Archive for April, 2009

Lost & Found
April 26, 2009

I’ve never read any concierge manual, nor any outline of what my duties as a concierge entail.  Typically, and in tow with the tradition of the concierge profession, I deal in restaurants, transportation, sightseeing, amenities, and general information brokering.  These fields are somehow subliminally acquiesced upon by 99% of hotel clientele, as most of the time this is the shit I’m asked about.

How, then, and by what perverse accordance of logic (or total lackthereof) can a complete and total stranger – albeit a hotel guest – part ways with a personal item somewhere out there in the big bad world, wholly independent of the hotel, and insouciantly transfer the responsibilty of finding that item – somewhere in the ether – to me?  I wasn’t in that fucking cab with you.  I was never holding that massively important briefcase of yours before you left it on the fucking curb at O’Hare.  How the fuck are you going to implicate me in tracking the thing down?

Hey!  Look at me!  Free at last!!!

Hey! Look at me! Free at last!!!

Nine times out of ten I’m affronted with idiots that have left items in cabs.  No one is an idiot for leaving something in a cab, but idiot status is attained for stretching logic to think that after leaving something in a taxi in a city of 9 million, the best person to enlist – no – place in charge of finding this item is some schmuck behind a desk that wasn’t in the cab, didn’t see the cab, doesn’t comingle with cab drivers in their spare time, and by all accounts is better suited to talking at length about Chicago-style deep dish pizza, than presciently locating inanimate objects.  This is the concierge desk – you want an oracle.

“Well can’t you call the cab company???” is the typically snotty retort.  Mind your attitude dear!  It could get significantly more difficult to find that Blackberry the shittier your tone gets!

I’ve heard this story and been down this road possible 200 times?  I’ve lost track.  I know the ropes.  So I’ve got my MO ready:

“Oh no!  You did?  You lost your Blackberry?  The one you were unable to unlock your gaze from while I was trying to explain to you how to walk to the Starbucks a block away?  Drats!  Of course I can call the taxi – what was the cab number?”

No one ever knows the cab number.  Ever.  I always ask.  It’s tantamount to twisting the knife, but again – I know where this road leads and how little enjoyment is ultimately in it for me, so I take pleasure where I can.

“No?  Didn’t get that cab number?  No problem – what was the cab company?”

No one ever knows the cab company.  Ever.  I always ask.  And this is where it always gets shitty.

“Well it was a white cab…..”

I know it was.  You know how?  They’re all fucking white.  Sure there is a large fleet that is yellow, and another that is maroon, but no one ever seems to lose anything in one of those cabs.  It’s always a white cab, of which there are 50? 100?  200 different operators?  I then explain that the problem is that any enterprising young chap can start a taxi company, get a license to operate, slap their logo on the side, and with one car – voila – a cab company.  The response is almost always the same:

“Well can you call a few?”

I’d rather not, sir!  Er – I mean of course!  I’ll call the secret number I have for the Taxi Central Nervous System of Chicago and they will telepathically channel an all points bulletin for your Blackberry so you won’t lose important confidential company information, or fall behind in your fantasy baseball!!!  Did I mention that even if cab companies have radio dispatch systems, only about 10% of drivers use them?  And that’s if someone found the otherwise-expensive-but-now-totally-free-to-punt-on-to-the-next-schlub Blackberry and gave it to the driver, who I’m sure won’t hold it ransom for a hefty reward when he turns down fares left and right to drive across town through rush hour traffic to lay it on your doorstep in a basket of downy feathers and fragrant lilies.

There are, unbelievably, occasions where I’m able to ascertain the exact cab the item of value was left in.  Guests often believe this is it – problem solved!  But here is there inherent problem – you have lost an item of value.  Stay with me here – an item of value.  This means that the item you coveted so dearly until you could no longer resist the urge to splash out large sums of money to have and make other people covet, is now floating around amongst the general public in the backseat of a cab – a vessel in which the general public enters and leaves, with high frequency, for short periods of time, in total anonymity.  The valuable item which you purchased to turn the public at large green with envy is now free for the taking, yet you assume only good Samaritans –  like yourself! – are forking over the $5 necessary to shuttle between the baby seal orphanage and Cure for Horrible Diseases Invention Laboratory.  I very recently explained this rather cruel dynamic – in more soothing and diplomatic language and metaphors – to a very important looking German businessman with a handlebar mustache.  He reasoned that I should try to track down his eyeglasses (that he left in a “white cab with a colored driver” – thanks for narrowing THAT down, chap!) because “they were quite expensive.  About $1,000.  Prada.”  Ah yes, mein Herr.  What is that word you chaps invented?  Ah yes – schadenfreude.

