Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Old Dame From Brooklyn

Hey, guess what?

People were twats yesterday. 


Hard to believe that on a sweltering, humid New York City day at the end of June, the streets became a bubbling cesspool of hostility and displaced resentment? 

And I was right in the thick of it? 



Why am I spacing out my sentences this way? 

I don't know, it feels right!

Let me start the story, but first, a quote from the late, great, Dr. Suess:

What? Dr. Suess didn't say that? Oh. 

I've said this before - I'm not a religious man, by any means. Though, the older I get, the more I believe in there being an equalizer of sorts, something to restore balance whenever things get a little too lopsided. I see and deal with a lot of shit, but you know that by now. Though every once in a blue, something will fall on my lap to assure that everything will be okay. Some are less obvious (see here) (or here), and some make me straight-up question my faith (or lack thereof ). 

Yesterday was, yet again, a piece of shit day on the grotesque human behavior-front. If you've been reading this blog long enough, you don't need me to spell out what a bad day looks like for me, so I'll provide a little highlight reel of the things that happened less than two hours into my shift:

- A cabbie, a regular whom I'm very friendly with, got into a verbal spat with one of the hotel's town car drivers. As I loaded the guests, an already frightened German mother and son, into the town car, the 6'5 Haitian blocked them in with his taxi so he could continue whatever worthless little fight they'd been having. 

Apparently, while I wasn't there, the 5'3 Panamanian town car driver stood up to the big guy, telling to go fuck himself when the cabbie tried to bully him out of his parking spot. Good for him. The cabbie, still hot from the incident, refused to let the town car driver pull away with my guests in the car, fucking petrified

I intervened, because I had to get my guests out of there before the situation escalated into full-blown fisticuffs. All I wanted to do was defuse the situation and get rid of the people who had just stiffed me, but it's never that easy:


Doorman - "Dude, dude, dude! Let him get out. You can fight about it next time! There's people in the car!"

He ignores me keeps yelling. 


No bull shit - he went from threatening murder, to threatening to call the police in the the same breath. 

Doorman - "MY MAN!"

He looks at me. 

Doorman - "Please! Let it go. There are guests in the car and he can't get out. This isn't resolving anything."

It's nice being the diplomat, once in a while. 


Well, that's not the way you make allies. 

Doorman - "This is my business. He's our driver, with our guest in the car."

Cabbie - "GO DO YOUR JOB!!!"

More yelling between the two of them ensued, then finally another cabbie intervened and got him to move back. 

It was embarrassing - those two guests in the car, having the last moment of their New York City vacation be ruined by a bunch of street hustlers having a turf war. 

Oh, wait!!! I don't give a fuck about that! I want to confront him about how he spoke to me. 

As he vented to the other cabbie about what had happened, I ran over:

Doorman - "Hey, asshole..."

He turns to me, a fire still in his eyes. 

Doorman - "You think you're going to talk to me like that, and I'm going to give you an airport fare?" 

He straightens out his posture. Him and I had always been friendly with each other, but that means nothing in a situation like this. 


At that moment, it occurred to me that I had nothing else to say to him, but felt obligated to hold my ground:

Doorman - "YEAH!" 

Not sure why I said that. 


Ah! I got something.

Doorman - "Good. Go fuck yourself. That's two."

I have to admit - I'm sometimes grateful that I wear a uniform and work in the middle of a busy Manhattan avenue. It gives me the opportunity to act like the badass I always wanted to be without having to get my head kicked in by a man twice my size. 

He looks at me with homicide in his eyes. I stand my ground. He takes a step towards me. I pray he doesn't want to go to jail today. He hesitates. I get my last word in:

Doorman - "We done?"

Before he could answer, I walk away. 

He then, verbatim, yells this as I head back to me door:


We stared at each other, giving mean-mugs and mouthing "fuck you, motherfucker" at each other for at least thirty minutes. Then he took an airport fare from the hotel across the street. While I was still steamed from that altercation, it was a tame Doorman vs Taxi Driver exchange compared to the last one, so I was able to sort-of shake that off. 

But the universe wasn't done poking a stick at my love-handles:

- After getting a dollar for hailing a taxi, I carefully placed the single into my money wad. 

An older, civilian passer-by caught a glimpse of my cash. I wouldn't call him a homeless derelict, yet to call him a functioning member of society would be a gross overstatement. Kind of like that alcoholic family member you have that goes on a bi-yearly bender to sabotage everything around him. He had a fresh shiner with a bloodshot eye, wearing clothing that had obviously cooked in the summer sun for days over his flush, red skin. I'll call him "Fred". 

Fred - "You got a dollar?" 

I have a rule to not donate any money while on the door. If you give a dollar to one guy, you'll have homeless people popping out of manholes hitting you up for cash. It might sound fucked up, but you can't show any weakness when everyone knows how much cash you have on you. That's how you get a knife-wheeling visitor on the subway staircase after work.

Doorman - "No, sorry." 

I go about my business, opening the door for several ingrates who don't say thank you. Fred hadn't left:

Fred - "FUCK YOU!" 

Well, that's just unnecessary. 

I turn to see him picking up a stomped out cigarette from the ground. He shows it to me like a toddler with a clump of spaghetti in his hand:

Fred - "Got a light?" 

I had a light. 

Doorman - "No."

Fred - "Well... FUCK YOU! Cock sucker!" 

He gives me the finger and walks away.

Doorman - "Hey!"

He turns back.

Doorman - "You're still broke."

He nods "touche", then keeps walking.

On the surface, it looks I had two marginal victories. But let's be honest - how many times, per day, do you have someone in your office scream profanities at you like that? It takes it's toll.

Then this happened:

- After carrying in ten suitcases for three Saudi Arabian kids without so much as a brief moment of eye-contact, I miserably slumped back to the door, where I found my 97-year-old co-worker, Ms. Joan, sitting in her wheelchair, waiting for me to begin my daily fiasco of getting her a taxi during rush hour, and a town car out front with the trunk popped open.

Guest comes first, so I walk past her and head to the town car. Two large suitcases. The second one is so heavy, I accidentally let out a little bip fart as I pull it out.

I drag the suitcases towards the door without waiting for the guests to finish paying.

