Friday, September 18, 2015

Just the Tips Podcast: Doorman Does Dallas

The podcast is back!

After a summer-long hiatus, Doorman recaps his trip to Dallas to see his beloved New York Football Giants lose in imbecilic and heartbreaking fashion, his move to Jersey City, and vomiting on an airplane.

Today we're sponsored by Help Yourself TV! (Facebook.com/HelpYourselfTV)

Subscribe here! 


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Doorman Tries to Show Off, Nearly Kills a Pretty Girl in a Wheelchair

I realize the title of this story is, in fact, a spoiler. Said pretty girl in wheelchair survives in the end. I tell you this, not because I wish to suppress the suspense, but because if in the event that I really did accidentally take the life of another human being, I wouldn't be blogging about it the next day. Sorry to disappoint, you sick fuck.

I don't know what's happened to me in the women department. There was a time in my life (through the majority of my twenties, mostly), where I never doubted myself when I had a thing for someone. I'd meet them, decide I wanted them, and find a way in. I'm 31 now, and that confidence I rode high in my coming (and cumming, heh heh) of age has dwindled some. I blame a few things -- holding a door open for people who don't so much as look in my direction for 40 hours a week doesn't do a whole helluva-lot for my self-esteem.
I also think it's tougher to sell what I'm doing with my life to women my age. Whereas it might have been endearing, say, five years ago to proclaim, "well, I'm just schlepping bags for people till I get my career going", the novelty wears off when you see the same guy, older in the face, body, and mind, using the same line.

But before you click away and find something less violin-inducing, I'd like to share an amusing story with you. Before you read this, I highly recommend you watch Season 1, Episode 4 of my web series, if you haven't already (and if you're a fan of this blog and you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for? Dick.)

 In the first two minutes, I handle a large, heavy, clunky manual wheelchair ramp. Yes, that's the ramp I use on a daily basis and yes, we shot the series at my hotel. To get a better idea of the story I'm about to tell you, please take a look at the opening sequence of this episode (if you have seen it already, thank you and please share it with your friends):



Here's a bit of trivia about that scene -- I never have to do that by myself in real-life. Why? Because it's physically impossible. There's no way for a man of my height and arm-span to collapse it on my own. If I were Scottie Pippen, maybe. But 5'10, stumpy-armed, sausage-fingered Doorman has no shot. 

During pre-production, I initially wanted to film the entire sequence in one take, but after a few rehearsals, I found that physics were not on my side. So, when we shot the scene, I had carried the ramp as far out as I could, we'd cut, and the bellman on duty would come help me extend the ramp the rest of the way.

Having said all of that, here's what happened yesterday:

At the start of my shift, a taxi pulls up. It's not a handicap-accessible one, so I don't expect anything other than luggage. The cabbie starts pointing to the trunk, which, if you've been reading blog this for a long time, drives me fucking insane.

Ready to start calling the cabbie out for not finishing his job and earning his tip, I notice the door swing open. A young woman, "Friend", gets out and jogs to the trunk before I could get to it. She pulls open the hatchback of the yellow Ford Escape to reveal two small carry-on suitcases and a collapsible wheelchair.

Doorman - "Hi, do you need me to put down the ramp?"

I pull the suitcases out. With a smile, she answers:

Friend - "Yes, please!"

Doorman - "Sure, let me drop the cases off at the front desk and I'll grab one of the guys to put down the ramp."

Friend - "Cheers!"

I quickly bring the luggage to the front desk, then grab a Bellman on the way back outside to put down the monster of a metal ramp.

When I return outside, I find the recipient of the wheelchair adjusting in her seat. The "Girl" wore shorts, revealing many scars and indentations, leading me to believe this was the result of an accident (clearly the observations of a learned doctor). 

My gaze panned up to her face, where her ocean-blue eyes met mine -- her perfect smile a genuine, grateful one. I see beautiful women every day, most of which won't so much as look up from their phones when I greet them. The rarity of the situation is almost off-putting.

Girl - "Hi!!!"