Hey! Look at me!  New Blackberry!

Hey! Look at me! New Blackberry!

You can see how totally ludicrous the whole “lost item” premise is for a concierge.  But it gets far more ludicrous.  We are often stung by rashes of “found” items – quite possibly just as bad as lost ones, as now we are transferred ownership of the fucking things.  An example – this week a lady was in a cab and picked up a set of keys – about 30 keys on two rings, attached to a lanyard – that she “thought was her husband’s”.  Really lady?  Are you married to a fucking janitor?  What to do when she realized the keys were in fact a burden?  Pawn them off on the concierge!

But that pales in comparison to the Japanese lady that frantically approached my colleague tonight.  He had been talking to her for a good 15 minutes when he tapped me and said this lady, who speaks very little English, had lost her wallet on a Metra train between Chicago and Aurora, and do I know anyone we can call that speaks Japanese?  I thought about calling the sensai at my dojo, but then remembered it breaches the sanctity of my ninjitsu oath.  Long story short, we come to find out that this woman didn’t lose her wallet, but in fact found a wallet at the Metra train stop in Aurora, and was turning it over to us.  Um…..ok.  What the fuck?  Are we playing hot potato?  My colleague reasoned that in Japan, however, it is a crime to find a wallet and not turn it over to the police, which was, in fact, what she was trying to do.  I won’t even get into the debacle that was calling various phone numbers found in the wallet, but needless to say, this is no easy fix.

So if I can impart just one bit of wisdom to the public at large, if you take anything at all away from reading this, it’s not to pat yourself down when exiting a cab, or anything smart like that.  It’s this:  there is a reason we label items lost.  Think about it.  Lost.  Gone.  Forever.  Not misplaced.  No one misplaces a cell phone in a cab.  If something is lost – and it’s what you’re calling it, not me! – say goodbye.  Set yourself free.  Set your cell phone free.  And for christ’s sake – don’t bother the fucking concierge with it.

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Business
April 22, 2009

“How’s business?” you might wonder.

Well it sucks.  A big cock.  That being said, it could be a lot worse.  Some hotels are downright suffering.  Ours is shaping up to emerge relatively unscathed, but that is really only by comparison (i.e. no massive layoffs or furlows, no ghost town occupancies for months at a time, etc.).  The truth is, as a “luxury” hotel, we’ve gotten a little skanky.  Well we haven’t – we’re still running around in our ostentatious costumes, exhibiting our hospitality pedigrees, and “anticipating guest needs”.  But it turns out that years of high expectations of employees from guests, has in turn cultivated high expections of guests from employees.  And let me just tell you – these motherfuckers are not living up to their end of the deal.

You see, the suits that sit for long hours in dark rooms that stir witches’ brews and cast spells to come up with a magic concoction that is a room rate have decided that rather than keep prices high when times are tough, it’s best to lower the rate and at least keep a revenue stream flowing.  Makes enough sense, right?  The problem, of course, that as a “luxury” property (i.e. 4 star hotel), part of the charade is the exalted company you keep as a guest.  And should you drop the rate too low, you bring in the sort of shitheads that make your target clientele realize they’ve just been fleeced for the last 6 years.  When the rates go back up again, your problem is twofold – hillbilly shitheads want to come back at bargain rates, and hifalutin twats think you’ve become a Motel 6.

I’m glad it’s someone elses job to endlessly pour over numbers to figure out what the perfect balance is, but I do have a message for that person based on recent experience:

RAISE THE FUCKING RATES.

I realize the thrust of this blog has long been my constant whinging about the unbearable cuntiness of the overpriveleged.  But when the shit really hits the fan, it turns out they may be much easier to deal with than Ma and Pa Slackjawedyokel who are living it up at the insistence of that cocksucker William Shatner and his blasted priceline.com.  We’re taught not to disdain the .com booking channels in the hotel biz (expedia.com, priceline.com, hotwire.com, hotghettotrashoutforanightonthetown.com, etc.), but fuck all that noise.  It’s more or less a knee jerk to pull up someone’s reservation for a looksee when they’re being a real fucker, and chances are it’s going to have a nasty little .com attached to it.