A little, old British man wearing a fanny-pack is holding door open for people with a shit-eating grin. I put my hand on the door handle:

Doorman - "Thank you, sir. Go ahead."

I know what's coming. I try counting backwards from ten, taking deep breaths, anything my anger management classes taught me to defuse the overwhelming wave of inconsolable rage that's about to wash over me:

British Man - "No, no! I'm just practicing my new career! I'm doing your job, mate!"

I've covered this in a post before, so I won't go too deeply into this, but that is the absolute worst thing you can say to a doorman.

I. Went. Apeshit.

I yank the door handle from him.

Doorman - "GO."

This frightens him a bit. He scurries inside. I start speaking aloud, not necessarily to him, more like at him.

Doorman - "I'm out here breaking my ass in the heat, getting stiffed and screamed at by cabbies and degenerates, now I have to get mocked, too?!? That's not all this job is, my friend. THAT'S ALL THIS JOB IS!!!"

Just as I bellow out that last sentence, I angrily swing the heavy suitcases up the steps with everything I've got. I run up the stairs, grab the suitcase and swing it in front of me to gain momentum. Though something obstructed my path:

I hear a CRACK, followed by a faint, mousy scream.

Ms. Joan - "Ohhhh!!!!"

I hear another woman scream loudly. Ms Joan grabs her knee and starts screaming.

Doorman - "Oh my God!"

I drop the suitcases and put my hand on her knee.

Doorman - "Ms. Joan! I'm so sorry!"

Security and several other people run over. I look up to see the British Man, shaking his head in disgust. I want to scream and yell and tell everyone that it's his fault. It's his fault that his pompous little comments drove me to be careless, and now I've hurt a little old lady. I want to run up to him and throw him against the wall, let him know that if she's seriously injured, we both know that he has to live with it, even though everyone will point the finger at me.

No joke, all of these thoughts raced through my dramatic little head.

But at the end of the day, I lost my temper, spoke to a guest inappropriately and made a careless mistake.

Luckily, Ms. Joan is a tough cookie.

She shook it off, and eventually started laughing. I apologized profusely.

Ms. Joan - "It's okay, my dear."

I got her a taxi, though not before one slammed the door in my face and took off before I could get her in the car.

As I folded up her wheelchair and took a ten-second breather to collect myself, I was approached by another elderly woman, the "Old Dame":

Old Dame - "Excuse me, young man."

I turned to her. It's weird, I was so frantic that I actually forgot what she looked like. All I remember was she wore a large, Kentucky-derby-like hat, with equally-big sunglasses. One thing I do (and always will) remember, was that the second I looked at her, all of my anger was out the window. It's like when you see your grandmother for the first time in a long while - you know that no matter whatever shitty things you've done, or no matter how overlong it's been since you've taken the time to come visit, she's going to cook you a meal and make you feel like the greatest person in the world. That was the feeling I had when we made eye-contact.

Doorman - "Hi."

Old Dame - "Can you please direct me to Pasty's restaurant?"

Doorman - "Sure! Just turn right on 56th, then it's two avenues over. Between Broadway and 8th."

She flashed a massive, happy-to-know-you smile.

Old Dame - "Thank you, young man. You're a godsend. I knew I was meant to find you!"

I honestly don't know what that means, nor did I care. I just wanted her to keep saying nice things.

Doorman - "Thank you. Believe it or not, you just made my day."

Old Dame - "And you've made mine."

I don't know why, but I wanted her to stay awhile. And I could tell she wanted to as well.

Doorman - "You know, people are pretty lousy to me. It's refreshing when someone treats me like a human being."

She smiled again, then she said something I'll never forget:

Old Dame - "Well, that's because you're a good person, and it's not God out here working. It's the devil."

Doorman - "Wait... what?"

Old Dame - "When I was young, like you, I used to think it was God working in mysterious ways. But it isn't. It's the devil out here, influencing the bad. And the devil hasn't gotten you yet. He doesn't care about the bad people, because they're on his side already."

Doorman - "Ok..."

Old Dame - "You just keep being you. The devil is no match for a good soul like you."

Say what you will - she may have been bat-shit crazy, or more sane than anyone I've ever spoken to. I don't know. But what I do know, is she told me exactly what I needed to hear, in that very moment.

Doorman - "I'm more grateful for this than you could ever know."

I got more gooey and sentimental, because that's how I can be sometimes. I said more drippy things about how grateful I am for her and blah blah blah I'm sensitive.

Old Dame - "I'm glad you're grateful. Just remember me, the Old Dame From Brooklyn!"

And I always will. I was getting caught up in everything around me, letting the ugliness of others influence the way I behaved. Then this little old lady came along, and restored balance.

The rest of the night got better. I smiled more, got a few nice tips, managed to get through the evening incident-free.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Doorman & the Ladies: I'm Not Really Feeling... This

I won't to sit here and pretend that writing a blog post about a bad online dating experience is oozing with originality. I also won't bother denying that my dependency on this cruel, dysfunctional, eye-opening, often-hilarious, even more often-tragic, new-age way of finding a spouse has completely destroyed my approach with women. I used to be able to talk to a woman in a bar, or in a class, or in a workplace, and communicate that I'd like to pursue them romantically. And it worked. I did alright for a long time.

Somewhere along the way, after a few failed relationships and booze-fueled summers down the shore, I moved to Manhattan and got caught up in the internet dating chase. I've been at it, on and off, since 2011. Ever since, my ability to interact with women outside of what I'm now used to - scanning through profiles and finding cutesy little anecdotes which relates to something in their "what I'm doing with my life" sections, swiping right or left, altering my search criteria, altering my profile because everything I wrote last week is now completely embarrassing to me, uploading new pictures, answering new questions publicly so I can see someone's answer about sex or masturbation, rating someone 4 stars, boosting my profile, trying to figure out what someone is hiding, trying to figure out why someone who looks so good on paper would need to post a profile on this site, meet them in person, hear them talk for five minutes and understand immediately, type messages like "Hey- I have a signature dance move that I've yet to name. Care to assist?", immediately want to shoot myself in the head after I click "send", have a third or fourth really bad date in a row, claim I've had enough, cancel my account, delete app, get bored a few nights later, have no solid plans for the weekend, reactivate account, re-download app, start fiendishly swiping and messaging for a new date, settle on someone I'd have no interest in otherwise, go on another really bad date, cancel account again, rinse, repeat - has all but eroded. 

