Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Return of Spoon Man: A Short Story

If you need refreshing about Spoon Man, go here and here.

Once upon a time, there was a girl. Her name was Redgirl, and she worked at a hotel. Redgirl had figured out through experience to mind her own business, but this was through rueful incidents of the sort that a person might consume flies that enter a mouth left ajar for too long.

She always sought to put them behind her, but with one guest, this was difficult.

For, you see, Spoon Man kept coming back.

Much like the infamous "Cat in the Hat", Spoon Man always came back. May hap not the very next day, but he certainly wouldn't stay away. Could it have been her girlish charms? Redgirl didn't know, but if she had reasonable belief in that regard, she would have dragged a dull steak knife dipped in acid across each blushing cheek.

As it happened, Redgirl would check the list of reservations coming in for any sign of Spoon Man. She would type in "Man, Spoon", and would be relieved each time when nothing would pop up. Unfortunately, the reason for this was that Spoon Man didn't usually make a reservation ahead of time. He just roared in on his smokin' motorcycle (which he knew Redgirl admired and thought made him look like a stud) and walked in with the words "Do you have any rooms available for tonight?"

One fateful Friday afternoon, the hotel was almost full. Redgirl was working with her coworker, Greengirl. People were checking in right and left; they were very busy. All of the sudden out of the corner of her very perceptive eyes, Redgirl caught sight of a figure....the figure of Spoon Man!!

She grabbed the next guest almost physically to help them, leaving Greengirl at his mercy.

Redgirl had told Greengirl of the man and his wily, spooning ways, but realized now that she had neglected to tell her the real-world name. Luckily, several other guests came in, so Redgirl was able to stay very busy-looking. Greengirl seemed to take her time checking Spoon Man in, and Redgirl's dearest hope was that her line would continue to stay long until Spoon Man was safely checked in....hopefully to the Annex Wing.

Redgirl kept getting the chills. The reason? Spoon Man kept looking at her. Except when he needed to look at Greengirl for basic politeness's sake or to sign paperwork, he kept looking at our poor heroine. Redgirl was careful not to make eye contact, but he kept looking at her. Finally, she heard Greengirl give him a the main building. She wasn't happy, but maybe he would go away now.

Redgirl did chortle silently to herself that the suite he normally liked to get when he came was unavailable. Ha! she thought, take THAT man who just walks in! Try making a reservation next time!

It was almost as if Spoon Man could hear Redgirl's thoughts. He asked Greengirl if she could make him a reservation for a specific room. Greengirl was a little new, so Redgirl kept an ear out. When Spoon Man mentioned the room number, Greengirl seemed unsure, but Redgirl knew what he was talking about. He wanted to reserve "his" suite for a certain night.

Halloween night.

She clarified to Greengirl what room he wanted, carefully avoiding eye contact with Spoon Man. She could not help but call to mind last year's Halloween, when Spoon Man had appeared with feathers, face paint, and an inadmissible apology.

Unfortunately, if the miner won't go to the mine, the mine is gonna come and get the miner. Or, to clarify, if Redgirl wouldn't notice Spoon Man, Spoon Man was going to make her.

"Hi Redgirl, how are you?" Spoon Man said, with enough volume to avoid being ignored.

Redgirl didn't falter, but it was a close thing. She was with another guest, but knew that in such a social situation, a direct look was called for, as well as the niceties of inane greetings. "Doing pretty" she replied, carefully keeping her eyes from batting alluringly in his direction. She flashed a practiced smile.

He was still staring at her, his eyes seeming to bore into her very soul. "Good."

Redgirl gave him a small smile and nodded. This was in effort to show that yes, she was glad that he was doing well. Even though secretly, she was hoping he would get hit by a lumber lorry as soon as he left and die a slow, painful, squished-to death. Was that too strong? She pondered, "No," she thought to herself, "That's about right. And then dump some acid on him too. That should do it."

As he walked away (could that be? swaying his hips seductively? No. Please no.), Redgirl hissed over to Greengirl, "What room did you give him?"

Greengirl gave the number of a nice quiet room on the third floor that Redgirl was holding back for any guests that specifically asked for something quiet. Curses!!! But the damage was done, Redgirl knew she would just have to live with it.

