Boob Tube. Really.

April 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

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!

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Games

April 12, 2009 - Leave a Response
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 - Leave a Response

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

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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 - Leave a Response

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 - Leave a Response

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.

A Day

March 29, 2009 - Leave a Response

Most of my entries tend to be topical, but I’m beginning to wonder if day-in-the-life journal like slices might not be just as interesting.  Observe:

Arrive in a really truly awful, sour mood, the product of having three days in a row off.  I don’t necessarily dread going to work on a daily basis like some really disgruntled fucks, and I walked in today feeling stable enough, but there is something about the dichotomy of 3 work-free days butting right up against, and in fact being bombed to pieces by, stepping into an environment where total strangers can ensare me in their horrific problems because of the desk I stand behind.  Welcome to work!

Observe an awful Midwestern woman in Old Navy capri pants from 1998 (it was 36 degrees in Chicago today) check in with her husband, and yack on her cell phone through 3/4 of the check in.  Rude, but not totally deplorable in and of itself, but for when she hangs up, she says  “Oh sorry” and then procedes to announce how “So-and-so is gonna have to have an emergency C-section.”  Well alright!  Will you need concierge assistance?  No?  You’re already lined up at Maggiano’s?  Superb!  Have a wonderful stay…and oh!  Nice cankles, you big show off!  Love your footie socks, and white and pink running shoes!  Where do I bet the house that you watched Oprah and The View today?

Observe another check in, husband and wife, and watch the effete, but acerbic husband snap “Is it an east view???”  Front desk girl says “Hmmm, I think it’s a west view…” and before she can proffer “…but I’m sure I can change it”, Mr. Snappypants  pulls a right strop (as the Brits have so eloquently come about putting it).  “But I asked for an east view, I don’t understand”, and goes all unintelligbly mumbly like his best friend just told him he’s taking the top bunk in some very 6th grade scenario.  Nothing like watching a man melt into a pile of prepubescent whining.  In front of his wife.  He got the east view.

Then the parade of forgetful husbands and boyfriends starts.  An integral part of any weekend – requests for flowers, massages, and choice restaurant reservations, all at the last minute.  These requests are always to be expected, it’s part of the job, but there is something to the transference of responsibility that always bunches my panties in an impossibly tight wad.  Somewhere between forgetting the superficial needs and wants of the very beast (wife or girlfriend) dragging them around by the hair to endless shops on Michigan Avenue, and me asking them what kind of flowers said beast wants, the blame for them forgetting the bane of their existence, and perhaps remembering that bane, is transferred to me.  Hey man – I have no doubt your relationship is right pain in the erse.  Don’t take it out on me.  And don’t try to carry on 3 conversations while you bother me with a phone call to get you in at just the right spa at just the right time.  It’s bad enough I’m humoring your girly foo-foo needs as is.  For some reason, fulfulling massage appointment requests has become like a guy asking me to pick up poo for him, and then trying to instruct the way I do it.  Not the best analogy you’ll come across today, I know, but I figure – it’s the same face I’m making either way.

Lunch time!  And only in an industry as reality warping as hospitality do you call a meal at 5pm lunch.  What’s on the menu this evening, good sir?!  Ooooh!  Two choices of pizza – pepperoni, or chicken.  You heard me right – chicken.  This from the same kitchen that often adorns the same middle school style wet rag pizza with cut up hot dogs.  Mmmmmmm!  Also on offer: french fries, steamed broccoli and carrots, and salad.  I like to wet my gullet with water, or when I want to wild out – Nestea iced tea, but I could have Coke, diet Coke, or orange Fanta if I wanted to really round out my “Wet Dream Meal for a 13 Year Old Boy”.  If I were pretending I was at the municipal swimming pool snack stand, I’d mix them all together for a “suicide”.

Ok back to work.  18-24 year old kids start filing in for the function in the ballroom.  Some student organization that is evidently limited to priveleged little buggers whose parents hail from the asian subcontinent of India, and surrounding areas.  I can deduce this by the sparkling mauve and teal saris with white pumps (but it’s well after Labor Day my dear!), and the somehow even more bizarre attire adorned by the boys.  Somewhere between low-class-hotel-hoodrat-Christmas-party pimp garb (I should know), and whatever the hell is on the racks at Marshalls or TJ Maxx, has a brand name more exciting than Sergio Valente, and what an Indian college kid thinks T.I. and/or Justin Timberlake might wear if he liked to party and do 300 level calc.   By the way – love your sari!  Don’t love your protruding muffin top!

