Caller: Um. Can you talk to me while I'm naked?
Schatzi: I'm sorry, no. Thank you for calling!
I'm a full-time student who makes ends meet in a seedy motel on the edge of one of Portland's notorious vice districts. Though we get a lot of nice out-of-towners either driving through town or coming through the airport, we also see a lot of the vermin that populate Portland's underbelly. Or as I put it once, "Tweakers, hookers, and vagrants--oh my!"
Personally, I'm constantly amazed by what I see of humanity here: the nasty, the dumb, and on rare occasions, the sublime.
"I'm sorry," I told her. "But our computers are down this weekend, so I don't have any access to reservations, much less the ability to print a confirmation for you, right now. You could see whether the Central Reservations will fax or email a confirmation to you; I can give you their number." [It's been a hassle-filled weekend, thanks to tech support's refusal to work weekends, the busiest time for hotels.]
Getting huffy she said, "Well, I talked to Jennifer, and she told me I could come pick up a confirmation. She said your fax wasn't working." [We have had problems with our fax machine recently, so it seemed reasonable that that would have happened, but without computers, it was a moot point anyway.]
"I'm not sure why she would have told you that, since our computers are down, and have been since Friday. We don't have any way to even look up a reservation right now, and can't make them either. Are you sure you didn't misunderstand?"
"No, I told her I would come in to pick it up, and she said 'OK.'"
Jennifer's new, but she's smart and has caught on to the job quickly. I was pretty sure she wouldn't have said that when she was working Friday or Saturday evening, when we had no computers. Suddenly struck with a suspicion, I asked, "When did you speak to Jennifer?"
"About two weeks ago. I was at work, and I needed her to fax it, but she said she couldn't."
No way. "You told her two weeks ago that you were coming in to pick up a printed confirmation?"
"Yes, and I am very upset that she didn't say you couldn't do it for me. Why would she say it was ok if you can't?"
The woman was clearly demented. I told her, "I'm sorry, but our computer wasn't broken two weeks ago, so she had no way of knowing that when you came in today, we couldn't print a confirmation."
"She should have said you couldn't do it instead of wasting my time, making me come out here to pick one up. I told her I would come in on a weekend, and she said it was fine."
I stared at her. "Jennifer did nothing wrong, ma'am. She had no way to predict two weeks ago that you would come in today, and that our computers would be down. Surely you understand that?"
We stared at each other.
"It's a waste of my time," she repeated.
I shouldn't be surprised.
"Barry, I work here," I scolded him. "You know me."
"What room are you in?" he asked.
"Barry, I work here. I know you!"
He then followed me into the office. "You new?"
"No, Barry, I've been here two years."
"Yes, that's me!" And I shook his hand. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake, because ever since then, he comes in to talk to me multiple times a night. Later that same evening, Barry came into the office.
"You must be rich!" (Everything Barry says sounds like an exclamation, when you can decipher what he's said from his usual Muppet/Mr Bean mumbles.)
"No, Barry, definitely not."
"You pay a dollar fifty for that soda! You must be rich! Two liters fifty cents!"
"I can't get a two liter here at work, Barry."
"Tuesday, at Providence, slice of pizza for two dollars! I get pizza at Providence for two dollars!"
"Fred Meyer chicken for six dollars! Buy a chicken Fred Meyer!"
"That sounds great, Barry."
He staggered around the lobby for a minute or two, then came back up and leaned on the desk, and proceeded to mumble confidingly. I'm not quite sure what he was saying, and most of it was incoherent, but once in a while he would throw his arms out and utter something like "In our fast-paced technological world," and then continue with the gibberish. After a few minutes of that, he left, then came back in and stood at the desk.
"Have pizza with me Tuesday?"
Oh. My. God. Did Barry just ask me out on a date? "What did you say, Barry?"
"Pizza Tuesday at Providence? Pizza with me Tuesday?"
Yes, yes he did. "I'm afraid not, Barry."After that he left, but for the rest of the evening, he'd come in, stand around, then leave. I think I have an admirer.