I can guarantee that last paragraph went over most of your heads, though if you've done the online dating grind, you're right here with me. Whatever the case, no more inside jokes.

A friend from out of town, who travels to New York for work every few months, came to visit me recently. "Emma", is big into Tinder in another major city (I've learned that each city has a site/app that reigns king over the others). Whenever we get together, war stories are exchanged. She's an attractive, successful woman, and most of her stories generally end with an equally attractive man having some sort of a meltdown or tantrum. They're all hilarious in their own right, but this isn't her blog, is it? 

We sat on my roof, soaked in a little sun, and caught up. She shared a saga about an overly-sensitive Bro bringing her a ficus to a second date (no shit), then opened up the floor to me. I took a healthy swing of my sun-warmed Brooklyn Summer, and got on with it. It's been one of my signature stories since it happened last October. I've told it at parties, on dates - whenever, wherever, I can get a laugh. And it kills, without fail, every time: 

It's never a good sign when someone's profile pictures consists of all tightly-framed "selfies". I should have known better, seeing that every picture "Allie" posted was cropped between top of her head and just a shade below the cleft of her chin. Though she had a pretty face and her profile was interesting enough for me to roll the dice. 

Cut to the Thursday of our rendezvous, which fell on Game 5 of the 2013 ALCS. My roommate's girlfriend is from Michigan, so they were at a bar in the East Village with a bunch of her good-looking, single friends (which is really where I should have fucking been in the first place. See? Online dating rots your brains).

I strategically set up to meet Allie at a bar close by, so I had somewhere to finish out the evening in case the date went poorly. And went poorly, it did.

The 6 train got delayed on my way over, so I had to text her on my way out of the station:

Doorman - Hey, sorry. just got off the train. Will be there in 5.

Allie - No worries. Grabbed a seat at the front of the bar. 

Since I was rushing and sitting in a crammed subway car for twenty minutes, I looked like a sweaty, disheveled mess. I checked the underarm of my baby-blue button-down shirt, which was soaked with a musty, Old Spice-scented sweat. Fantastic. She's sitting at the front of the bar, so I can't even sneak past her to the bathroom, where I can stand with my shirt flattened underneath the automatic hand-dryer (which I've done before).

Already off to a rocky start, I pop into a pizzeria and grab napkins to soak up my armpits. The shop owner shoots me a look, so I buy a bottle of water because I feel bad.

After chugging the lukewarm Aquafina, I arrive at the bar. Fix myself up a little, stuff the wet part of my shirt firmly under my armpits, stiffen up my biceps so the pit stains don't get loose, and walk inside.

Allie's waiting there, thumbing through her phone with a half-full beer in front of her. She's about 300 lb. Her pictures hinted that she may have been carrying a little bit extra (or "Curvy", as she put in the weight section), but this was a completely different person than the one I was talking to.

Still, I wasn't going to just turn around and leave, so I introduce myself and order a round of drinks. If anything, maybe I could get a fun conversation and buzz out of this.

But on top of her wildly deceiving pictures, she was also a bore. Any questions I'd ask were returned with a one-word answer, and any story or factoid about myself was bounced right back with a close-lipped smile and head-nod.

I was really trying, and she wasn't even attempting to reciprocate:

Doorman - "So, what do you do for a living?"

Allie - "Design."

Doorman - "Do you design software? People's homes? Coffee mugs?"

Allie - "Dishes."

Doorman - "Cool... so do you freelance, or work for a company, or..."

Allie - "A company."

Doorman - "Nice... anything I might have heard of?"

Allie - (A company I've never heard of.)

Doorman - "Cool. I think I've seen those somewhere."

Long pause. She sips her beer. I gulp mine.

Doorman - "So, I'm a writer."

Allie - "Oh yeah?"

Doorman - "Yeah. It's pretty fun. I write a blog. Turned it into a TV pilot, which is going to be at the New York Television Festival next week. So..."

Allie - "That's cool."

Doorman - "Yeah."

Another dreadful pause. I dunk my mouth into my glass and come up with more than a third of Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale.

Doorman - "What's your favorite color?"

Allie - "Why?"

Doorman - "Why not?"

Allie - "Purple."

Doorman - "Cool... mine's blue."

Ok, terrific.

Doorman - "I'm gonna use the restroom."

Allie - "Okay."

I don't have to piss yet, I just want to dry off my armpits before I head to the bar full of women who might actually care about what I have to say. Or, at the very least, watch playoff baseball and drink beers with my roommate.

I get back to the bar, and she's ordered another beer. God damnit.

Not trying to leave her hanging, I order another Smuttynose. Who knows? Maybe she's nervous. Maybe she'll loosen up after another beer and actually let herself have a good time.

The bartender flips a fresh coaster down and presents me with my favorite beer. 

Doorman - "So..." 

I rack my brain for something, anything to say. I'm completely blank. She stares back at me with the expression of a never-used dry-erase board. 

Doorman - "Yeah..." 

This is going nowhere. Whatever, I gave it my best effort. I decide to take a knee and run out the clock. 

Doorman - "Look, I'm having fun, but I think I'm going to head out after this beer. I have to be up early tomorrow."

She presses her lips together and nods, then does this: 

Allie - "Ok, good..."

She picks up her open palm and puts it out straight in front of her, in a "talk to the hand" motion. 

Allie - "Because I'm not really feeling..." 

She makes a sweeping, circular motion across my body.

Allie - "This."

Not "I'm not having fun", or "I don't think this will work", but "I'm not liking this package you've presented me", as if I'm one her of dishes and she's a client who doesn't think it's pretty enough.

More shocked than pissed off, I stare at her for a solid thirty seconds and fight of every urge to stoop to her level and verbally assault her with every insult she's probably heard a million times over. 

No, I just pick up my beer, toss it back, and gently place on the barely-wet coaster. 

Doorman - "Have a good one." 