FULL DISCLOSURE TIME:  I, too, am admittedly and unashamedly part of the proletariate that books through these same discount channels.  It’s just a tool, and a nice one at that.  Guns, after all, do not kill people.  Hillbillies do.

This past Sunday was a great opportunity for me to murmur the RAISE THE FUCKING RATES mantra under my breath.  The lobby was looking like a fucking daycare – kids climing the walls, screeching, crying, moving at high rates of speed toward finely crafted Italian furniture with sharp, angular edges, while their parents – well I don’t know where the fuck their parents were.  Trying to find out where to watch the fucking hockey game?  Some shit.

It was about 10am when, in the midst of a really groovy space out, staring out the front doors, I watched a college aged kid stumble and fall down right at the hotel’s front entrance.  He looked like he wanted to pass out for a second, but then he lit a cigarette and his friend came over and started tugging on his hoodie.  Luxury abounds!  I called security, but when it took them forfucking ever to get there, I just asked our biggest, baddest, blackest bellman (RESPECT) to kindly have a word with these two bumbling, stumbling fucks.  He shooed them off real quick like, but they were back in about two minutes, and this time the drunker of the two started coming inside.  He made it through the revolving door but was centrifugally spun into a wall and subsequently slammed into a guest sitting on a bench.  I’ve never slept in a gutter after a meth binge, but I have to imagine this is what you look like afterward.  It was if he was suspended from above and dipped lengthwise into a sewer, the entire left half of his body covered in filth.  And his eyes were like two crusty used coffee filters – no pupil, no eyelids, just dark, zombie-like circles.  Security finally arrived on the scene to give the bum his bum’s rush, but alas – he’s a registered guest!  Luxury!!!  Security puts him on the elevator and escorts him back to the room he booked on hotwire.com at an obscenely low rate and our Sunday marches on.

Yes sir, right this way sir.  Your suite is ready.

Yes sir, right this way sir. Your suite is ready.

I was mortified for the next guest to come to the desk and rue what a circus our clientele has turned into.  But then I didn’t expect the next guest to come to the desk and impress upon me a reminder of the Chicago to Cincinatti schedule on the………MEGABUS.  Huh?  Megabus?  At first I thought she was just really primeval and was referring to a full size charter Greyhound bus as a “megabus”, like she called commercial jets “megaplanes”.  No she said.  Then I asked her if she was referring to the super skanky bus that people used to ask me about at my previous (and super skanky) hotel that runs regular routes between Chicago and Madison and God knows where else.  Nope.  The name of this fucking operation is actually MEGABUS.  Apparently it’s some sort of outfit that shuttles white trash throughout the Midwest for shockingly low fares.  Luxury!

Next was the college aged girl in gym shorts and a t-shirt that asked me for “like, a couple trash bags?”  Great.  Need to pile in all your Natty Light empties so as not to give the housekeeper you’re unsophisticated once you check out?  Nope.  Need a poncho for the Cubs game?  Nope.  What did this girl need trash bags for?  LUGGAGE.  She and her school emblazoned sweats wearing dormmates came down an hour later, trash bags filled with clothes in tow, to gather themselve in the lobby, too unsavvy to request an hour late check out.

I half expected the next guest that approached the desk to have me point them to the monster truck show, or pitbull fight.  But sprinkled amongst the hood rats in search of Michael Jordan’s restaurant that closed 7 years ago (“Dats OK.  We’ll go to Weber’s Grill.”) are our regular guests, finely knit Marino cotton sweaters draped over their shoulders, asking which way to Tods.  How do I balance the two?  When someone asks me for a “good” restaurant (and it turns out that unbelievably shitty descriptive powers can be attributed to all classes and income levels), are they thinking of Outback or Blackbird?  Is Blackbird even nice enough for them?  Is Outback too nice?

Just raise the fucking rates already.

Boob Tube. Really.
April 19, 2009

There goes the fucking neighborhood.

