Merry Christmas. Most have you have seen this before, but here's the re-launching of the Doorman pilot. I'm especially happy because, instead of saying "here's my pilot" with nothing else to show, it's now the first part of a narrative. We can officially call it "episode one". I hope you all love it as much as we do. Tomorrow we launch the first new episode, titled C-Note.
A taxi pulled up in front of the hotel. I hopped to it, leaving the umbrella behind. On the way out, I bumped into another young woman. Hard. I almost knocked her over. Still defensive, I anticipated a, "watch where you're going, you fucking piece of shit doorman!"
But she didn't. After I apologized immediately, she simply smiled and said, "it's okay! Have a wonderful evening, sir!"
I looked around. She was part of a large group, maybe 20 or 30 people. Escaping the rain, they all squeezed under the marquis, blocking the sidewalk and entrance to the hotel.
Oh, motherfucker. Now I have to tell these idiots that they can't stand there and block the door. I have to yell at a bunch of people, then field all of the disapproving looks. I have to be the bad guy, the grinch... AGAIN!
A middle-aged woman, the apparent leader of the pack, called the group's attention:
Middle-Aged Woman - "Okay, this looks good!"
Don't get too comfortable, asshole.
Middle-Aged Woman - "Ready?!"
The group, a mix of people of all ages, did a sudden about-face towards her.
I took a step towards them, ready to have them move onto another place where they weren't blocking an entrance to one of the busiest hotels in midtown Manhattan. Ready to field an array of scowls and "what's his problem's?". Ready to, once again, feel shitty about just doing my job. This fucking job.
As I mustered the last bit of assertiveness I had left in my body, the leader of the pack raised her hands in front of her, took a deep breath, and the large group of people harmonized a "Silent Night, Holy Night..."
I froze in my tracks.
I grew up in the suburbs. Never, in all my Christmases, have I ever been privy to a group of random carolers outside my window. I didn't they existed outside of movies.
Scanning the crowd of faces, all shiny and red from the cold rain, I couldn't help but notice the sheer joy in every one of them. None of them were wrinkled and sagging from the stress of having to navigate this high-octane city on a daily basis. None of them seemed to carry the weight of this circle of hostility that tornados it's way through my path every evening. Nope, all I saw was sheer joy and holiday spirit.
This prompted me to do something that's unfathomable to any frantic New Yorker - stop, relax, and listen.
I haven't seen too many choirs in my day, so I really don't have much to base this on, but they were amazing. Truly amazing. I stood and watched them, trying to fully take in this moment. Listening to the lyrics. Everything around me slowed down.
I've never been a spiritual man. I stopped going to church at a young age. I've never believed in fate, or serendipity, or being "saved". My faith in humanity takes a crushing blow on a daily basis, as you may have noticed in the 150+ stories you've read on here.
Don't get me wrong - I have a lot to be grateful for. I do. That'll never change. But I see the ugly in so many people. I see them get sucked into this tornado of hostility and do and say some pretty horrible things, myself included. To have the universe throw me a bone, give me a little nudge-of-the-elbow, a tiny inkling of hope that there's plenty of good left in the world... well, it moved me to tears.
The carolers seamlessly transitioned into We Wish You a Merry Christmas, finished up, and moved onto the next hotel. I wiped a few tears from my face, then went back to my post.
For the next twenty minutes, I tried to make sense of all of it - the timing, trying to understand what message the universe was attempting to send me. Then, for whatever reason, I started thinking about the Hispanic Woman.
Why didn't I give her the umbrella? It's Christmas, for fucks sake. What the hell is the matter with me? Why do I, day in and day out, let this job get the better of me? Why can't I rise above all of this ugliness? Why can't I be a bigger, better man?
A guest walked towards the door. I held it open for her, looking at the floor and giving a faint smile, as I usually do. As she entered and walked past me, she spoke:
Middle-Aged Woman - "Hello, sir! How are you?"
I looked up and saw the leader of the choir, with a beaming smile.
Doorman - "Oh.. Hi!"
She asked again:
Middle Aged Woman - "How are you, sir?"
I honestly didn't know. A small, burning part of me was still defensive, waiting for the pie to be smashed in my face.
Doorman - "I'm, uh, I'm good. I'm good."
She kept smiling. Making eye contact with me. Having someone genuinely ask how I was doing was so out-of-the-ordinary and off-putting that it made me want to jump through the glass door and run down the street.
Middle-Aged Woman - "Did you enjoy that?"
I knew what she was talking about.
Doorman - "Enjoy what?"
Middle-Aged Woman - "The singers!"
Doorman - "Oh! That was you!"