A playful, affable, bubbly middle aged asks for restaurant advice.  Sounds nice, right?  Nope!  No concierge who’s worked more than a year at their craft isn’t suspicious of affable, bubblye middle aged folk.  And my fears were confirmed when the pressed me for a place to go out dancing after dinner (“Because we like to dance!” – Oh!  I see the connection!  You like to dance, and so you’d like a reccomendation for a dancing club!) where “people our age” will be.  Greeeeeat!  Let me guess your age, which I’m perfectly capable and even adept at doing, but not crazy about fucking admitting to your face, and then find a club appropriately douchey, but cool enough for two 51 year old party animals such as yourselves.  I can relate to people who don’t want to rub shoulders in clubs with 21 year old assholes who slug Jaegermeister and yell “Whoo!”, but at the same time, don’t I owe the rest of the clubbing world some respect by not raining on their parade and sending some mid-50s borderline swingers their way?  And let’s be realistic – is there a “dance club” in Chicago that caters to 50 year olds and is cool?  Do you see the contradiction in terms?  Great, you do, but plenty of fun seeking fogies do not.  And they’re not shy about making it your perogative to seek out a place to shake their wrinkly asses to – what?  Van Morrison?  That “This is how we do it” song?  What the fuck do 50 year olds dance to?  And the best part is when – while I’m trying to suggest places – they go on about places they’ve been that aren’t cool enough, places they’ve been that are too cool, their 18 year old twin daughters, and the club they went to where some girls asked them for “X”.  How about you stay in your fucking room, order up some champagne or maragritas or whatever the fuck you drink, and watch Quincy or Trading Spaces.  Is that COOL?

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Trouble (something mildly entertaining) arises – it appears as though there are two separate and distinct parties in hotel suites.  This is strictly verboten!  My nosing around in this is derailed when two women approach the desk and one says “Ok, we need some suggestions” and extends her hand for me to shake.  Not necessary, thanks very much, but I’ll play along.  It’s around this time in the evening that I’m giddy and like to mold myself to guests’ (if otherwise cringeworthy) foibles.  “We’re from Green Bay” the handshaker proclaims.  I have to use every ounce of self-preservation to keep from screaming “SORRY!!!”, when the Madame Handshaker throws me a bone and says “I know, pretty sorry.”  You said it!  And no, I don’t know where to get fried cheese curds in Chicago now that Will’s Northwoods Tap is shuttered.  They ask for sushi and then an Irish pub.  “And are you working tomorrow?  Because if they’re not awesome we’re coming back to let you know!”  Lady – you’re from Green Bay, you have a perm, and I could feed you Van Kamps fish sticks deep fried in Labatt’s, and you’d be more apt to detecting it wasn’t Molson than it wasn’t good sushi.  Beat it.  But not without another handshake!  That’s right – hello and goodbye shakes.  That’s how they do in GB.

Back to the Troubles, and regretfully nothing to do with Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Both rooms with parties are being kicked out.  One is with the student event and actually APOLOGIZES on the way out.  The other is a group of middle aged and older women, presumably from areas further north than Mumbai, but still Southside by all Chicagocenric telling.  They didn’t quite as quietly.  But hey – a party is a party, they’re not allowed in the hotel, and they won’t be the last party to be expelled.  And what the hell do I care as long as it’s not me kicking them out?

Next up for the final hour of the shift: not one but two outside calls to place special orders for room service breakfasts for guests.   This is the “I Left Spoiling Your Forgetful Ass So Late That Flowers and/or a Massage Are Out of the Question” of insensitive reqeusts.  Well done!  And before you jump to conclusions, one of them was a women ordering for a man!  She was sending up a birthday cake.  With his breakfast.  At 7am.  Well done madame!  Shall I just right on the note “Hope you had a wonderful stay, and if you were any more important I might have gotten you champagne, or a cigar, or something cool, but instead, enjoy this stupid fucking birthday cake while the sun comes up!”

