Though sometimes, I can't resist a good yuck-yuck. And the universe can't resist making me pay for it. Here's an example:
I was working inside as a bellman yesterday. It was no different than any other day of fun-filled bag schlepping - the bell rings, I hop to it, guest looks at me like they'd rather eat cereal with a heroin spoon than have me escort them to the room, I convince them that I need to make sure the keys work and everything is okay with said room, they reluctantly allow me to put my disgusting hands on their luggage, I offer a map and a city guide, they couldn't give a fuck, I take them up to the room, flip on the lights, check the towels, offer to adjust the temperature of the air-conditioning, anything to stall for a tip, guest reluctantly gives me a dollar or two, I smile and profusely thank them like they've just pulled my mother out of a burning building, leave the room, the smile immediately vanishes from my face, I take out my phone and open Facebook, walk down the hall while hate-reading worthless, redundant statuses, press the elevator button, get in the elevator with guests, get annoyed that I have to put my phone away and stop hate-reading the worthless, redundant statuses, get into the lobby, do it all over again.
That just about sums up my work day whilst inside as a bellman.
In the midst of all that nonsense, I took a front from a middle-aged American woman. I'll call her "Fran". The conversation went like this:
Front Desk Girl - "This is our bellman. He's going to show you up to the room to make sure everything's okay."
Doorman - "Hi! Can I offer you a map of New York and a city guide?"
Fran - "No, thank you."
She has a suitcase and duffle bag, both of which are in her hands. I take the suitcase.
Doorman - "I'll carry this!"
Fran - "Oh! Okay."
She laughs that laugh saved for people who aren't used to this type of service. It's as if they're saying, "Oh, how fancy!" with a series of yappy giggles.
I extend my hand to have her feed me the duffle bag.
Doorman - "I'll carry that!"
She slides the bag off her shoulder and drops it into my hand.
Doorman - "Ok, ready?"
Fran - "I just have to get my husband."
And here's an ever popular "waka-waka" joke in my repertoire:
Doorman - "Welp, I'm not going to carry him!"
Cue an outburst of live-studio audience laughter followed by a screen-freeze of me smiling into the camera. A rousing applause and the credit "Executive Producer: Chris Russell" fills the screen.
Most people humor me and let out a little chuckle. Fran did not. In fact, her expression immediately changed to one you see when someone smells an expired diary product from the fridge.
Fran - "You don't have to."
Fran - "He's right over there."
She points to the corner, where her husband is sitting... in a fucking wheelchair.
And it wasn't just an, "oh, I had a skiing accident" type of situation. It was an oxygen tank, "shit is permanent" situation.
My first thought:
Ok, so if I just run out the side entrance and jump in front of a taxi, they'll take me to the hospital and no one will ever remember this.
Doorman - "Oh... I didn't. I was just..."
She says nothing as she walks behind her man and clutches the back of the chair.
Fran - "Where are we going?"
Doorman - "Umm... 1201. Right this way."
I lead the way into the elevator. I skip my usually shtick of Where you from? I love that city! First time in New York? Nice! Any plans? Oh, Statue of Liberty and 'the 9/11?' How original!
Nope, I just stare straight at the wall and avoid saying anything else that will make this woman want to strangle me with the cord of her husband's oxygen tank.
We get to the room. She wheels her husband inside. I put the bags down, turn on the lights, wish them a great stay, and get the fuck out of there without even bothering to squeeze a tip.
Later on, they came through the lobby. I waved and said hello for good measure, only to have her snap her head the other way immediately.
It was an honest mistake, I swear. All I tried to do was make a cutesy little joke, and it ended up becoming an outrageous misunderstanding.
Such is my life.
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