I wanted to say something vague along the lines of, "oh, yeah! Nice job!". But I couldn't. I felt a pit in my stomach. My face and neck and ears got hot. I had trouble catching my breath.
Middle-Aged Woman - "Yes, that was us! Did you enjoy it, sir?"
I wanted to tell her everything, but I couldn't. All I could muster was this:
Doorman - "You know... I deal with a lot out here. And people are, well..."
I felt a huge lump in the back of my throat. The Middle-Aged Woman kept smiling, nodding for me to keep going. But I couldn't. I started crying. I tried to get a few words out, telling her that her choir was the glimmer of hope I needed. That I was questioning my morals and what kind of man I was becoming. All I wanted to say was that her timing was perfect.
She put her hand on my shoulder and told me about her relationship with God. She told me that, at the age of 60, her relationship with Him is as strong a bond as ever. She told me that what I felt, the overwhelming feeling of love and warmth, was a sign and gift from her Lord and Savior.
She handed me a few pamphlets, along with a business card she shares with her husband from their church in Louisville, KY.
Middle-Aged Woman - "If you ever need to talk, about anything, or if you're ready to let Jesus Christ into your heart, please call either my husband or I. And if you're ever passing through Kentucky, you'll always have a place to stay!"
I know I won't do any of that. Not that I don't appreciate it, or disbelieve anything she said, but I know myself. I know how vicariously I love to live. As much as I hate my job, I keep it to maintain this lifestyle - the partying, the women, the being able to freely use "god damnit". I'm just not cut from that cloth, and I'd be fooling myself if I attempted to give up everything I know to pursue a life dedicated to the church.
However, whereas a few years ago I may blown her off as another "Jesus freak" who was trying to get me to join her "cult", I took this much differently. The situation is really not that complicated - a good person stopped to console a total stranger, who was in need of uplifting. She didn't know me, or what kind of man I was. She didn't care that I was just an asshole to a girl asking for an umbrella, or that I said horrific things to a cabbie trying to get an airport fare to go home, or dismissed and embarrassed a pedicab driver trying to pick up one of my guests. No, she looked at me and saw only a man, having faith that there was some good in him.
Taking religion off the table, it's simply an act of humanity.
After we parted ways, I once again started thinking about the Hispanic Woman. I wanted to do something nice for her. I didn't have a name or room number, so I had to wait till she came downstairs for her next smoke.
I went into one of the storage closets and began digging through the shelves of stuff left behind from past guests. There I found a clear umbrella, with an "I Love NY" logo on it. I looked at the storage tag, which was dated 7/11/14. Perfect. No one will miss this one. I opened it up, making sure it wasn't broken in any capacity.
My plan was to stash it behind the wheelchair ramp and give it to her when she came outside. I thought about what I was going to say:
Hi, I thought about what you said, and I just wanted to give this to you. May be too late, but I just thought I'd do something nice.
Here, I want you to have this. I was a jerk before. Merry Christmas.
Hey, I just wanted to apologize about before. It may be too little, too late. But I just wanted you to have this. Happy holidays.
A few minutes later, the Middle-Aged Woman came downstairs with her husband, daughter, son, sister, brother-in-law and four more people from the choir. Everyone wanted to meet the doorman who was so moved by their performance. Her daughter was the girl I bumped into on the sidewalk before they started singing.
For the next half hour or so, I was surrounded by nearly a dozen smiling, attentive faces. I told them all my story, how I left a cushy teaching job to pursue an acting career in city, only to stumble upon this whole writing thing. I told them about my old theatre company, my filmmaking ambitions, and my quest to find out what all of this was ever for. I was the center of attention. I was happy.
They were really wonderful. Most guests, if it ever gets to a point where I like them enough to open up about my career, will say, "well, good luck to you!", never really taking me seriously. I'll give them my card, tell them to check out my writing and email me what they think. They never do. I refrained from giving these lovely people any link to this blog, with all the "cock suckers" and "mother fuckers" and countless religious exclamations thrown around likely to turn them off a bit.
As we yucked it up, I saw the Hispanic Woman emerge from the elevator, dressed to go out for the evening. She was in a hurry, furiously stamping across the lobby on her way to the door. I quickly excused myself from the group and gave chase.
She walked down the short flight of steps before the door. I hustled after her as I prepared my apology.
Before I could yell, "excuse me", I saw her stop for a moment. She noticed the rain still coming down outside, then looked down at the doorman umbrella, still dry in the corner.
Without a moment's hesitation, she grabbed it and walked out the door, never looking back.
I stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do. A part of me wanted to chase her down with the umbrella I'd intended on giving to her. Another part of me wanted to chase her down and call her a fucking thief. The last part of me wanted to let it go. I did.