End of the night.  Lots more interesting shit happened I’m sure, but my trying to remember stuff to whine about is tempered by my gut instinct to forget as much as possible as quickly as possible.  Your loss, my gain.  Sorry.  And most inexplicably – I walked out with nearly $70 in tips.  Um….what the fuck?  In case you can’t tell from the insouciant swearing, this is Atypical with a Capital A.  That’s a good haul in tips for a week, let alone a night with close encounters of the Green Bay kind.  And no, that bitch didn’t leave a dime.

Crazy Update

March 25, 2009 - 2 Responses

batshit

Well I promised I’d keep you posted on the batshit turdburglar requesting an audience with her Oprahness.  And this mental patient – possibly literally – is not diappointing.

Here are the details:  This Dutch-by-way-of-Luxembourg Big Bird looking woman checks into the hotel claiming to be a journalist/writer of some sort, and instantly starts requesting upgrades, freebies, and other various niceties.  Common enough in the hotel game.  But here, in the most accurate order as I can recall, is the timeline of her sejour (dates and times are not important – focus on the insanity):

  • Flies over from Luxembourg; “injures” hand and wrist midtransatlantic flight by getting it caught in a reclining seat.
  • Checks in to hotel, immediately arranges elaborate scheme to procure free movies, including The Changeling (pronounced – by crazy Luxembourians – as “CHAIN-gull-een”).
  • Requests admittance to a taping as regular audience member, concierge desk manages to get her in, then misses taping completely while readying 2 suitcases full of Luxembourgian trinkets as gift offering to Oprah.  Who does not accept gifts.
  • Starts racking up monumental bills (room service, international phone calls, cartons of cigarettes, etc), announces all charges will be taken care of by the airline’s insurance anyway, as they are liable for her injury.
  • Calls to ask when Easter is (which is curious, as her check out date is late March), then announces she’d like to change her check out date to June 5, and will be bringing her entire family over to join her as she….
  • Writes her book on the hotel.  The book’s title is synonymous with the hotel’s name, which apparently won’t pose any copyright or licensing problems.
  • Invents tasks to draw hotel bellman, housekeepers, and engineers to her room, at which point she ensnares them in her crazy web of indecipherable storytelling and egregious use of the term “super duper”, sometimes 3-4 staff members at a time.
  • Suggests we arrange lunch with Oprah’s best friend Gail so that the two can discuss the launch of  “O” magazine in Europe.
  • Goes to Walgreen’s and returns to announce she has spoken to the “managerial director” there (who I can only assume is a bewildered 17 year old with a hairy upper lip that restocks the disposable cameras) and has struck a deal to begin selling their travel size shampoos, lotions, and soaps in Europe.
  • Requests free internet access to show the kids back home their “new home away from home” since she’ll soon be a “permanent resident”.
  • Rearranges the furniture in her room, despite her crippling wrist injury, which has now “spread to her back” and requires a bellman to go to Walgreens to procure a tea kettle (nevermind there is no stove in our hotel rooms), hot water bottle, and carton of Marlboro Lights.
  • Requests Engineering come to the room to drill holes in the walls so she might install coat hangers for her many visitors.
  • Continually requests an audience with our General Manager, who is all to aware of her craziness, and avoids her like the plague.

The moment when I really stamped the Official Seal of Mind Blowing Fucking Insanity on her antics is when a shellshocked bellman returned from having delivered her cigarettes to inform me she requested someone bring her dish soap so she could wash the dishes and glasses in her bathtub.  If that sentence doesn’t make you at least smile, I don’t know what will.  How delightfully fucking batty!!!  She presumably decided that rather than be brought new dishes for all of her room service dining, it would make more sense (in her now goose bump inducing deranged mind) to fill the bathtub with water and wash them there.  And upon inspection by a housekeeping manager today, after some of the craziness boiled over into tears (more on that in an instant), the bathtub and bathroom sink were in fact full of filthy, tepid water and dirty dishes.  At which point it goes from funny to a bit scary.  But really – I’m getting paid so much that I for an instant feel guilty or self-indulgant laughing my ass off at all of this.