And I left. I spent the rest of the evening downing pitchers of Bud Heavy with a bunch of hot Tigers fans and went home empty-handed. 

Back to my roof deck, where Emma is laughing and covering her mouth:

Emma - "Oh my God! What an asshole!" 

And then I ended my story to Emma, verbatim, the way I've been doing so for the past nine months: 

Doorman - "And honestly, I get it. I do. That probably happens to her all the time - guy shows up, takes one look at her, then either bails or has one courtesy drink. It must be a defense mechanism, you know? Like getting the last word in to make her feel like she made the decision to end the night. That's why I didn't say anything. Honestly, I feel sorry for her." 

Oh, Doorman, you look like such a stud on that high horse of yours. 

That's usually when someone will put their hand on my shoulder and say, "awww, well at least you tried to do the right thing, Doorman. Most guys would have just left before having a drink! You're a great guy!"

Then Emma said something that never occurred to me: 

Emma - "Wow. When I don't like someone on a first date, I'm at least cordial till the night is over. She's just a bitch." 

It took a second for that to sink in for me. 

Doorman - "Yeah, and it's sad that when... Wait - what???" 

Emma - "Whenever I'm not into a guy right away, I at least hang out and talk to them for a little. Like what you did. She could have at least reciprocated." 

There I am on my high horse, and here is Mongo punching me off that horse

Doorman - "Wait... You're saying that she wasn't into me at all?" 

Emma - "Isn't that obvious, dude?" 

It was like a getting hit in the jaw with a sack of potatoes.

Here I was, for months, telling the story as if I were some kind of charitable douche. I put myself on a pedestal, making it seem like I "toughed it out" and had two beers with a fat girl. As if she didn't have the option to like me or not, because she outweighed me by a few pounds. It never once occurred to me that I just may not have been her cup of tea. Like she didn't reserve the right to an opinion of me, because she should've just been happy to be there.

Who the fuck do I think I am?!?! 

I'm embarrassed by the way I perceived what had happened. Like I said before, it's been a go-to of mine since that night. So much so that my circle of friends have adopted "I'm not really feeling ::wave hand in circular motion at inanimate object:: THIS" when describing things they don't like, like a new hummus or TV series. I've told it to countless people, then capped it off with the "oh... well... I'm a great guy, and I didn't put her in her place because I'm such a great guy, and I'm really a great guy, so please have a laugh and tell me what a great guy I am" speech.


Having said that, I let her off the hook for her antics. Think about it from her end - she posted deceiving pictures of herself, had a guy dress up nice and meet her, buy her a drink, then bring nothing to the table after he made a valiant effort to make the most out of the evening. Then, to top it all off, she insults him when he tries and leave like a gentleman.

Say what you will about her appearance. Who knows? She might own it. I've dated several plus-size women who fucking own it. And it's sexy as hell. I don't know if Allie did - because she never gave me a fucking chance to find out!!!

Anyone who behaves that way, no matter how they look, is a fucking asshole. Plain and simple. Being shitty to others, whom are (mostly) out to be kind, makes you a giant asshole. Allie, just like any supermodel, reserves the right to be a fucking asshole. And an asshole, she was. Who the hell am I to tread on that?

I'll be honest - I'm grateful for the story, because I'm a whore for the story and always will be. And I'll keep telling it, because that's what I do. Though from now on, I'll refrain from making Allie the victim, which she had no business being in the first place.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sarcasm Fail

I didn't post anything last week because I was on vacation and decided to turn my brain off. It was glorious. Now I'm back and working on a bunch of stuff that I'm really excited about. More updates on that later in the week. A new Doorman & the Ladies post is also on the way. 

In the meantime, I was going through some my old writings from when I took a hiatus from this blog. I hated most of it, which is why I took down, but this quickie made me chuckle. It was right around the time when NFL draft prospect Michael Sam came out of the closet. This came from one of our hotel drivers, the type of guy who's incapable of having a conversation that doesn't involve sports. My sarcasm clearly didn't register here:

Chauffeur - “Yo, can you believe they’re letting a gay get drafted into the NFL?”

Doorman - “Yeah, and I hear next year they’ll be able to vote, too.”

Chauffeur - “But, yo, the kid is good! He’s a helluva pass-rusher!”

Doorman - “Oh yeah?”

Chauffeur - “Can you imagine getting tackled by that dude, though?”

Doorman - “Yeah, I heard when they tackle you, they rape you on the spot.”

Chauffeur - “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

He gave me a fist-bump and went back to his car. 

Was I too subtle?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Here's Why You Don't Tip a Dollar

I remember finding a set of keys in front of someone's house on Fiske Ave when I was nine years old. This was twenty years ago, the last time the Rangers were in the Stanley Cup. I remember that summer quite vividly, as it was the first in the Staten Island neighborhood where I would spend my formative years. Anywho, I picked up the set of house keys and wasn't sure what to do with them. The kid I was with, some buck-toothed little prick who lived around the corner named Goeff, told me he had a friend who found a set of keys once, and got a huge reward when he returned them to the owner. 

I was still a couple of years from my first paper-route (which would be on that very block), so the idea of being rewarded globs of money to blow at the candy store filled my round little face with glee. I looked no further than the house in front of me, because, well, I was smart. 

I pressed my stubby little finger on the doorbell and rang twice, eagerly awaiting what I had imagined to be a very distraught old man - not an old, crotchety man who smells like a bag of yams, but a cool dude, a Hugh Heffner-type - with a burlap, dollar sign-branded sack of cash with my name on it.

He'd fling the door wide open, a gust of wind blowing behind him that ruffled his purple, velvet robe, as a flock of white doves came through the house and burst past me. I'd hand him the keys, and his eyes would boggle, handing over the giant sack of money. I'd thank him and take off down the block, running to the tiny, family-run neighborhood store called the Westerleigh Deli (which has since been sold and sadly run into the ground). 

Being the fat little fuck I was, the first thing I'd do was dive into the freezer, which sat directly below the cash register. I'd grab every Haagen Daaz container they had, then, with every centimeter of space my hairless, moist arms could carry, I'd stack up on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Boy oh boy, did I (and still do) love me some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 

As I waited for Hugh Heffner to answer the door and alleviate my fat kid desires, I turned to my chipmunk-like friend and gave him a thumbs-up. (Geoff was forced to stop hanging out with me a couple of years later because his parents caught him smoking a cigarette. He, being the little pussyfart he was, blamed it on me. His parents believed him. Because I can smoke cigarettes for other people.) 