Doorman - "Hi, welcome!"

We get to the ramp, where she tries to figure out how to take the uphill climb. It's a bit steep, so the usual process for me when someone in a wheelchair first arrives is to give them a second to let them decide whether or not they want my help. 

I've learned over the years to not interfere with their independence and that, if they need my assistance, they'll ask. After a moment of her trying to get up with to no avail, I give her my usual line:

Doorman - "Need a boost?"

Girl - "Yes, please..."

I get behind her and push up, a seamless ride to the top. She hands me a five.

Girl - "Thank you so much!"

Aaaaand I'm in love.

After they check in, I go about my business. And by business I mean farting into the hot wind whilst delving into an old-reliable daydream about pitching a perfect game in the World Series.

As Joe Buck's appropriately mundane call bestows upon a national audience, who watch me blissfully dive into the arms of Travis d'Arnaud with an army of blue and orange uniforms creating a dancing fort around us, I see the pretty Girl in the Wheelchair and Her Friend approach the stairs, with the Bellman already following to help with the ramp.

The Bellman had brought them up to the room on a front, and they yucked it up on the way down. The Girl is charmed, laughing. He's better looking than me. I get jealous, quickly attempting to gulp in my double-chin, like a frog asphyxiating itself.

We unfold the ramp while she waits at the top of the steps, smiling, hanging on the Bellman's every word. As the iron monster comes crashing on the concrete steps, echoing through the lobby and startling a family waiting for their bags from storage, the Bellman makes the first advance up the stairs to guide her down, beating me to it. 

Wait! Fucker! 

Any other scenario -- if it's an elderly person or what-have-you, the Bellman let's me go up and get the person to guide them down. Yet this time, he sees a pretty girl and pounces.

Fuckface! Dickhead! Jerk-off!!!

She looks up at him, flirting as they glide down, whizzing past me as if I were a third-wheel at some carnival. 

Her Friend thanks me. Whatever.

Cut to later that evening, where I'm brain-stem-deep in yet another one of my recurring daydreams about hosting Saturday Night Live. As we come back from commercial, the camera operator counts down from five (mouthing, "two, one"). He points to me, where I look nice and slim in a fitted suit jacket. I read my line from the cue-card:

"Ladies and Gentleman, Bruce Sprinsteen and the E Street Band!" As the camera dollys away from me and onto Bruce, I spot my parents, beaming with pride in the audience. I blow them a kiss before being whisked backstage by one of the producers.

I spot The Girl and Her Friend down the block. The Girl holds one of those caricature posters from Times Square. Knowing she'll need the ramp, I look inside the lobby to see the Bellman, looking bored at the desk. Anticipating another round of them flirting in front of me while feel sorry for myself, I drag my feet to go in and retrieve him.

But in a stroke of luck, a guest comes with a luggage ticket, bouncing him up to the storage rooms.

Terrific! This will buy me a few minutes! 

He disappears into the elevator, leaving me with the two girls.

Doorman - "Hey, ladies! How was your night?!"

They tell me about their first foray into Times Square, which they both hated and will avoid for the rest of their stay. My kinda tourists.

The Girl looks up at me, smiling, her eyes as big and bright as the embellished cartoon drawing she held in her hand. I can't make her wait. I look in the lobby: no one else to help me put down the ramp. Panic sets in. 

Do I sit there and get all hot-in-the-neck, stalling and apologizing for no one being there to promptly get her back to her room? Do I wait for the Bellman to come back, so she can see that I can't finish the task of putting down the ramp without a real man?

Fuck that. Time to man up. Time to show her that this unassuming, weak-chinned doorman has some brute-force in his blood.

I puff out my chest and lower the bass in my voice.

Doorman - "No one around right now-"

Girl - "Oh, that's alright! I can wai-"

Doorman "Gonna have to put this down myself."

I march over to the ramp and get face to face with it.

Gravity chimes in:

Gravity - "Hi. What are you doing?"

I grab both sides of the ramp and do a test-lift. It's not too bad.