The choir group took my excusing myself and taking off like a maniac as a sign that I needed to get back to work. It was the last thing I wanted to do. They said their good nights and offered me a bed in their homes should I visit Kentucky. One of the older gentlemen asked if I was married. I said no, and he offered to help find me a wife. I respectfully declined.
I didn't see the Hispanic Woman after that. She'll never know how close she was to having her day made.
I retreated back to my post, taking the "I Love NY" umbrella that I stashed behind the wheelchair ramp and put it in the corner for the morning guy to find when he gets in. A guest approached me.
Guest - "Can you hail us a cab?"
It was the end of the night. I was now dry from being inside talking to all those people. No use getting soaked again.
I picked up the "I Love NY" umbrella, walked out the door, and opened it up.
I take my place in the street, facing the sea of oncoming traffic lights. The rain drops pound onto the top of the umbrella, trickling down and dripping onto the sleeve of my jacket. I extend my arm.
Back to business.
I'd like to thank you all for another wonderful year of support! None of this happens without you and I want to wish all of you and your families the safest, happiest, and healthiest of holidays! Let's hope 2015 brings bigger and better things to the Doorman story!
Also - This Thursday, Christmas Day, we'll be re-launching the original Doorman pilot. The next day (Friday 12/26 at noon), we'll air our first new episode of the season, titled "C-Note". Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow me on twitter for more updates.
That's what they say, those tourists! Only in New York.
There's no place like it, they'll say.
The magic on the streets, the vibrancy of... fucking Times Square. Or Rockefeller Plaza during Christmas time, taking a picture underneath the tree, a kissy-selfie. Hold hands whilst ice skating. (I just remembered I once, in an bland effort of unoriginal romantic whimsy, asked someone to be my girlfriend as we were ice-skating underneath the tree. Her response - "I don't want to cheat on you." I still dated her for eight months, because I hated myself.) As much as I blast doing the touristy things, I truly do understand the mystique and energy of New York City, and those once-in-a-lifetime moments that could happen at the drop of a hat.
In a New York Minute, they'll say. Everything can change!
One minute, you're lost and beside yourself, letting the foul energy of those around you corrupt your moral core. The next, some fluke encounter happens that gives you a chance at redemption.
Last night, I had one of those moments. A New York Minute, so to speak. I'll put a disclaimer on this right now - this may not be believable. This may sound staged. This may be a bit sappy. To that, I say that if you've stuck with me for three years, you'll want to read it. It's the stories like these that make all of the hellish experiences that you've read about worth living.
But, I digress. On I go.
I've been having a really, really bad week. The week before - AMAZING. Coming off a relaxing vacation, I raked in dough with a positive mindset and attitude. I was smiling, getting huge tips, and, for however brief, enjoying my job. Guests were flocking to me, I was charming, confident, and being handsomely rewarded for doing so. I kept telling myself, "this is how you need to come in every day. You need to remember how to do this."
Then I came in this week.
The freshness began to wear thin, and I found myself more on edge. Less patient. My anxiety began creeping up on me. A few fights with cabbies happened. A few people stiffed me. A few guests treated me like shit. I tried my best to keep a smile on my face and do the right thing by people, only to be thwarted by some unforeseen stroke of bad luck. Whereas fresh-from-vacation Doorman was able to kill them with kindness, Week Two Doorman was running low on fucking stamina to keep this facade going.
By Day 8 of my return from vacation, I'd reverted back to the angry curmudgeon, who fears everyone is going to screw him somehow.
These things, as they normally do, snowballed and my attitude shifted as a result of it. The more bad vibrations you give off on the door, the more conflict you're inviting from the streets. The more conflicts I get into, the less patience I have for the guests. The less patience I have for the guests, the less they feel obligated to tip. It all just fucking sucks.
I've had a many of stretches like this, but the past two days were he epitome of how bad things can get when they're going wrong.
Which brings me to this:
A young hispanic woman stood in front of the door, smoking a cigarette and spitting on the ground after each puff. I've stopped asking people to not smoke there, because I'm not security. But it still pisses me off to see someone smoking directly in the front entrance of a building, not having any consideration for the people having to walk through their clouds of second-hand smoke. After watching her drop several foamy saliva bombs onto the concrete, I couldn't help but look at her with a visceral disdain. We made eye contact, and she smiled warmly. I looked the other way.
Look at her, blowing smoke in people's faces as they walk in, having to step in her fucking mucus, tracking it all over the god damn lobby. This is the garbage that stays here. No wonder I don't have enough money to go Christmas shopping. It's because the hotel is filled with pieces of shit like this.