Some genius who makes decisions in running the hotel came up with the bright idea of installing a television in the cafeteria.

Fuuuuuuuuck.

Upon seeing it I was instantly swept into swirling repressed memories from my last hotel, whose cafeteria was also unfortunate enough to have a tv.   Mob rules tv channel selection, and this was a daily dose of the lowest possible common denominator:  Judge Judy, Divorce Court, Judge Joe Brown, Maury, Judge Pontius, Jerry Springer, and Fox News.  The horror.  And naturally there were daily arguments about which pile of horseshit we should all have to watch.  The worst part – it was usually Chicago’s Finest that had the last word.  That’s right – megalomaniacal assholes with badges and guns.  Apparently where ever there is free food to be had – the CPD is there.

I made my disgust for the tv known right away, and I was given the “good news” – “Oh this will only be on CNN.”

I voted for Obama.  But I did not vote for Michael Phelps's boyfriend - Anderson Cooper - to call upon a hologram of Will.I.Am as a journalistic source.

I voted for Obama. But I did not vote for Michael Phelps's boyfriend - Anderson Cooper - to call upon a hologram of Will.I.Am for journalistic credibility. Nevertheless, market research shows that cafeterias everywhere are absoloutely loving this shit.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Have you turned on CNN lately?  It’s one Lindsey Lohan rehab stint from becoming TMZ.  It’s total garbage.  Pat Buchanan is propped up as a legitimate editorialist.  Holy shit.

But the worst part is the cafeteria commentary.  I particularly like to eat in silence and read the paper.  I don’t even necessarily like to read the paper all that much, but it’s a great foil for avoiding talking to other people.  Do other people yap on anyway?  Sure, but now the dynamic has changed from co-workers shooting the breeze about the day with one another, to a 7th grade debate between fired up pubescents.  There is something about a tv in a room full of relatively ignorant people that lights a fire under their ass to spit out their heretofore personal and very uninformed opinions.  Observe:

TV Day 1 – CNN is running a story on different political bodies’ ideas of prisoner torture.  It touches on methods used to induce confession such as slapping detainees, and up to water boarding.  I am eating in the cafeteria with only three other employees, two of which are eating, the third a Southside sluggo maintenance worker who is just always in the cafeteria.  The CNN piece ends on some clever note prodding the viewer about the ethics of what may or may not be torture, which prompts the toolbelt to yell “YEAH, BUT IT’S EFFECTIVE.  RIGHT???”  It would have only been more predictable if he had yelled “CUBS SUCK!” and thumped his chest afterward.  I saw it coming a mile away.  Which meant I knew he would look at me to validate his opinion, bump me on the shoulder and repeat “RIGHT????”  And he did.  And I don’t dislike this guy, and I may or may not even disagree with him.  But I sure as hell don’t want to get into a discourse with him over anything other than where Paul Konerko should bat in a lineup, let alone the morality of military tactics.  I left my ten foot pole at home, thank you.  I’ll pass.  So I just shrugged my shoulders and said “I’m eating.”

TV Day 2 – CNN is all but announcing the imminence of world war after North Korea launches a practice missile, and flashes a picture of Kim Jong Il.  The otherwise quiet, though impressively ghettolicious housekeeping supervisor blurts out “WHY DON’T THEY JUST GET A SNIPER, SHOOT HIS ASS, AND HANDLE THEIR BIDNESS?  WE DON’T NEED NO MORE WAR.  TOO MANY BABIES GETTIN KILLED.  WHY DON’T THEY JUST BRING THE TROOPS HOME?”  Again – I’m not here to take a stance on these muppets’ opinions, no matter how blindingly, headache-inducingly stupid they may be.  But there is a time and a place do offer your unsolicited, bungling, infantile worldview, and it sure as shit isn’t over a meal in the work cafeteria.  (According to most hood rat soap box orators, it is apparently on the Red Line train, at about 97 decibels, but that’s another story)

I’m holding my breath for the day I’m trapped in the cafeteria with the widest of the mark idiots, more willing to offer their glaringly incorrect viewpoints than any other peabrained tit on the face of the earth:  the Banquet Waiter.  They descend upon the cafeteria like locusts inflicting plague, voraciously consuming meal after meal, and holding what amounts to an idiots’ roundtable.  They are the ultimate water cooler jackasses, blathering on about whatever made the opening headline on the front page of whatever newspaper was on the floor of the train that morning.  And it’s the absolute certainty with which they absurdly proclaim their (false) knowledge that really sets them apart.