Pssshhhh, I could bench-press this thing with one hand.

Gravity - "Yes, condensed and uncollapsed, it's well-within your strength. Congratulations. Being a doorman has made you strong. But please, let's not move any further."

My plan of action was to duck-walk it backwards, bear-hug the front-end, and slowly open the ramp by taking teeny-tiny baby steps. Reading this might not make much sense. Friends, I assure you -- it makes even less fucking sense in person.

I lift it up and take a few steps back with no issue. Brava!

Gravity - "You don't have the fucking wingspan to pull this off, dummy. Please abort."

I step to the side of the contraption, and use my left arm to get a grip on the other side.

Gravity - "I'm warning you..."

I take two small steps forward, and immediately feel my left arm about to give out. I, indeed, do not have the wingspan to pull this off.

Now I have three options:

A - Keep moving forward and likely tear every tendon in my arm to shreds.

B - Stand there in pain and wait for the Bellman to come back into the lobby, so he could bail me out and make me look like a wussy.

C - Take a step back and hope I don't drop it, then adjust my grip.

Gravity - "DO NOT take another step or I will pull this fucker down."

I go with option C.

I take a step back and attempt to corral the ramp back to the upright position.

Gravity - "Okay... Fuck you."

I feel the ramp slip from my hand.

The Bellman yells from a distance:

Bellman - "DUDE!!! What are you doing?!?"

The ramp falls backwards, like a movie character doing an exaggerated faint. It timbers down onto Girl in the Wheelchair -- a massive shadow quickly running up her face. Her friend screams.

Her Friend - "OH MY GOD!!!"

I spin my body around as quickly as possible. Before I could reach my arms out to catch it, I hear a thunderous, echoing crash.

Oh, fuck! I killed her!!!

I close my eyes for a beat, hoping this will somehow teleport me into some alternate reality, where I could live out my lavish daydreams without any responsibility.

I peak out and see the Girl siting there, horrified, having narrowly escaped the giant metal ramp of death.

Doorman - "HOLY SHIT! Are you okay?!?"

Shaken, she answers.

Girl - "Yes. I'm fine. I'm fine."

The Bellman comes running down the steps.

Bellman - "What's that matter with you, man? Don't ever try and do that!"

I could feel everyone in the lobby's stare burn through me. I could have seriously injured, or killed, this poor girl. All to appease some foolish pride.

A bead of sweat races down my armpit. I'm so lightheaded I could faint. The Bellman and I pick up the ramp and properly collapse it down onto the steps. Not to have him step in on me again, I advance to help the Girl. In an attempt to break the ice, I make a joke:

Doorman - "Do you trust me?"

Had I not been so unnerved, it may have landed the way I intended. But it doesn't. I end up sounding like some bad 90's Keanu Reeves action-movie character. She's not impressed.

I give her a boost up. She completely avoids all eye-contact with me. We get to the top, and she locks eyes with the Bellman, thanking him for saving the day. 

The Friend tip-toes up the side of the ramp. 

Friend - "Thank you, anyway..." 

The Bellman and I fold the ramp back up. I never saw The Girl or Her Friend again.

I continue on with my evening, jumping into another daydream, one where I remember how to act like a desirable man.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Aren't You Tired of All These Hypothetical Questions?

It was late, maybe 11:30pm or so. I'd been summoned by that fucking bell. That little "bing-bong" that's somehow less humiliating than a snap of the fingers or condescending whistle.

Here lies a common problem -- a grown man, in his sixties, perfectly capable of wheeling his own bags to the elevator, perfectly literate and competent to scan the rooms and count the numbers till he finds his domicile, having to come face-to-face with some schmuck who wants to squeeze a few dollars from him.

I've seen said Grown Man hundreds of times, and the reaction is always the game: peak out of corner of their eye, continue signing check-in paperwork, firmly say, "I don't need help", bounce the eager little bellboy back to his desk, where bellboy could murmur to the other bellboys about what a lowlife said grown man is, to which Grown Man has zero fucks to give.