Maybe last week, with a positive mindset, when things were going my way, I wouldn't have let my mind take me down that road. Maybe I would have thought she was a nice girl with some bad habits. A funny quirk about depression and anxiety (in my own, unique experience), is being fully conscious of what you want to be thinking, how you want to perceive people and situations, and how you want to treat those around you, yet your mind and body just won't fucking let you do it. I wanted to smile back at her, chalk her spitting and smoking up to being what it is, and not think about it ever again. I was fully aware that I shouldn't be judging her as a human being based on watching her out of her element for ten seconds.
But my mind had other plans. My mind was still bitter from getting the short-end of the stick the past couple of nights. My mind wanted to fester on this.
Who the fuck raised this girl? Does she see how gross she's being? And the nerve to do it right here, in front of the door! Lowering the standard of the hotel!!! What an inconsiderate bitch!
And so on.
She dropped her cig into one of the lakes of phlegm she deposited onto the sidewalk, stepped on it, and made her way to the door. I opened it, she made eye-contact, smiled, thanked me, and kept moving.
Over the next couple of hours, it started raining. Hard. The morning doormen keep an umbrella stashed in the corner near the door. I don't use it, because I want people to see me soaked and shivering in hopes of it increasing my tip when hailing taxis.
The rain subsided to a calm drizzle, and I'd gone back to my post once the pre-theatre rush was over. I stood inside the foyer, soaked, with the dry umbrella perched next to me.
The young hispanic woman came down the steps. She smiled at me.
Hispanic Woman - "Hi, is it still raining?"
I didn't look at her.
Doorman - "Just drizzling."
Hispanic Woman - "Can I get that umbrella?"
I didn't have any stake in this umbrella. I hadn't used it in months.
I really, really, have a hard time believing that I'm the person who I'm writing about when I type this, but I just didn't want her to have it. I'm not supposed to be giving umbrellas away because we sell them in the gift shop, but it would have been zero skin off my back to just give her the fucking thing.
I coldly responded:
Doorman - "No, sorry. It's my only one."
Hispanic Woman - "Please? I'm only going around the corner!"
Doorman - "It's not raining hard. This is the only umbrella I have and I need it."
I knew she saw that I was drenched from head to toe, yet the umbrella was dry. Her smile faded. She hands me a cigarette and a lighter.
Hispanic Woman - "Hold this, please."
She lifts a scarf from her neck and begins wrapping it over her head. Once finished, she takes the cigarette and lighter back. I opened the door for her. She took step out the door, then turned to me, a faint desperation in her voice:
Hispanic Woman - "You know - when you do a nice thing for someone, you might make their day."
The hyper-sensitive, me-versus-the-world mindset I was in did exactly as expected: Got defensive.
Doorman - "That's all I do. Nice things. All day."
She puckered her lips, put the cigarette in her mouth, and as she brought the lighter up to her face, got the last word in:
Hispanic Woman - "Right."
And she left.
This infuriated me.
She has no fucking idea what I have to go through out here on a nightly basis! She hasn't the slightest idea how nice I have to be for these ingrates, only to get complained about for things that are out of my control. To get degraded and yelled at by cabbies. To get shit on and stiffed by the guests. My whole existence in this hotel is solely for the purpose of being nice, yet no one seems to be grateful or appreciate what I do till they don't get something they want. Well... FUCK YOU, lady! You don't get MY umbrella! Now, go slip on that reservoir of drool you left in front of my door and choke on that cancer stick!!!
I stood there at the door, my wandering mind digging a deeper and deeper hole. When you stand outside, isolated, for hours on end, night after night, your mind is eventually going to get the best of you. I don't care how strong-willed or intelligent you are, having to do what I do every night will bring out some of the ugliest shades of your personality. The conflicts I get into are about 40% of the battle. The rest is trying to keep my sanity when things get quiet after 7pm.
I immediately started to feel bad about how I treated her. Hell, I felt bad as it was happening. It's like when you're in a fight with a good friend and you're done being mad at them, yet, for whatever stubborn reason you need just a few more days of giving them the cold shoulder. You need to drive home whatever petty point you're trying to make. Like, "hey, I know you're sorry, and I would absolutely want you to talk to me if the shoe were on the other foot, but I'm going to continue to be a prick because I can't break through this wall of pride I've built. So, you can carry on with being a good human while I wallow in my own self-destruction."
I had no reason to be rude to her. Yes, she stood right in front of the door, spitting and blowing smoke in the faces of the other guests. Yes, she could have very well walked off with that umbrella and never returned it, which would have resulted in me getting chewed out by the morning guy. Though she'd be nothing but warm and polite to me personally, which is more than I can say for the majority of people who cross my path. Even the people who tip. You can still tip and be a dick. I see it more often than not.