The door opened, and I was let down immediately. What I saw wasn't a cool dude, like Hugh Heffner. What I saw was a stringy fucker, wearing an undersized collared shirt with mustard-colored stripes, khaki shorts, and thick, birth-control-like glasses. He looked like an oversized five-year-old. No doves flew out, and the only wind hitting me was the musty smell of suburban mediocrity. The man, I'll name him Irving, looked down upon me: 

Irving - "Hello, can I help you?" 

Doorman - "Ummm… hi, sir."

I looked back to Geoff, who had his right hand firmly planted in his anus. He did that. 

Doorman - "Ummm…. I… Ummm…"

I held up the keys. 

Doorman - "I found your keys!" 

His face remained expressionless. 

Irving - "Oh… those look like my wife's." 

He took them from me and held them up to get a better look. 

Irving - "Yep." 

I stood my ground, holding my hands behind my back, like a small gentleman. This would be a position I would learn all-to-well while working as a bellman/doorman - stand there, politely, and wait as long as you can for your tip. I had no idea I was foreshadowing such an integral part of my future. 

After an awkward stand-off, he actually got the hint and went back into his house. He called back. 

Irving - "Hang on a second." 

He closed the door behind him. I turned to Geoff and gave him an excited thumbs-up. He removed his hand from his anus and returned the gesture. 

Irving came back after a few moments and handed me my reward for doing a good deed:

Irving - "Here's a dollar." 

I'll never forget that moment of deflation, because it's become such a profound feeling in my life that I've never gotten used to. He very well could have had a degenerate find the keys and decide to come back later and rob the place. Instead, an honest kid rang his doorbell and relieved him of such. Then he stiffed the kid. 

Irving went back in his house and shut the door. I went back to Geoff, who eagerly awaited the outcome. I don't remember what he had to say about it, because fuck him and his feces hands. All I know is we still went to the deli despite our lack of breaking the bank, bought a package of Peanut Butter Cups, and split it. 

That was twenty years ago. Maybe I was a little naive to think someone would go ahead and give a nine-year-old more than that for doing the right thing. But I understood, even at that young age, the value of taking care of someone who looks out for you. Irving, sadly, did not. I would spend my middle and high school years delivering the Staten Island Advance to him, firing the newspapers as hard as I could at his screen door, every single day. Sometimes I'd miss and smash the aluminum siding, dropping the paper into the thorn bush below. The front of his house perpetually looked like a crushed soda can. He never tipped me anyway, maybe a dollar every few weeks if I was lucky.

I've been working as a doorman for two and a half years now, and getting a lousy tip for doing hard work never fails to sting. It's one thing if you get stiffed, that's an entirely different gut-punch. Getting a really bad tip digs deeper than that. It's their way of saying, "hey, I understand how all of this works, but fuck you, I don't deem you worthy." 

That's what my life has become. It's what I rely on to get by - a series of transactions, where I put myself out there for people and blindly trust they'll do the right thing. Just like the pudgy little nine-year-old with round glasses and a bowl hair-cut, I'm consistently disappointed in the outcome. 

Which brings me to this story: 

Now, I don't have much to take pride in at work, but I understand that those five parking spots in front of the building are my real estate from 3-11pm. I manage it. It's mine. It's how I make a living. If someone, who isn't a co-worker or friend, wants to take up one of those spots for a lengthy period of time, they're going to have to compensate me for it. Parking in New York City is expensive, and here it's no different. Only I offer the "hand me the keys, I'll do it for half the price and everyone wins" discount. 

This cocksucker pulls up like he owns the joint. He gets out of the car, right smack in front of the door, knowing full-well that I'm going to have to move it up to prevent it from blocking my guests. He's about my age, maybe younger, with a cold, Eastern-European demeanor. I'll name him Hugo. 

Hugo - "I'm doing business in gift shop." 

He hands me the key and walks away. 

Hold on, asshole. 

Doorman - "Hang on, man. Do you want to leave it here for a little bit?"

Inconvenienced, he turns back to me in a huff. 

Hugo - "Yes, I will be back in little while."

Whatever, fuck it. It was a slow enough day and I was willing to roll the dice on him to make a few bucks. You never know.

Doorman - "Ok, my friend. Take your time."

Notice the structure of that sentence. I've completely mastered the undertone of what I'm going for here. Whenever I give someone leeway to take up one of my parking spots for an extended period of time, I always deliver that line, verbatim. What I'm saying reads simple on paper, but my tone of voice is delivering, "do what you gotta do, keep the car here as long as you need, just be sure to hit the ATM on your way back."

He says nothing and disappears into the hotel.

That was at 3:30pm. Fast forward through three hours of guest fuckery.

Just after 6:30pm, he exits the door with his briefcase in one hand and a rolled-up bill in the other. Looks like a lone bill, which is always a welcomed sight.

Doorman - "How's it going, buddy? Get everything done?"

Translation: Your car is here, without a ticket or scratch on it. I've held up my end of the deal. Pony up, fucker. 

Hugo - "Yes."

I dig through my pockets and find the key.

Doorman - "Here you go, pal."

I hand him the key. He hands me... a dollar.

Maybe it was the bad week I was having. Maybe it was the fact that he looked so fucking smug in doing so. Maybe it was because he's a peer, treating me like a nine-year old fat kid with round glasses who was looking for a hand out.

Whatever the case, he caught me at the wrong time, and I left him have it.

Doorman - "What is this?"

He stops in his tracks.

Hugo - "What?"

I hold up the dollar.

Doorman - "This! What the fuck is this?"

Hugo - "This is for you."

Doorman - "A dollar? Are you fucking kidding me?"

I stuff it back in his hand.

Doorman - "Do me a favor - never park here again. If you see me standing here, find a spot in the street or at a garage."

His icy demeanor doesn't change.

Hugo - "I am working with gift shop."

Doorman - "That means nothing to me."