One day I sat alone at one end of the cafeteria while a table of them blathered on about, of all things, cartography.  Not that a single one of them uttered the word ‘cartography’, or for that matter, not that a single one of them doesn’t think cartography is the strange science of shopping carts.  No, they were talking at full volume about the map on the wall, presumablly offered up by the hotel management to dazzle it’s more sheltered employees with reassurances of a flat earth.  You see, one of the Banquet Waiters was explaining, professorially, how one edge of the map actually meets up with the other edge when stretched around a globe.  For instance, the tip of Alaska by the Bering Strait, on the far left side of the map, is actually adjacent to the territory in the far Eastern stretches of Russia.  But unfortunately, this genius didn’t use this example.  Instead, as if channeling Sarah Palin, he explained that if you were to walk off the top of the map in the North Pole, you would come out on the bottom of the map in Antarctica.

No shit.

Did I say anything?  Nope.  Just stared.  I wanted to see if A. this idiot would either correct himself, or maybe by some stroke of luck suggest he was just hypothesizing or guessing; or if B. one of members of the Dipshit Court would correct him, and by all accounts of fairness ridicule him for being so ignorant.  But alas, all the other boobs just nodded their heads in sophisticated agreement, almost offended that something so trivially obvious should be pointed out to them.

So what hope do I have when Maury reveals that you are NOT the father?!?!??!

You are NOT the father!

You are NOT the father!

Games
April 12, 2009

PAPER MILL CLOSING

All hands on deck! Assholes requesting phone numbers!

Do you like to play games?  Is that what this is about?  Are you toying with me?  You like to be coy?  Did you dream up this little scheme before you came to talk to me?  Is this just poor planning?  Seems too calculated….

Guest:  Oh hi, what’s the number for (insert boring restaurant’s name here)?  Can you write that down?

[this never happens where they don’t ask me explicitly to write it down]

Me: Sure, let me kill a few trees for you.

[I see exactly where this is going, but why offer to call a restaurant for someone who only asks for a phone number, right?  This is an industrious, go-getting adult who 1. knows that, as a concierge, I’m ready, willing, and able to call restaurants on their behalf.  It’s why I stand behind the ostentatious desk in a douchey uniform; and 2. why insult someone who merely needs the phone number of a restaurant?  Obviously most normal people wouldn’t be insulted by the offer of above and beyond service when they’ve only made a simple, direct request.  But then I don’t deal with many normal people.]

Guest: [while I’m writing the number they’ve just miliseconds asked me for] What’s (insert boring and/or overhyped restaurant’s name) like?  Is it good?

[Seriously asshole?  If you don’t know if this place is good, why the fuck do you need the phone number?  Were you going to call them and when they answer ask “Hi, yeah, are you a good restaurant?  Are you any good?”]

Me: Oh yes, this restaurant is blah blah fucking blah blah blah, the menu is superbly blah blah fucking blah blah.

Guest:  Oh that sounds good.  Think you can make me a reservation?

At this point I have either handed this jerk off the piece of hotel stationary (eggshell tone, 80 lb weight, slight tooth, logo header and footer, bundled in pads of 8 to maximize rain forest clear cutting and exorbitant corporate expense), or I’m in the midst of writing the last few digits of the phone number for said jerk off.  In a perfect world the lights would drop, I could dip my chin, look them with psychotic eyes like I’m looking straight through them, a little puff of smoke would squirt from beneath my clenched teeth, my colleagues would all get worried looks and scurry away, and I could say, a la Dirty Harry: “If you wanted me to make the reservation, cocksucker, why did you have me write the number down?”

Now, yeah, maybe that sounds a little sensitive and overdramatic on my part, but once you’ve had this charade pulled on you thousands of times, day after day, you’re not just pissed, you’re really just puzzled.  Are people walking up to me with the economy of paper and handwriting at the forefront of their consciences?  Of course not.  But it’s the frequency with which this takes place, and the social snake-in-the-grassiness the perpetrator employs each and every time they ask.  These are the same twats who read name tags and aggressively use first names, and who start phone conversations with strangers with “Listen…”  It’s maddening.