But what she said to me hit home. I want to do nice things for people. I want to be kind. I want to "make someone's day". It's in my nature. Or at least it used to be. I have no excuse for where I let my brain take me at that given moment. It just took me there.
A few minutes after she was gone, it started to pour again. I thought about whether or not she got to her destination before the rain got heavy. It didn't take long for my question to be answered.
About twenty minutes later, while I was giving a guest directions to Rockefeller Plaza, the young Hispanic Woman ran to the door. She had a to-go bag from, ironically, the Chipotle where I punched that asshole in the stomach. She held the ripped and tattered bag close to her chest, likely as a result of it falling apart in the rain. I was inside by the steps and couldn't get to the door in time, so she ended up opening the door for herself. I don't think she saw my effort to get over there in time, only my standing there when she walked in. She definitely thought I intentionally refused to open the door for her.
She looked up at me, her eyes bloodshot and puffy. She'd been crying. Her clothes were dripping wet. The scarf she'd wrapped around her head had completely soaked into her hair, and her seemingly waterlogged food was now forcibly pressed against her chest. She said nothing and blew past me, disappearing into lobby.
I didn't get a chance to say anything, nor did I know what I would have said had I not been distracted.
I tried to shake it off and go on with my evening, that dreadfully slow crawl to 11pm. But this began to eat away at me. I couldn't stop hearing her voice in my head, over and over again.
You might make someone's day. Do something nice.
A few minutes later, my night would take an unforgettable turn.
I went to a fucking killer wedding a couple of months ago. Killer. It was one of those close-friends-from-home weddings, where I knew about a third of the 300+ people who came ready for war. There was a live band, an absurdly good cocktail hour, deliciously over-indulgent venetian hour, and an after-party that raged deep into the wee hours of the morning.
I remember some of it.
We had shuttle buses bring us from the hotel to the country club where the wedding was located. After fifteen minutes or so of party-bus drinking and yelling, sprinkled with jokes about how staged and contrived the Staten Island-edition of Bar Rescue was, we arrived at the destination. I wish I could tell you more about the exterior of the building. I'm sure it was beautiful.
Though I couldn't help but fixate on one thing.
A lonely doorman, who couldn't have been more than 19 or 20, graciously holding the door open for every wedding guest who passed through. I couldn't take my eyes off his behavior from the second we pulled up to the moment I got to him - his perfect technique, how he stood exactly behind the door as he opened it, how he pridefully made eye-contact and smiled at every single person who passed though. Barely anyone thanked him, yet he shook it off and gave the next person the same warm greeting, no matter what.
I can't begin to tell you how challenging this is. When I'm at work, I lean on the door, press the handicap button, and prop it open with my foot while I write in my notepad. There's something less pride-swallowing about making it look like the act of opening the door is the second-most important thing I'm doing. On the rare occasion where I actually stand where I was trained to stand, open the door like I was trained to open the door, make eye-contact, smile and greet the guest like I was trained to do - then have them not even acknowledge me, I become a belligerent monster and assume every person staying in the hotel is an ungrateful barbarian who isn't worthy of my warmth and comfort. So I take it out on every subsequent guest for the subsequent minutes, sometimes hours. Then I don't make as may tips because everyone thinks I'm an asshole.
Now, at my job, I have every opportunity to hustle my way into making a lot of money. Opening the door for people is, maybe, about 10% of what I do in my 40 hours a week. The rest is all a game. There's no cap on what I can do to put money in my pocket. I spend my shifts running around, yelling at people, putting on a charade to squeeze every dollar I can out of my day. Opening the door is simply a boring activity to pass the time when I'm not digging into everyone else's pockets. As brutal a picture I paint about the shit I deal with (and it's all true), there's an excitement to my job that's difficult to articulate.
This poor fucking kid's sole responsibility was to open the door. That's it. No one to squeeze, no one to hustle, no cash to be made. He just had to stand there, open the door, and smile at people. All of the tips in the building - the bartenders, the servers, the valet guys - were accounted for.
I'll call him "Hal". As I approached, Hal made direct eye-contact:
Hal - "Good evening, sir!"
I, being the overzealous doofus I am, locked eyes with an ear-to-ear smile:
Doorman - "Hello! Thank you, sir! Have a great night! Thank you!!!"
He, like a pro, nodded and was on to the next guest.
I went on with my evening.
After hours upon hours of mixing beers with wine, then vodka, then more wine, more beers, and a bunch more vodka, I managed to keep my shit somewhat together (and by together, I mean dancing with the ferocity of a Liza Minnelli back-up dancer while clearing out large portions of the dance floor with my farts then scurrying away, letting the groom take the fall for them), I remember the drink that did me in: an Irish coffee.