Hugo - "I'm working man, just like you."

Doorman - "So you should understand the deal."

He waves goodbye.

Hugo - "I appreciate your help."

Doorman - "Well, you could appreciate it elsewhere."

That line really didn't make sense, but I was angry, so... whatever.

He turns to his car and opens the trunk. Unable to let it go, I begin speaking aloud to myself.

Doorman - "Fucking guy is driving around in a Lexus and he gives me a dollar."

He bites back.

Hugo - "It's company car, but okay."

I snap my head back to him.

Doorman - "What? WHAT?!?"

I think at that point he wanted to just get the hell out of there before it escalated. I'm glad he did, because I wanted to open-field tackle him. He continued to quickly put his shit in the car.

Doorman - "A word of advice - you're better off giving nothing than giving a dollar. It's insulting."

He says nothing, jumps in his vehicle and takes off.

Did I overreact? Yeah, probably. I usually do. Do I regret telling him off? Absolutely not. Here's why:

First and foremost, when he said he had a "company car", there's no way in hell his company lets him drive around Manhattan all day and pay for his own parking. He likely gets reimbursed for parking expenses, or a daily allowance. He used my services to make his life easier, and I should be compensated. You want to avoid having to walk to a garage, wait for them to get your car out, then have to tip the attendant anyway? Let the doorman watch it. Then take care of him for saving you the time.

Secondly, giving someone a dollar for extended services is an insult. Is it appropriate for certain situations? Absolutely. Do you give a bartender a dollar for opening a twist-off beer with a bottle opener? Yes. Do you give a doorman a dollar for flagging down a taxi? Fair.

Do you give a bellman a dollar for humping eight monster suitcases from the storage room to your car? No. You're better off stiffing him.

Seriously, if you want be a scumbag and knowingly give someone a dollar for a task in which you know calls for more, don't even bother. Tipping is arbitrary. They'd rather believe you're ignorant about the situation than know you're intentionally lowballing them.

This is New York City. It's 2014. A dollar gets you nothing. Maybe a bottle of water, if you're lucky. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Doorman vs Taxi Driver - Round IV

Every once in a blue, there comes a day where this fine city - a vibrant, breathing, moody son of a bitch - will implode and turn on itself. As if something were put in the drinking water, and all hell breaks loose. Like a toxic ooze bubbling up from beneath the surface, causing people to go out rip each other's heads off. With all of the pent-up aggression one learns to carry while trying to make it in New York, it needs to be released sooner or later, almost always projected onto an innocent bystander. Standing out on the sidewalk, night after night, wearing a uniform and a silly hat, I have the displeasure of being collateral damage to a many of these projections.

Yesterday was one of those days.

From the moment I started my shift, I was a prime target for people's frustrations. Pedestrians were giving me vague descriptions of where they wanted directions to, then scoffed and cursed me when I couldn't decipher their bumbling inquiries. Traffic was bumper to bumper in front of the hotel due to street closures for a parade. This caused nearly every shuttle bus, car service, and valeted vehicle to arrive 20-30 minutes late to pick up guests. So, every driver pulled up irate from being stuck in traffic all day, while every guest was pissed off that their transportation ran late. And guess who everyone takes it out on?

No one was tipping, no one was happy, and everyone was looking for a fight - a place to vent their frustrations.

Which brings me to this story:

At about 5pm, after a sold two hours of dancing on the border of deep breaths and full-blown psychotic rage, an attractive American woman comes out with a carry-on suitcase, in need of a taxi to Grand Central Station. The traffic from the parade was dying down, and normalcy was slowly returning to the streets.

I've explained this in every Taxi Driver post, but I'll briefly go over it for new readers: It's illegal for a cabbie to pull up and ask where the passenger is going before they get in the vehicle. Plain and simple. They aren't allowed to drive around, picking and choosing their fares. Ever. Under any circumstances. Especially with their on-duty light on. It's also illegal to drive around off-duty, fishing for airport fares.

A cabbie pulls up, empty with their on-duty light on. Usually, when they're going to be a fuckhead about it, they won't pull up close to me. They'll ask where the guest is going, I'll tell them to go fuck themselves, and they'll drive off.

This guy slowly pulls over to the curb, indicating he's ready to work.

Without thinking twice, I run to the curb, pick up the suitcase, and grab the handle of the door to open it.


Cabbie - "Where they going?"

Still with a firm grip on the door handle, I calmly say:

Doorman - "Grand Central."

He takes off, taking my arm with it.

Still with suitcase in hand, I get pulled back a few feet, then whipped around in a circle. I'm able to keep my balance, then, in a miracle of clear-headedness, turn to get his medallion number as he took off down the street.

I'm grateful for him not getting stuck at the traffic light, because if he did, that would have been the end of my tenure here. I would have chased him down, opened the door, and beat him within an inch of his life.

The motherfucker nearly ripped my arm out of the socket, could have run my foot over had it been a couple of inches to the left, all because he didn't want to take a local fare.

Knowing full-well I had an audience, and ever a flare for the dramatic, I slowly walk back to the curb, where the American woman stood, horrified. I place the suitcase next to her, and in my coolest, Jason Statham voice:

Doorman - "Sorry about that."

I go back into the street and eventually hail her a taxi. She gives me five bucks.

American Woman - "Sorry about the guy who almost took your arm off."

Doorman - (sniffs) "All in a days work."

She leaves and likely forgets about me immediately.

Despite my playing it cool for the chicks, I completely lost my fucking mind.

I wanted this fucker to pay. Not only the worst punishment possible with the Taxi Limousine Commission, but to pay, legally. My shoulder felt okay, but what happens if I wake up tomorrow and can't move? How do I get compensation if I have to miss work because this cock sucker didn't like where I wanted to get my guest? Why should this son of a bitch - who clearly has little regard for the safety of others - be allowed to drive around like he owns the city?

I was out for blood. For the next 45 minutes, I filed a report with 311, explaining in detail what had happened. The lady on the phone asks if I'd be willing to appear for a court hearing. I agree, because seeing the look on his face when he's slapped with a massive fine or suspension for refusing a fare and endangering others is worth the day trip to Queens. Maybe I could go to Flushing and get dim sum after! Yeah!!!

