "Yeah... some white kid looked at you and assumed you were going to steal from him... can't imagine what that's like."

And then I shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

#DOORMAN: Full Pilot

I took a hiatus for a few months to work on a few things. During that span, I was able to finally post the ten-minute concept pilot based upon my experiences that I've posted on this here blog. Todd Van Der Werff of The A.V. Club recently ranked Doorman as the #2 pilot out of 47 to premier at the New York Television Festival.

Please, the more you watch, share, and comment, the larger the chances are of my show being discovered and picked up. It can be FOUND HERE. 

Enjoy!!!

Hi, I'm Writing On Here Again

A wonderful little nuisance about New York City is that you can get away with nearly any type of psychotic behavior in public, just as long as it happens in passing. The people who inhabit this congested island, whether they're a native or tourist, are perpetually distracted. Most New Yorkers are simply trying to get from point A to point B, likely deafened and blinded by their smart phones, chasing that fleeting high of reaching their destination in better time than the day before, completely missing the world go by them. 

Tourists, on the other hand, take the opposite route. They gravitate towards Times Square like moths, overwhelmed by the bustling nature of this frantic metropolis that I call my home. With the constant stimuli of big, bright lights, hustling street vendors and seemingly endless strip of chain restaurants and clothing stores feeding their enormous expectation of a big ol' crazy city, our visitors tend to over look the real action happening around them. 

Which is why, as I sprinted down Broadway, chasing down a taxi and maniacally waving a cane over my head as my frayed, now-undersized overcoat flapped in the wind like some sad cape, no one seemed to noticed or care. 

The story isn't too far off from one I've told in the past. My 93-year old co-worker, whose health is rapidly deteriorating, needed a taxi. Recently, she finally caved and hired a driver to take her to and from work every day. This saved the doormen the trouble of having to hail a taxi, begging the cabbie to wait and not take another fare while the doorman spends five minutes running up the steps, helping her out of the wheelchair, down the steps, and into the car during the cabbie's peak business hour. It was wonderful… for a week. Then, one evening, he asked to borrow $40 as he dropped her off. She happily gave it to him then he, of course, he didn't show to pick her up the next day. She never saw him again. These are the people whom walk the earth amongst us. 

So now it's back to a daily confrontation - whether it's with a cabbie who doesn't want to wait a couple of minutes, or some fucking suit who doesn't have a problem jacking an old woman's cab. 

A taxi pulls up with some guests inside. They had a few odds and ends in the trunk, mostly just shopping bags to stuff into their gluttonous, disproportionate sacks of back-breaking misery - nothing they would need help with. It's the one of the old taxis, the Ford Crown Victorias or "crown vicks", as we call them. Perfect. It's literally the only type of vehicle she can get into at this point. They're low to the ground and with enough leg-room for her to not have to bend her knees when she gets in. (Yeah, not only do I have to find her a cab during rush hour, I have to ween through the scarce available cars to find the one type that the city is rapidly phasing out. They'll eventually be gone in favor of the larger, more fuel efficient vehicles.)

The cabbie was an Indian man, with an uneven mustache and eyebrows that looked like they could up and run away from his face at the first sign of trouble: 

Doorman - "How are you, sir? I have an elderly woman up there that I need to help down the steps. Would you mind starting the meter and waiting a minute while I go up and her?" 

Without hesitation, he simply said, "okay". 

Most of the time, it's that easy. Most of the time, simply letting them know they can start the meter is all they need to hear. Sometimes, these guys need a minute to breathe. They might be open to taking a break from the demanding yuppies and shitty tourists who flood their taxis at this time of day. I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you think my stories are bad, talk to a taxi driver. They work longer hours, are treated plenty worse, and get paid a helluva lot less for it. I've made friends with a many of cabbies and a good deal of them are wonderful, hard-working people who are just doing what they have to do to make a buck. 

And then there's this cunt. 

I opened the door, indicating to every other fuckhead on the block that it was spoken for. I ran to my coworker, who had dozed of while waiting. After shaking her gently on the shoulder, she handed me her cane to hold as we began the grueling process of getting her on her feet and down the steps. She's as wobbly as ever these days, with each step taking longer than the next. Though on this particular night, she was more unsteady than usual. Luckily for me, as we were about halfway down the stairs, a good samaritan stopped and asked if we needed help. In the two and a half years I've been doing this, no guest has even so much has waited to let her walk by, let alone offered to take an arm and make it easier for her. 

Just as I was about to politely decline his assistance, my eyes locked with the cabbie waiting. Seeing the situation - having to get out of the car and help her into her building when he drops her off- his expression was an was one to read:

"Fuck this." 

He reached his arm back and slammed the door shut. Just as he pulled away, I graciously accepted the man's offer:

Doorman - "Yes, actually, can you hold her for one minute?" 

I handed her over to my new best friend and took off down the street, cane in hand. 

I wish I knew exactly what I planned on doing as I fiendishly pursued this unsuspecting fucker while he was stopped at the light three blocks down. Like most of my best and worst-laid plans, it was going to be executed completely through impulse and an overwhelming urge to prove something to no one in particular. You see, in the three months and three days since my last post, I'd envisioned that the closure of it all would somehow propel me into a different chapter in my life. Yet I find myself still stuck here, fighting with cabbies, continuously jumping in the whirlpool of hostility that I swore I was clear of when I ended this blog. 

I got to him, and like some fucking baboon who didn't get his way, I punched the door. This startled the bejesus out of him. Had I ended it there, it would have been justice enough. But he made the mistake of mouthing "fuck you" through his closed window, so I yelled, I screamed, I carried on, and I fired off a tsunami of profanities and slurs as I flailed my co-workers cane in the air like the village drunkard at a witch-burning. His gruff, calloused face slowly deteriorated before my eyes.

The light mercifully turned green and he peeled out, nearly in tears, with a glob of my saliva oozing down his window. 

As I ran back to the hotel, where no one had noticed I was gone, save for my co-worker and new friend, I looked to the sidewalk and noticed everyone going about their day. My eruption may have garnered a bit of attention from a few tourists, maybe a local or two, though the second the cabbie peeled out, they went on with their lives, forgetting about the dude in a raggedy coat and funny hat throwing a tantrum in the middle of the street. I eventually got her a taxi with the help of the good samaritan. Then I spent the next six hours of my shift pacing around, occasionally hailing a taxi or carrying in someone's luggage. 

To be honest, I'm not sure why I wrote this. I just came home, opened up my laptop, and started typing. It's been awhile since I've been able to sit glued to my computer, wanting to finish a story before the sun came up, eager to wake up the next early-afternoon to see who commented or how many views or retweets on Twitter or "likes" I got on Facebook. Who knows? Maybe I'm a junkie for instant gratification. Or maybe I just forgot how much I love writing about this stuff. 

I have a few projects that I'm working on, including a new pilot and a feature screenplay I've been writing. My personal life is great, and there are many things falling into place for me. But, truth be told, I miss writing this blog. I really do. I need it to keep me focused. Sure, the thrill of writing something anonymously is gone, and with the #Doorman pilot published online, my name is now permanently attached to this blog, but who's to say I can't have a place to vent? And, sad to say, who really gives a fuck about what the guy holding the door open publishes on the internet? 


Because, let's face it - no one cares about what he has to say in the workplace.

So please accept my request to once again become part of your ritual when you are browsing the internet while procrastinating at work or trying to unwind at night, looking for an escape from your problems so you can laugh at mine.