It came during venetian hour, which was presented on the dance floor. This stopped me from displaying my ultra-white, not-rhythmic bodily contortions. I wasn't in the mood for sweets, but made my way over there anyway because a girl I was dreadfully striking out with was craving rainbow cookies. (It's funny, I didn't think I was that drunk at the time. Though after typing this out and realizing that she excused herself from talking to me to eat fucking rainbow cookies may have been a clear indicator that I may not have been the most pleasant company. I stink.)
Amazing as these treats may have been, nothing appealed to my booze-marinated palate. Then I saw someone walking away with a giant Irish-coffee, topped with whipped-cream and chocolate syrup, with fucking cinnamon stick straw. Every the impulse-buyer and exploiter of open bars, I opted to try an Irish coffee. Perfect drunk logic - get some caffeine in me for the after-party, ignoring the fact that the whiskey was now the fourth different type of alcohol I was pumping into my body. I threw a five down in front of the bartender, then turned to see rainbow cookie girl finding a new table to sit at to escape my "I'm going to have my own TV show soon, you'll see" schtick.
I went back to my seat and took one sip of the coffee - a decadent, jolting rush of desert goodness with no remnants of the devil lurking beneath it all. I slurped it down in ninety seconds.
I sprung up - my mind telling me I was ready for four more hours of raging, but my body was a little late to the party with every movement. As I tried to keep the two in tune, I realized that I was now on a rapid decent from fun-loving, party-boy Doorman to Dan Aykroyd in the Santa Clause costume from Trading Places.
The rest of the night was a blur. I'd spent the last couple of hours of the wedding teetering the line between functional and zombified, and the caffeine-infused cocktail was the soft blow of air to push me right the hell off that tight-rope.
My last clear memory was this:
Upon my inelegant exit to the shuttle bus, I spotted my friend, Hal the Doorman, still going strong, biding everyone a farewell and safe trip home.
I knew I was way too drunk for my mule to function. I knew I didn't have the cohesion in my speech to order another drink, let alone convince a woman to come back and join me in the king bed of my hotel room. And I knew that, the second I got on that shuttle bus, I would fall asleep and be done for the evening. But I needed a tiny bit of satisfaction before the lights went out.
I took out my wallet, grabbed the last twenty dollar bill I had, and folded it up in my hand. I made my way over to Hal.
Hal - "Get home safe, sir! Have a great night!"
I loved my intention here. I do. I still look back on it and am proud that, having gotten so inebriated and blown it with all every single woman at a massive wedding, I ended my night on a good deed. Though, I wish I'd been a little more suave about it.
I stopped in front of him, swaying back and forth. My eyes, presumably lazy and unfocused, tried to make contact with his:
Doorman - "Hey... hey, man!"
He didn't skip a beat.
Hal - "Yes, sir?"
Doorman - "Hey... I bet, I bet people don't say hi to you."
He looks at me, confused.
Hal - "I'm sorry?"
I kept slurring.
Doorman - "Sorry, sorry... I bet, I mean, I know... I know how it is, my man."
Hal - "O-K..."
Doorman - "NO! NO! You don't understand! I understand! I understand what it's like!"
Hal - "Sir, are you okay?"
Doorman - "Wait... let me start over..."
I put the twenty in his hand. Like a rookie, he looks at it right away. Cardinal rule of receiving handshake tips - don't look at it till the person who gave it to you walks away.
His eyes popped open. This was a first for him.
Doorman - "I bet no one says 'thank you' when you... when you open the door. It's fucked up. It's fucked up, man. How these fucking assholes don't say thank you, you know?"
Hal looks back at me. For a second, I could see his doorman facade deteriorate, like an actor breaking the fourth wall in a play. He extended his hand to shake.
Hal - "Thank you, sir."
I felt the twenty being returned to my hand. No fucking way.
Doorman - "Hey! HEY! NO! NO!! NOOOOOO!!! Don't you fucking do that!"
I grabbed the twenty and stuffed it in his pants pocket. Pretty sure I grazed the head of his penis with the back of my index finger.
Doorman - "Rule number one of being a doorman - When someone gives you money, you shut the fuck up and take the money!"
He's got nothing. I don't blame him.
Hal - "Umm... okay. Thank you, sir!"
I should have left it at that, but I didn't. I took out my business card, equipped with a link to this very blog.
Doorman - "I'm a doorman in New York City, and... and... I know what it's like. You should read my blog. Because... I think you should read my blog and you should email me when you read it."
Hal looked at it in the most polite was possible, then put it in his pocket. I've been networking for a long time, and I've given out as many business cards as I've received. I knew that, the second I walked away, that business card would follow the same journey as the thousands that came before it - he comes home and empties his pockets onto his dresser. Then, when the time comes to clean the clutter from his dresser, he chucks my card in the garbage, along with the rest of the receipts, movie stubs, and condom wrappers.