I didn't stop there. My adrenaline was like a furious locomotive. I wanted a police report, in case I was really injured and needed a paper trail down the road. Called the precinct, who told me I needed to have an EMT come and check out my arm. I told them it was excessive, that I was fine, but they assured me it was protocol. So they sent over an ambulance and squad car to come check me out.

I wish the story ended there.

As I waited for the calvary to arrive, I went back to work. Guest comes out, with luggage. Penn Station.

A different cabbie pulls up, this one with his on-duty light off. Again, this is completely illegal. He sees the luggage, and assumes it's an airport fare.

I go to open the door, it's locked. I loosen my grip this time.

Cabbie - "Where they going?"

With a slightly-less firm grip on the handle, I calmly say:

Doorman - "Penn Station."

He takes off. Having learned my lesson from before, I let go before he could take my arm with him.

I did, however, manage to kick his taxi with everything I had.

That's two barbarians, within an hour of each other, who nearly ripped my arm off.

I turn back to the street. I hear his tires screech short and his door open.

Cabbie - "Motherfucker. You kick my car, motherfucker?"

I turn back to him.

Doorman - "Yes, I did."

I turn back to the street and hear sirens.

Oh, fuck.

The calvary is on the way, and now I have a new cabbie, fresh with a dent in his car, ready to fight me.

No time to fight. I turn to him and extend my hand.

Doorman - "I'm sorry."

He slaps it away.

Cabbie - "Fuck you, motherfucker!!! You kick my car, I kick your ass!"

Doorman - "I don't want to fight with you. Just go."

He runs to his car and observes a sizable dent in the side. I wear heavy boots and have strong legs, but it's questionable I did that kind of damage while off-balance.

Cabbie - "Look what you did, motherfucker!"

Doorman - "I didn't do that. Stop being a baby."

Cabbie - "You call me a baby, motherfucker? I kick your ass!"

(Funny how sensitive he gets after I call him a "baby", considering the fact that he's been repeatedly insinuating that I engage in coitus with the woman who gave birth to me.)

The sirens blare more loudly. They're closer. I have to get this fucking guy out of here.

Doorman - "Dude, I didn't make that dent. Next time, don't turn down a fare and I won't kick your car."

Cabbie - "I am off-duty!"

Doorman - "Then why did you ask where they were going?!? You're wrong, too! Truce?"

I extend my hand again, he doesn't shake it.

Cabbie - "You fix this dent, or I kick your ass!"

Well, there's just no reasoning with this man.

Doorman - "Ok, I tried. Fuck you and fuck your mother."

I turn back to the street.

Cabbie - "I'm calling the police!"

Jesus Christ.

I'd like to take a pause for you, dearest reader, to fully soak in the mess I've made:

I have an ambulance and squad car on the way due to an incident I'd had with a cabbie a mere sixty minutes prior to this one. They're coming because I wanted to nail a cabbie to the fucking wall, and if they see a brand-new cabbie standing there, claiming I kicked his car, my credibility is instantly ruined.

Cabbie - "Hello! 911! I have a man here, a doorman, he kicked my car!"

The ambulance pulls up. No cop car yet. I run to the cabbie.

Doorman - "You have to move, I need to get this ambulance in."

Still on the phone with 911 and looking at me like he wants to see my face covered in wasps, he gets in his car and moves up a few feet so the ambulance can pull over.

I run to the paramedics.

Doorman - "Haya doing, guys?"

EMT 1 - "What room are we going to?"

Doorman - "Oh, no. It's for me."

They look at each other and shrug, then get out of the trunk.

I look to the Cabbie, who's still screaming on the phone and favoring the dent.

(It just occurred to me, as I write this, that I left the guest hanging without getting them a taxi. Oops. Hope they made their train. I wonder if they were going to tip me? The way things were going that day, I'd say all signs point to no.)

I explain the story to the paramedics. They ask me to get into the truck. I tell them it's not necessary, that all I want to do is file a police report. They tell me if I want to have documentation on the incident, they need to do a proper check-up on me. I comply.

First thing they do in the ambulance is check my blood pressure.

EMT 1 - "Jesus! Is your blood pressure always this high?!?"

Doorman - "Umm... no?"

EMT 2 - "What's he at?"

EMT 1 - "190/120."

Doorman - "Is that bad?"

EMT 2 - "Holy shit! Give him some oxygen till he calms down."

EMT 1 gets the oxygen mask.

Doorman - "I don't think that's necessary."

EMT 1 - "Sorry, bro. We have to get your blood pressure down before I check anything. You're too fired up."

The police arrive. I tell them the story about the first cabbie, give them the medallion number, then cap it off with this:

Doorman - "And there's another savage parked in front of the ambulance who tried to pick a fight with me!"

The cop walks to the front of the ambulance, then comes back no more than a minute later:

Doorman - "What did he say?"

Cop - "He left."

I didn't dare follow up to see if the Cabbie left on his own or if the cop got rid of him.

After a few minutes of questions, another squad car pulls up, asking the officers about a second call to this location. I duck my head down and continue to suck in copious amounts of oxygen.

Eventually the hotel staff got wind that I'm in the ambulance, so they all begin to trickle out to laugh at me. One of my buddies snaps this pic:

My blood pressure eventually went down to a not-so-normal level. They check out my shoulder and neck, then gave me the option to go to the hospital. I respectfully decline. The police officer gives me a copy of the report, tells me that someone will call to follow up, then leaves. 

As the paramedics pack up their shit from what was likely the most entertaining (if useless) call of the day, the oldest of the two gives me his diagnosis: 

EMT 2 - "Papi, it looks like you need a vacation."

Doorman - "You're telling me."

We both laugh and pat each other on the shoulder. He quickly stops mid-chuckle:

EMT 2 - "No, but seriously, get your blood pressure checked out."

Doorman - "Yes, sir." 

They leave. 

I ended up working the rest of my shift, not making a single dollar in the process. 

This was yesterday. I feel fine today, a little sore in the neck and shoulder but nothing I can't work through. Three more days till my vacation, the first since last October. Maybe it was a little overdue. 