The tears – she called to announce that two employees burst into her room and demanded she “clear out”.  It turns out it was a diminutive room service attendant – accompanied by a security guard to ensure she isn’t turned into sausages a la Buffalo Bill by this nut – there to take the dishes.  From the bathtub.  She described in stupifying detail how it effected her psyche that she should be slighted in such a way, and it will most definitely have a negative effect on the book she is writing about us, and she was nearly wrankled enough to leave the hotel altogether.  In that case…….send up room service post haste!!!!

I could go on about even more of her off the fucking wall antics, but I’ll need shock therapy if I’m forced to relive another moment she’s put me through.

Tomorrow is supposed to be eviction day.  I regret that I’m off, and won’t be there.  I’m tempted to – for the first and only time in my life – voluntarily report to work just to soak in the madness.  I can only imagine the scene that will be wraught upon those who are chosen (read as: draw the short stick) to ask her to leave.  Should be some real fireworks.

Once again, I’ll keep you updated.

The Crazies

March 20, 2009 - Leave a Response

123

Working at a desk in a hotel lobby in Chicago affords me no solace or protection from the nomadic, wandering, batshit crazies of our great, but partially-off-its-fucking-rocker city.  On the contrary – there is something wholly inviting to crazies about some poor schmuck posted behind a desk, like someone virtually assigned to listening to their hairbrained bullshit.  I sometimes feel like I’m in a Ziggy cartoon at a window with a “COMPLAINTS” sign above it.  And mind you – I’m not even talking about paying hotel guests, who are far enough detached from reality.  I’m talking about the legions of babbling, sociopathic spazwits that saunter in off the street, and despite not dropping a fucking dime in the place, act like they own it.  There are varying degrees of crazies:

  • The largely benign but still 100% creepy stalkerish guy that walks through my hotel’s lobby at least once a day, who used to do so to get a gander at a girl that stopped working there 3 years ago.  He has a bizarre gait, an offputting stare, and the waistband of his pleated jeans is somewhere in nipple territory.  He is creepy to be sure, but from what I can tell harmless.
  • The greasy guy in MacGregor skin tight polyester gym teacher shorts and tucked in button down dress shirty (buttoned only to the navel) that used to stop in once every few months at my last hotel to pick up a White Sox schedule, and chat up whoever was working.  Also largely harmless, but 1. his gag inducing get up left nothing to the imagination, if in fact it is your wont to imagine what greasy Puerto Rican heroin addicts that live in transient hotels wear under their MacGregor gym shorts, and 2. stopped to talk.  Everyone likes a crazy from a distance.  No one likes to talk to one.
  • The old lady who used to stop in about once a week at my old hotel to use the yellow pages.  Harmless, right?  Well consider she had no nose, and smelled of piss.  You read that right – she smelled like she had boiled her clothes in steamy urine, and that wasn’t even her most distinctive feature.  She had no nose.  As in, where her nose would be, she – most days – had a bandage, and – special days – had a scabby indentation with two misshapen holes.  Not anyone you want hanging around the concierge desk while paying customers are busy ruining your day.  And this uppity, dusty old cunt would occasionally work up the audacity to ask to use the phone and make calls on the hotel’s dime.  Where would she get the gall?  From the stupid fucking former colleague of mine who one time actually capitulated to her request, and gave her the precedent from then on to bother us with a demand to rub her greasy, scabby face on our phone.  She once famously provided us with mimicry fodder, when being given the bum’s rush by a less patient colleague, cried out “Tsk!  Fresh!”
  • The crazy bitch who was dutifully escorted to my desk this evening by a scornful bellman (what did I ever do to him?) that greeted me with “And my father was beaten to death and I have eaten in the restaurant and….”  I’m quite well, thank you!  How does this evening find you?  It was a humpty, bespeckled, mussy haired mess that wanted a copy of her father’s Honorary Discharge certificate.  I’m not totally dispassionate (yet), so I told her I’d make the copy, but mostly because I wanted her to stop going on at breakneck speed about how her father was beaten to death around the corner for the $5 in her wallet.  Made up or not, it’s bad for business.  And apparently in my purview at the decent samaritain’s office.