Or maybe he went home and checked out the blog.
If that were the case - thanks for reading, Hal! Be sure to check out the new Doorman episodes, starting December 26th!
My recent posts have been, admittedly, a bit dark and self-pitying. What can I say? This is my journal, this is my life, and I have my ups and downs. I didn't realize that I was in a down (or, rather, how much of a downer I've been), till several close friends pulled me aside in bars, asking, "dude, are you okay? I've been reading the blog and, well, I just wanna make sure you're okay."
I assure you, I'm fine. I took a week off from work, took a break from writing for a few weeks, and now I'm recharged. The new Doorman episodes will air at the end of the month. We're drawing interest from various auspicious prospects. The ball is rolling on numerous things. So, sorry if I've been a downer. Onto something funny:
I don't know what made me remember this fucking kid. And I honestly don't know what took me so long to write about him. Maybe because the interaction was so brief, but fuck, did this little bastard make an impression on me in a matter of minutes.
'Twas about two years ago, and I was working an overnight as a bellman. At about 4am, I get a call for a bags-down from a name that started with "Al-" and ended with a series of consonants that I couldn't fathomably pronounce. I groaned loudly, because, not to sugarcoat stuff, Arab people don't fucking tip.
I stomp like a child to the nearest bell-cart and hop in the elevator.
I get to the room. Before I could knock, I hear a man pleading through the door:
Man - "Fartus, stop it. Fartus, get down. Fartus. Fartus! FARTUS!"
The door opens. A wiry-thin, crestfallen man answers the door. The bags under his eyes accentuate and sag so heavily on his olive skin that I had to fight the urge to stab them with my pen to see how much fluid would squirt out of them. He looks as if he'd just gotten done walking across Asia, and he'd met the devil along the way. Judging by the look on his face, I'm not sure if he wants me to help him with his bags or kill him, putting him out of his misery.
I look behind him. The room looks like a fucking grenade hit it. There's candy wrappers everywhere, toys scattered about, some smashed to pieces, a few stuffed animals with their heads pulled off. There's one of those phallic-looking inflatable stadium noise-makers that you bang together (better know as "thundersticks") on the floor next to him, which looks it was bitten till it popped.
Man - "Hello, sir. Please - can you call for me a taxi and help with the bags?"
Before I could step inside, I see a shadowy-figure quickly pitter-patter behind the Man, hiding being the door. This terrifies him as he gestures for me to come inside.
I wheel the cart in, making my way toward the four large suitcases. The door closes. I hear the pitter-patter creep up behind me. I feel a slight whip of wind sail past my left ear. Startled, my eyes jolt up just in time to spot an action figure exploding onto the wall in front of me.
I quickly turn around, hearing the pitter-patter zip elsewhere in the room. No one behind me.
I turn to the Man for an explanation. The moment my eyes lock his, a life-sized, stuffed Stewie Griffin plasters him in the side of the face. He barely reacts to the impact, as though it's something that happens on a minute-to-minute basis. His saggy eyes look to the corner of the room.
Man - "Fartus! Pick that up!"
That's when he emerged from behind the bed.
"Fartus" (I spell it exactly like I heard it), was three feet of unabashed fury, with a menacing mop of black, curly hair atop a candy-tweaking, object-hurling hell-spawn. His black pupils darted about the room, constantly looking for the next toy to destroy, or the next blunt object he could use to assault any and every adult in the room. I've seen some poorly-behaved children in my time working in hotels, but Fartus was in a league of his own. He has a chocolate all over his face. And not just a smidgen, no, I mean all over his fucking face. Like war paint.
Fartus takes one look at me. I avert my eyes immediately. Rookie mistake. He immediately sniffs weakness, then gets a running start and kicks Stewie Griffin in my direction. It connects with my chest before I could put my hands up.
I again turn to the Man for an explanation. He returns an, "if I go to the bathroom for a few minutes, return and Fartus isn't here, I'll give you a million dollars" look back at me.
Man - "Fartus, please. Do not kick the man."
I look at Fartus, knowing all he heard was, "kick the man".
Fartus runs towards me like a locomotive. I defend myself by putting my leg up in the air and extend one arm down, like a Heisman Trophy. Luckily, the Man catches him before he could get to me.
Man - "Fartus, clean this mess up!"
Fartus grabs a second inflatable thunderstick from under the bed. He then jumps, in one fluid motion, on top of a chair. He takes the thunderstick, tucks it between his legs, and begins demonstrating the act of a well-endowed man urinating all over the room.