As far as the cabbie, I've calmed down a bit but still would like to see him reprimanded for his actions. He could have hurt me bad. Who knows how often he pulls shit like that? What if he does it to an elderly person? We'll see how I feel about the situation when it comes time for the court hearing. Expect a follow-up post in the future.

I'd hate to score this one because it's so fucking absurd, but having gotten one driver in some potentially deep shit and kicking damage into another's vehicle, I'm going to go ahead and give myself the victory here. Tally one for Doorman. 

Doorman - 3 

Taxi Driver - 1 

UPDATE 8/5/14: 

Today was the hearing for this case. The Taxi and Limousine Commission has a new protocol with cases regarding cabbies fucking off and doing shit like this, which is to call the person who wrote the report when it comes time for the hearing. It's great, because let's be honest, no one is going to travel all the way out to Queens to sit in a courtroom for four hours to indict a taxi driver for refusing to take their drunk asses back to Brooklyn at 4am.

What they do now, is invite the driver to a hearing to plead their case. The prosecutor calls the person who filed the complain the day before, and they ask you to keep a window open to talk on the phone with the judge and cabbie present. They did just that, and I got my phone call today.

The cabbie didn't show up to the hearing.  My concern the whole time was whether or not, in my frantic state, I got the guy's medallion right. The prosecutor assured me that they traced him to that spot at the time of my report, and that if he were innocent, he would have made damn sure to be there to defend himself.

So what's next? He still has a chance to come up with a legitimate excuse as to why he didn't show. Though as of now, he's guilty of all charges. The prosecutor wouldn't disclose his exact punishment, but mentioned a hefty fine and substantial points towards his medallion. If the cabbie has a record of this, it could lead to a suspension. Absolute worse case scenario for him, he loses his license.

When the prosecutor told me this, I actually started to feel guilty. Sure, I wanted him to pay for what he did, but him losing his license is a little extreme. I expressed this, almost hinting that I wanted to backtrack a little and drop everything. The prosecutor put me at ease by saying, "He would have had to do something really awful in the past to have this incident be the nail in the coffin."

We'll see what happens. I've been told to put it out of my mind. And I will. After reading the story again, I still think he's bound to seriously injure someone one day. I have no regrets.

UPDATE 9/4/14:

So yesterday I get a phone call from a different TLC prosecutor. Turns out, the cabbie did, in fact, want a hearing to defend himself. They ask if I'm available to testify on the phone today at 11am. I tell them I'm free. And here, dearest readers, is the state of our judicial system:

11:00am - I'm aboard the NJ Transit rail headed to Greg, my co-producer's house to edit the recently-shot Doorman episodes. No phone call.

12:31pm - I pull into the Red Bank station, where Greg is waiting for me in his black Dodge Charger. Right before I get in, the phone rings. A 212 number I don't recognize. Fantastic. I spent 90 minutes waiting on an empty train with all the time in the world to talk, and these fuckers have to call me the second I get picked up.

The prosecutor apologizes for not calling at the scheduled time, saying that a few of the morning cases "took longer than expected." She explains that the cabbie is present and ready to represent himself in the hearing. I ask what I have to do. She tells me that since it's so close to lunch, they're just going to break for fucking lunch and that they'll resume at 1:30pm. So, after keeping me waiting for an hour and a half, she calls to tell me that everyone's taking a break.

We arrive at Greg's and get right to work. The new episodes look fucking fantastic.

1:30pm - Our flow is interrupted by a phone call from the prosecutor.

She let's me know that everyone is back from lunch, and that she'll be calling me as soon as the hearing get's started.

2:37pm - The phone rings again. Here's what she tells me:

Prosecutor - "Hi… so an unprecedented thing happened. The judge apparently doesn't know the law and thought that you were going to be present in court. But the new law states you don't have to be, that we could do this over the phone. The rest of the prosecutors tried to tell him that you don't have to be here, but he insisted and called to push the hearing back. So, are you available October 15th at 9am?"

I shit you not.

Doorman - "So, you're saying I have to be there on the 15th of October?"

Prosecutor - "No no no no! It'll be cleared up by then. The judge just…"

And that's when I stopped listening. I just simply agreed to field another phone call on that day. Whatever. The cabbie just wasted an entire day at the court, only to be jerked around by the system while Greg and I sat here and insulted each other as we worked on what I'm sure is going to be the thing that gets me out of this place.

I'll play it by ear on October 15th. Honestly, I really don't care what happens anymore. Maybe the cabbie, fresh off working 16 straight hours on his 6th straight day, had a bad moment and I was the unfortunate collateral damage. Or maybe he's a reckless savage who needs to be stopped. Whatever the case, a lot of people got paid a lot of money to simply reschedule a bunch of shit. The cabbie rotted in the waiting room, and I got to hang out with my buddy and make movie magic. That's a victory for me.

To be concluded (hopefully)…

UPDATE 10/2/14

OKAY. Here's the latest: 

The cabbie has plead guilty. 

Our next hearing was scheduled for October 15th, though for whatever reason, he decided to come in and plead to avoid more extensive charges. 

I pressed the prosecutor for as many answers as she would answer. Here's the breakdown of his punishment:

- Had he fought it further, plead not-guilty and lost, he would have faced a fine of $1,000, in addition to points on his medallion/license. 

- Since he plead guilty and avoided another hearing, he settled for a $350 fine and no points on his medallion/license. 

So, after over three months of phone calls and hearings and bullshit, the cabbie settled for a $350 fine. 

I have a better idea than most of what cabbies make in a week. That's a significant blow. I've taken a many things into consideration, because I have a heart. I would never, ever want to take money out of someone's pocket, especially a person whose every dollar counts. 

And then I come to my senses.

He nearly took my arm off, could have spun me into the street, causing me to get blasted by another car. Or maybe I could have fell the wrong way and hit my head on the payment, causing serious damage. Maybe he could have ran over my foot, snapping my ankle as I fell back.

He had zero regard for my safety, so why not put him in a position where he sweats out how he's going to pay his rent this month?

So, that appears to be it. Unless, of course, he goes all Walter White on me while I'm in the street getting a taxi one day. 

If that's the case, I'll need to dedicate Doorman vs Taxi Driver: Round V to that story.