Do I think I can make you a reservation?  Well yeah, motherfucker.  I think you can make it too, now that you have the same phone number I’m going to call.

Nice Fleece
April 9, 2009

There is a plague running amok on the streets of Chicago.  It’s a constant reminder of how white bread and absent of imagination this city is.  It’s a blatant cry to fit in and belong, but is seen by its purveyors as a badge of honor.  It is…….

The North Face Fleece

plm

I even put the pink one up there for all the funsters who like a splash of color to really set themselves apart from the crowd. But then what’s the point of wearing a fleece?  I mean, sure, you could get the Patagonia, or the Columbia, but really – North Face is the thing.  It has the nylon shoulder yolk, which really lets the brahs know you’re coming, and I’m pretty sure helps you catch touchdown passes.  And then the big sexy North Face logo stamped right on the shoulder.  That’s where the medals and pins go.  In your face.

All laughing behind their backs aside, I’ve deduced that this is some sort of “outdoorsman” jacket.  It’s for hiking, or climbing, or some shit.  Which I suppose is a great part of the appeal to the upper middle class caucasian women in Lincoln Park – it’s the SUV of clothing.  Reassuring, uniform, rugged for no apparent need whatsoever, and shit – everyone’s got one!

I am hypothesizing that the SUV Factor is part one of the Fleece syndrome, and part two is the University Factor.  I could be wrong, but I think these hideous things got their start on the campuses of Midwestern and/or Northeastern colleges and universities, the same place Uggs and wearing pajamas in public at all hours got their starts.  Because if there is one thing that is of utmost importance to today’s upwardly mobile, culturally vapid white girl – it’s “being comfortable”.  If you haven’t heard this as an excuse for wearing Uggs, then you haven’t asked someone why they would put such stupid looking shit on their feet.  And really – can there be a good reason to wear pajamas out of the house at 9pm?  I mean, I like to come home from work, slip on my PJs, crack open some Yellowtail chardonnay, eat Ben & Jerry’s, and zone out to the Bachelor as much as the next girl.  But I don’t subject others to my droopy ass in fart impregnated sleepwear just because I want to get out of the house and want to “be comfortable”(for the record, I only do that mid afternoon when I’m hungover).

I’m treading on real thin ice again, as far as casting a critical light on a subject that is near and dear to so many of my acquaintances and even friends.  It’s not that I can’t love a North Face Fleecer.  I can and do.  It’s that seeing one on every other girl walking down the street, yapping on their cell phones, talking about bottle service at (insert godawful Lincoln Park/Lakeview/River North bar/club here), acting fabulous while buying gum and cigarettes at CVS – it makes me want to rip my own eyes out.  Does this shit go on in Manhattan?  In London?  Is this why Chicago has such a hokey reputation?  Now, part of the greater problem is that I live in the hinterland where Lincoln Park and Lakeview overlap.  But will moving to Wicker Park really help?  I’ll just be hating on skinny jeans and American Apparel, and will have my Fleece tolerance drop to levels that, when I do see one on a girl in $400 jeans and a Cubs hat, I’m just going to want to explode.  Plus it’s nice to live in a neighborhood where a schmuck like me can be made to feel cool and edgy on a perpetual basis.

Instead I’ll stay in my neighborhood and walk down Clark Street on a Friday night, laughing inside at all the girls hailing cabs, swathed in today’s most fashionable and expensive clothes, and topped off with a North Face Denali Fleece covered in puggle hair, cheap perfume, and Marlboro Light ash. The next time I have to wear a suit to dinner, will I make the cherry on top a Fukudome t-shirt and headband?  Probably not.

Hey, nice fleece!

Quirks
April 8, 2009

I’ve been at this for a while.  Somewhere around 6 years or so.  I’ve developed some habits.

And for the record, I do not have obsessive compulsive disorder.