I’ll try to add more to the Crazies List as I blog on, but I was motivated to get the ball rolling tonight because I know a batshit turdburglar when I see one, and we have a real cracker in the hotel right now.  A paying guest no less.   She was essentially just a longwinded, twitty self-proclaimed Dutch journalist from Luxembourg until she suggested – during her 40 minute verbal diarrhea session – that the hotel somehow arrange a dinner for her and Oprah Winfrey tomorrow night.  Nevermind that the rest of the monologue was about getting free movies in her room and various ski resorts she eats at for free in the Matterhorns, she figured that having just landed in the USofA for the first time just a few hours earlier, and toting along total absence of any legwork, research, or connections – dinner with Oprah tomorrow night could very well be in the cards.

Did I mention she had her hand in a homemade bandage and arm in a homemade sling because she had somehow managed to crush it in her reclining airplane seat on the flight over?  Or that she mistook a bellman for the manager of the hotel?  Or that she suggested that it was said bellman’s instructions to talk to the concierge about getting all over her in-room movies for free?  Or – and here’s the kicker – that the geniuses that run the hotel have reduced her room rate by 50%, are comping her breakfast for the duration of her (painfully long) stay, and are genuflecting every chance they get because she could possibly write an article for a publication in FUCKING LUXEMBOURG?  Who are the crazies here?

I’m off tomorrow (thank sweet fuck), but this nutter is around for about 5 days.  I’ll keep you posted.

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

March 18, 2009 - One Response

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

or

Let’s Put Green T-Shirts on Over Long Sleeved White T-Shirts & Celebrate White People!

or

Erin go Brah! [sic]

I feel bad for the continental Europeans who approach my concierge desk and ask “where to go for St. Patrick’s Day”.  It’s a question with no good answer.  The honest response would be “it doesn’t matter – you’ll be crammed into a shitty bar with drunken assholes where ever you go.”, but no concierge can offer that up.  And the continental Europeans seem to have fluffy visions of bucolic auld Uncle Cormac sitting by the fire, regaling us with tales of idyllic Olde Eire, singing 500 year old Irish folk songs, softly stroking his shilleleh.  Instead they end up waiting in line for 30 minutes to get inside Celtic Crossing (a respectable enough pub on any other day of the year) to stand shoulder to shoulder with dickhead day traders in disheveled office wear and double-barreled-t-shirt sporting college grads, both equally ready to celebrate their unabashed Whiteness by getting blindingly drunk.

And let me be clear – I have nothing against blinding drunkedness.  But there is something about St. Patrick’s Day that makes white people want to just lose all control.  And I mean really strive to “raise the roof” and get fired up and yell “FUCKIN WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” and drink til they puke, and maybe piss themselves, and then quite possibly stumble into the gutter.  And feel free to make your Irish/drunk joke here, but St. Patty’s Day clearly has so little to do with anyone’s Irishness.  Make no mistake, this is a chance for all white people to make up for not yelling “FUCKING WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!” enough on New Years Eve, or really let out all their raw aggression over the A-Rod steroid saga or having to be on time for work so seemingly effortlessly.

Please – as an Irishman – it’s fucking embarrassing enough to be Irish the other 364 days of the year, as to want to make it a real humdinger on the day Human Resources rolls out the shamrock vinyl tableclothes and glittery green leprechaun hats.

And in case you’re not in Chicago, let me tell you what your uniform is – if you’re not coming to Cubby Bear straight from work at Joe Perillo BMW, that is:

  • The aforementioned green t-shirt over long sleeve t-shirt.  This is mandatory.  Perhaps you have your Big 10 school’s sweatshirt over it, but it better be on underneath, or you have some fuckin explaining to do, brah.
  • Jeans.  Several brands of denim will do, but extra points for Abercrombie & Fitch.  Of utmost importance is the fit – slightly baggy, but they must be too long, and severely worn in the back.  In fact they must have an arc of about 2″ in amplitude worn completely away from innumerable days of trudging along to accounting class with your bros, and even more nights of slugging Jaegermeister in various Lincoln Park bars, and acutely frayed edges.
  • Nike “shox” are the preferred footwear, but naturally all manner of distressed leather boots with comically rounded toes are accepted.
  • Flair.  Gotta have flair – flashing LED powered Guiness buttons, green beads, green and white striped top hat, green wristbands, more green beads – whatever.  Just tons of shit on.  Remember – this is essentially Mardi Gras, but without all those people who aren’t white and don’t like to hurl obscenities.  And Chicago is packed to the fucking brim with white people who like to hurl obscenities that would make sailors with Turrets blush, and those are just the girls.