He jumps off the chair, whacks his father in the testicles with the thunderstick, then bites the noisemaker, growling and snarling as he attempts to make it pop. The Man grabs it and a tug-of-war ensues. Fartus's lockjaw is not match for his feeble, exhausted father. The thunderstick explodes, sending pieces lying about the room. Fartus begins chewing on the remnants of the destroyed plastic toy.
Man - "Fartus, spit that out!"
The Man puts his fingers in Fartus's mouth to recover the tiny pieces of plastic. Now, I've known this kid for three minutes. I could have told this fucking idiot what was about to happen.
Fartus clamps his teeth down on his father's fingers. The Man screams and yanks them out. Fartus runs towards me. I hide behind the bell cart. The Man gives chase and grabs his son before he could assault me. Fartus does the patented back-arch that children do to slink out of the grasps of their parent's clutches. I begin furiously loading the suitcases on the cart. Fartus his the floor and begins screaming. I yell over them:
Doorman - "Okay, sir! I'm going to bring this stuff downstair call you a taxi!"
Man - "Thank you, sir!"
Fartus breaks free, climbs on top of the bed, and starts rigorously jumping. I load the last piece of luggage onto the cart, then quickly head towards the door. Before I could leave, I hear a gurgling sound, followed by a splash onto the carpet.
I turn to see a puddle choco-vomit on the floor, and Fartus continuing to jump on the bed with an increasing ferocity. Projectile vomiting didn't deter him from jumping for a fucking nanosecond.
Man - "Fartus, look what you did!"
I scurry out of there before the next bad thing could happen. I close the door, push the cart down the hall a few feet, and press the elevator button. I hear the Man's muffled please from the other side of the door.
Man - "Fartus, please! Fartus, put your shoes on! Fartus, come back here! Fartus! FARTUS!!!"
I get to the lobby and leave the cart a few feet away from the bell desk. I get on the horn for a car service, because I'm positive that I won't be getting tipped and want to salvage some money from this interaction.
Seeing that it's 4am, I have a difficult time getting a dispatcher on the phone. After a few attempts with no success, Fartus and his father exit the elevator. Without hesitation, Fartus darts to the bell cart and begins to climb it like King Kong.
The Man approaches me with a five dollar bill in his hand. I tuck the ringing phone receiver between my shoulder and jaw and graciously accept.
Man - "Thank you, sir."
Oh, wow. Okay.
The driver answers the phone on the other hand.
Driver - "Hello?"
I look up and see Fartus atop the cart. King Kong has come and conquered.
Doorman - "Hey, are you close? I have a job. Newark, two people."
Driver - "Yes, I'm pulling up now."
That's another ten bucks. What I thought would be a giant goose-egg just turned into a $15 job. I nod to the Man.
Doorman - "Great, I'll bring them right out!"
I hang up the phone and begin to walk around the desk to the cart.
That's when I saw it unfold.
Fartus, in an attempt to swing himself from one side of the cart to the other, loses his balance and begins his decent down to the floor.
Now, this may be a stretch of a reference, but fuck it, I'll give it a shot:
There's a live-action film from the 80's about a cat and dog called The Adventures of Milo and Otis that's narrated by Dudley Moore. We watched it often when we were kids. I don't remember much about the film, other than one part that my brother and I would repeatedly rewind while howling with laughter: At some point, Milo the Cat gets into a pickle and is forced to jump off a cliff, landing safely into a body of water. The filmmakers, much to our amusement, opted to capture this in super slow-motion (after a bit of digging, I found said moment at the 2:26 mark of this video). We would sit there and watch this poor cat flailing it's legs and summersaulting off the cliff over and over and over again, laughing uncontrollably as our worried mother looked on and wondered if she was raising two imbeciles (she wasn't, he's in medical school and I'm a, well, ... fuck you).
But I digress. Maybe it was the length of time that I'd been awake, or maybe it was that I secretly wanted it to happen, but I watched Fartus fall from the bell cart in super slow-motion, just as little Milo did off the cliff.
He lands on his back, with his disproportionate dome smacking the carpeted floor of the lobby with a loud thud. He immediately tries to get up, though staggers to the side like a drunkard and topples over again.
Fartus lay lifeless on the floor. His father and I run over immediately.
Man - "Fartus! Fartus!"
The Man picks up his son. The scattered people in the lobby all rush to the attention of little, limp Fartus. After a moment, his eyes boggle open... and he slaps his father in the mouth.
The Man, defeated, immediately and carelessly drops him. Fartus lands on his feet, like a cat. He proceeds on with running around in circles and wreaking havoc.
I bring the luggage out to the car, thank the Man and wish him luck on his trip home. I never saw them again.