He was my dad's age, traveling with who appeared to be his teenage son. Teenage son couldn't be bothered to engage with the world, as made evident by the large Beats headphones and refusal to look up from his iPad. Actually, I take that back -- he took 5 seconds to jolt his head up and demand a wifi code.

The Night Auditor slid the key card packet over to me, as I stood stupidly with a complimentary Time Out magazine and folded map of the city, nearly cracking my grinding teeth through an obviously forced smile.

Night Auditor - "Ok, so this is Doorman. He's going to take you up to the room."

Without looking, Grown Man snatches the key card packet out of my hands.

Grown Man - "We'll be taking ourselves up, fank you!"

Shoo, bellboy. 

I couldn't help but fantasize about a freeze-frame of his stunned face, the nano-second after it being cold-cocked by a shovel. This image, which I would imagine is eerily similar to what he would look like upon realizing he left his phone charger at home whilst biting down on a lemon, makes me unconscionably happy.  

Now, when this happens, I never direct them to their elevator bank. We have three separate wings,  and the only mini-victory I could salvage in that moment is them getting in the wrong elevator, only to come down ten minutes later, furiously and frantically asking me where to find their room. My response is always a shit-eating, "But... I thought you didn't need help finding it?" Most people don't like the feeling of someone looking at them like they want to punch them in the mouth. I've grown to relish it. It's the little things, man.

However, when Grown Man had to uproot Teenage Son from the now wifi-rich spot that he'd been planted in, they turned, and guessed correctly.

God damnit.

Oh well... I'll just go back to Tinder swiping while I kill time the end of my shift at 2am.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, no, no, yes, yes, match! Oops, unmatch, yes, yes, no, yes, no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, match! Hey, how's it going, no response, yes, yes, no, no, etc....

The elevator dings. Grown Man comes rumbling down.

Oh, sweet baby Jesus!!!

Apparently his keys don't work. The Night Auditor summons me over.

Doorman - "But, he wanted to go up by himself!"

Night Auditor knows the deal. He saw how the guy treated me, but now I'm just being spiteful.

Night Auditor - "Please... they keys aren't working."

I walked over to this dickhead, noticing the stupid t-shirt he's wearing that says, "Aren't you tired of all the hypothetical questions?" I immediately fantasized about removing that shirt from his body... with hydrochloric acid.

I grabbed the keys from the Night Auditor and hastily walk to the elevators, with Grown Man lagging behind. Good. I hope he's exhausted from an 8 hour flight and a five hour time difference, and this bumpy start to his vacation is just a sign for what's yet to come. If he had just treated me with a little respect and let me show him up to the room, I would have let him in with my master key, ran downstairs, and gotten him a new set of functioning keys.

After wordless 22-story jump to his floor, the elevator door opened, and the first sight I saw was Teenage Son sitting on the floor, face still buried in his iPad, music still coursing through his eardrums through those massive fucking headphones. I'm convinced that if no one moved him, he's stay planted in that spot for the next 36 hours. If there's any one alarming thing I've noticed while working this job, it's that the youth of this planet are all becoming mindless, screen-staring drones.

(This is coming from the guy whose first impulse when he gets into the elevator and out of sight from the guests will be to take out his smartphone and resume Tinder-swiping.)

I tested the first key - nothing. Second key - same.  So, I went into my pocket, opened the door with my master key, and turned to leave.

Grown Man - "Wait a minute."

He handed me a dollar, you know, for my troubles. 

I didn't want his fucking dollar, so I declined. Now, most people, when giving them back a shitty and insulting tip, will cause a scene, completely incensed that this little beggar wouldn't take this money they were so generously giving him. As if we should be grateful that they understand how the tipping system works, yet don't deem my labor or time valuable enough for a fair wage.

Nope, Grown Man was relieved. He didn't have to part with this dollar that the little bellboy wasn't supposed to have in the first place. He went into his room, never to think about me again. I got back to the lobby and killed time till 2am.

I think maybe it's time to move on.