Erin go Brohem!

Fur

March 1, 2009 - One Response
Google "man fur".  I dare you.

Google "man fur". I dare you.

It’s time to talk about fur coats.  It’s still cold in Chicago, so let’s like really let’s just all sit down and really talk about fur coats.

I’ve long wanted to write a blanket diatribe about how absolutely anyone that wears a fur coat is a complete and total shit eating idiot.  But I know too many people that wear fur coats to condemn the whole tribe of them.  But I mean, come the fuck on, people!!!

Let’s get one thing straight.  I don’t have fur coat hang ups because of how the animals are raised or killed.  Would I prefer it if harmless creatures, especially cute fuzzy wuzzies, weren’t sacrificed only to make people look so fucking stupid?  Sure.  But they could slaughter all the minks and chinchillas in the world by dropping them off the tops of tall buildings and then running them over with steamrollers driven by drunk drivers, and it wouldn’t offend me as much as seeing an asshole husband and wife team of gigantic, wookie-like fur coats.

Let’s clarify another thing – I don’t give a shit how warm a fur coat is.  Pissing in your pants might keep you warm (if only for a minute), but it’s only slightly less tasteful than wearing a fur.  Especially if you’re a man.  Does that go without saying?  No, I can’t assume it, as long as there are so many manfur wearers out there.  Know this, man who wears a fur coat – I promise you the only other people not laughing behind your back at your fur coat… are other feather haired, overly tanned, jewelry adorned dickheads that drink Disorano On The Rocks and check out younger babes (35-40, for instance) at Journey or other suitably has-been-lame-ass-80s-acts-that-still-tours shows, while the wife knocks back Miller Lites, and your preteen kids are back home in Jersey or Ft. Lauderdale selling exstacy to pay for aftermarket tinting and body kits for their ’92 Infinity coupe.  I’m sure your second home, the ranch house in Scottsdale or Naples is very nice, screened in pool n shit, and close to many titty bars.  Just ease up and I’ll get you into Ruth’s Chris.

What is the novelty?  The cost?  Is it fun just to walk around in The Emporer’s New Clothes based strictly on the potential price tag you’re showing off to…….well to who???  Again, the only people the like fur coats are other boobs that wear them, and I’d ballpark the demographic of fur wearers who bought theirs at a hefty discount, secondhand, or bartered for it as part of a meth/’79 Cadillac deal at about 80-85%.  (And to be clear – I’m talking about the white people!  Black people tend to be of the ilk that has the chutzpah to actually somehow be able to pull off the look, that otherwise makes mere mortals look like shitballs.  EDIT: I just saw a picture of Kobe Bryant in a manfur.  Let me rethink my position on this.)  The other 15% who paid retail price for their fur are too busy lighting cigars with hundos, and too drunk on single malt scotch and xanax to bother noticing anyone elses fur.  But in some perverse way that somehow makes them sound tasteful, so forget I said that.

Speaking of perverse, there are essentially two images coursing through my (petite) mind while I write this rant: Image 1. David Puddy walking into Joe Mayo’s party with his man fur on.

Not Joe Mayo's place, I know, but cut me some slack

Not Joe Mayo's place, I know, but cut me some slack

Image 2. The two older women I personally know and like who wear furs.  They are not trashy, they’re not Ft. Myers Beach snowbirds, and to the best of my knowledge, they have nothing to do with the crystal meth trade.  What’s their excuse?  I do not know.  I’ve even adorned one of their furs as a random act of absurdity, but it affored me no insight, no empathy.  It just tickled my nose and made me want to want to put a bottle of $12 merlot on ice to eat with a steak from Outback while listening to Barry Manilow in the back seat of a fully loaded, velour interior conversion van.