I use certain pens.  My primary writing instrument is the Pilot G2 Retractable Gel Ink Rolling Ball fine point (in black, of course).  I keep 2-3 on my person at all times in my right inner jacket pocket.  They run out of ink pretty fast, but they are – for what I use them – superior writing implements.  I also keep at my disposal – on my keyboard, between the number and function keys at the top – exactly 2 hotel branded ball point pens.  Cheapos where you twist the upper cylinder of the pen to deploy the ball point, and with the ink that doesn’t ever seem to dry out.  These are on hand to 1. write on slick, glossy surfaces (like maps) that the G2 ink dries too slowly for, and 2. to give away to people who ask for pens.  I never give away my own pens, which I furnish at a nominal but nevertheless accountable cost.  Often times guests snatch my G2 out of my hand during conversation to write something.  This is quite obviously (to me) rude and abhorrent behaviour, but I am just a schmuck behind a desk, so I can’t really say too much.  But rest assured I never let anyone walk away with my G2.

g2_0000001

I think pen preferences (which is a nice way of putting obsessions) are very common to most concierge.  I know of a few savages out there that will use just any old pen, and I feel that it only serves to illuminate their unrefined nature.  One of my former colleagues uses only the generic hotel pen, but he ritualistically places 2 pens on his keyboard – one horizontally between the number and function keys (like I do), and one vertically between the arrow keys and number keypad on the right side of the keyboard.  He’s pretty damn neurotic about it, and can get real ersed when someone fucks it up.  When we worked together, we had another colleague who was essentially the walking earthly antichrist when it came to respecting colleagues’ ritual, let alone personal space, conversational etiquette, most other mores and conventions of Western society.  She would, on a daily basis, like clockwork, waddle to the desk upon arrival for her shift and within 3 minutes – guaranteed – take one of the neurotic’s pens.  The neurotic hated her more than any other person on earth to begin with, and for myriad good reasons, but this would send him over the top.  And being the neurotic he was, he wouldn’t flip out for the world to see.  He’d just seethe uncontrollably, stewing for hours, days on end, and then the next shift would come with the antichrist and she would do it all over again.  He worked with this cunt for a few years after I left that hotel, and he would call me, rage audibly percolating in his voice, to let me know the cunt had taken his pen again.  Other people that worked with him, that I would talk to, would excitedly recount to me instances of the cunt taking the neurotic’s pen, very much like coworkers must describe shoestring catches made by center fielders around the water cooler.

And I felt for that neurotic bastard.

Crazy Update: The Denouement
April 3, 2009

ch

I’m sorry, my childrens.  I promised an update, but didn’t deliver the goods with regard to Madame Crazy.  It turns out the resolution to this unbalance in the universe was rather devoid of drama.  That’s not to say she didn’t provide us with a few nuggets of insanity on the way out the door, but none of the real fireworks I was hoping for.  And hell, I wasn’t even there, so I’m still getting the real story a week later.

But yes, she was evicted.  Not to say she was the first – there was the little fat man a couple weeks ago asked not to come back after it was learned he was using the floor-to-ceiling window in his 31st floor suite as a stage for his auto erotic activities.  The lady in the condo across the street he was traumatizing with his spirited beating off finally called the cops, and apparently answering the door to confront management in his unders was the final straw.  But that’s another story.

Madame Crazy left us a few more telltale signs of insanity before she was given notice that she had to go: we suspected the enormous fruit basket delivered for her a few days earlier, that had a nice card full of well wishes from warm hearted colleagues, was most likely ordered by her.  And our suspicions were confirmed when she asked one of us one day how much flower arrangements of a certain flower costed, and when 2 days later a similar arrangement arrived, again with greetings from imaginary friends.  Spooky!

Apparently on the day she was asked to leave there were some tears, and she was forced to inform us that the article/book/journal entry/whatever the fuck she was pretending to write on the hotel – was going to have to be cast in a negative light.  She could have done so much for our exposure, she insisted, but now Oprah would have to find out what jerks we were.  She was given a noon deadline to check out (how Old West!), but naturally she milked her final hours for everything they were worth, and was reported to have left the property around 7pm…….to check in at a luxury hotel a block away, and presumably start all over again!  So all hope/fear is not lost.  I’d be shocked if she could resist the temptation to sniff around her old haunt – we were, afterall, meant to be her permanent residence until sometime this summer.  But then again, she may have already forgotten she was ever here.

And don’t worry, my instincts tell me there will be other crazies down the road.  Where ever there are purple, turgid, clammy knobs pressed against high rise glass, I will be there to tell the story.

The end.