Last Sunday I had to kick out five rooms. I work the morning shift on the weekends (9am to 5pm), and often have to clean up messes from the pervious night. In this case, several rooms either knew each other previously, or struck up and acquaintance, and the guests were wandering from room to room. We discourage this when we see it because if we need to kick one of these people out (which we invariably do, as the people who know each other tend to be dealers, pimps, and hookers), they just return to the property and hang out in their friends' room.
The gentleman in 224 had been here about a week this time, and the pimp and ho in 221 were also involved, and they had been here off and on for over a month. When people are here for a length of time, they tend to settle in and feel like this is their property. And it's not.
So 224 and 221, along with the occupants of three other rooms, were wandering the upper story around 4am, drinking, smoking, and being very loud about it. Some lady who had checked in to 223 very late with her two kids popped her head out of her door and asked them—very reasonably, I might add—to please keep the noise down. Rather than be considerate motel guests, they started shouting and cussing at the lady, telling her she needed to "check the fuck out." Of course, she then called the front desk, who came out and chased them all into their rooms with the warning that if they didn't stay there this time, they wouldn't be staying on our property at all.
Since it was a Saturday night, he got a call from 223 less than twenty minutes later. Now they were standing outside of her door, shouting and threatening her. So he came back out, chased them all back to their rooms and told them they weren't allowed to rent here anymore, that when morning came, they were out. When I came on at 9am, he told me about all of this, and we made a list of which rooms had to leave. He had already DNR'd them in the computer (added them to our Do Not Rent list).
Now, out of those five rooms, only one checked out Sunday morning without a fuss. The other four all came to the desk saying they'd like to pay for another night, and acted shocked when I advised them that they had to leave due to the goings on the previous night: "I don't know what you're talking about," they said, flabbergasted that such fine, upstanding citizens such as themselves could be impugned in this manner. "I wasn't involved in none of that. That wasn't me!" As though we clerks don't communicate with one another, and like we can't check the security cameras to see what happened. Right.
And then when I'd tell them that the night clerk had specifically mentioned them, and we knew they were involved, they'd play their next card: "I've been here for a week!" So? "After all that money I spent here?" Yeah, spending money doesn't give you the right to harass other guests. Amazing, isn't it?
They're like children, I swear. Denying eating the cookie when they've got chocolate smeared all over their face.
Fast forward an hour. The housekeeper for that section has readied 110 for them, so I try calling upstairs. No response. I try back fifteen minutes later, in case someone had stepped into the bathroom or outside. No answer. So I turn the message light on. An hour later, I haven't heard from her still, so I try calling again. No dice. I go outside to talk to one of the housekeepers about another room, and I see her car is still in our parking lot, so when Lupe calls down to see about whether 208 is still moving, I ask her to knock on their door. Nothing. I deal with a few calls and check ins down at the desk, while also trying to call up to 208, and even after letting it ring for five minutes straight (I timed it), there's no answer. As soon as I can get away from the desk, I go upstairs and find Lupe outside 208, knocking. "Housekeeping!" she says. There's no answer.
She tries again. "Housekeeping!" We listen, and hear a baby start crying inside, but nothing else. We look at each other, and she shrugs and hands me the skeleton key.
Now, if there is one thing I hate, it's opening the door to a room when there's no answer but there is supposed to be someone inside, and that reluctance dates back to the time I found the dead woman. I'll get around to telling that story someday. I really do not like doing it. Plus, with some of the people we have here, you never know what you're going to find in a room, empty or otherwise.
I knock. "Front desk!" I take a deep breath and knock again, then unlock the door and push it slightly open. I see a person sleeping on each bed in the room. "Excuse me," I say loudly. Neither one moves. "Hello, miss? Excuse me!" I continue knocking on the open door, and practically shouting "excuse me" at them. Finally, one stirs. They were just sleeping real hard. She comes down to the office to get the key for 110 a few minutes later and apologizes.
Goddamnitall, why do people have to get me all freaked out like that? And how hard can a person sleep? I wasn't shouting, like the time 112 got locked out while some chick was nodding out inside, but it was close.