Redgirl turned to Greengirl. "Greengirl....that was Spoon Man."

Greengirl looked horrified. "He was creepy. And old!"

"I know." Redgirl gave a little shiver. "Did you see how he kept staring at me? Ugg."

She nodded and curled her lip in disgust. "Yeah...that was just wrong."

Redgirl sighed. "And because you put him in the main building, we'll get to see him anytime he goes anywhere."

Most guests, Redgirl didn't mind seeing go back and forth across her lobby. The Scottish people with lovely accents...check. The handsome men's soccer team in their cute manly jerseys...check. That nice young lawyer from the south without a wedding ring...check check. Spoon Man?

Uh...not so much.

Redgirl saw him twice more that evening, once by himself, and once with a from-a-box-redhead draped over his arm. Which he then introduced to Redgirl with a twinkle in his eye. It wasn't great, but at least it wasn't the elderly man and his young "personal assistant". Plus, the months hadn't been kind to Spoon Man. His hair had thinned, and he had gained quite a bit of weight.

Redgirl knew she should feel sorry for a man trying so hard to hang on to his youth, slip through his fingers though it may.

But she didn't.

She couldn't.

Once a Spoon Man, always a Spoon Man.

No going back. No second chances.

Redgirl grimly circled the 31st on her calendar. She would be ready.

Hehehehe. Heh. Well, if he does anything tomorrow, I'll let y'all know....

I was chatting with one of the owner's sons and told him the story. He laughed and pointed to me and said it was because I was wearing such revealing clothing and it was driving Spoon Man to distraction. I wear black dress pants, a men's white collared long sleeve shirt, a tie, and a black vest. Oh. And black shoes. I responded that perhaps the neckline was too low....and I should talk to my boss about turtlenecks. Gack!

What Really Happened to the Red Scarf...

Today's post *snicker* is the tale *snicker* of the *snicker* red scarf. (sorry, it's really hard to control myself on this subject lol) If you haven't been reading for the last month or so, or haven't read through the archives, shame on you!

This once, though, I shall be nice and provide the link. Before scrolling down to *this* post, read the all about Team Egypt here, here, and finally, here.

So. I had just gotten off shift the other day, and I tarried for a while at the front desk, seeing as it was our night auditor's last shift. She and I get on rather well, and we began to reminisce. I made some disparaging comment or other on the subject of the red scarf.

Me: I wonder what happened to it.

Her: Oh, well that would be me...

Me: You know?!?! (I might have jumped up and down and clapped my hands in glee here...*cough* just on behalf of lifeshighway of course, I was only mildly interested.)

I am proud to say that the mystery of the scarf was a conspiracy! Our security dude was out cleaning up the pool area, and found that scurvy scarf. He brought it up to the the desk.

Him: I found this out by the pool

Her: ...what do you want me to do with it?

Him: Ida know.

Her: Put it there for now (points at desk corner)

Sometime later that night:

Her: (thinking) I do like a clean desk...ack. Stupid scarf. Oh look! A trash can! **swoosh**fmph**

Him: (takes all the trash cans out to the dumpster)

Fast forward a few hours to morning

Scarf-Man: (frantic) My scarf! My scarf!

Her: (oops...) I don't know what you're talking about

Him: Ask the night people!!

Her: I'm all over that (or words to the droll effect)

Her: (calls night guy) Dude, we never saw the scarf. We never touched the scarf. There IS no scarf. Comprende? (or words to that effect)

Needless to say, I am happy to find out WRH (what really happened), but a little disillusioned with WAH (what actually happened) but glad that I can share.

To be honest, if I had to pick one guest for that to happen to....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ah, Projector-Man; When Will We Learn?

There you are, sitting at a mid-to upscale restaurant. You place your napkin on the table after dabbing daintily at you lips. Great food! You open your purse to

No wallet.

Or try this:

You're on the bus, riding towards class. You've got your laptop, all your notes for your presentation....even jokes memorized. As a guest presenter during your normal class, you know you're good to go. You get to class 15 minutes early to set up....and realize you picked up your roommates computer instead, which looks remarkably similar to your own. Your new word of the day is "lack".

As in lacking all things.

Now that I've got you where I want you, lets get on to tonight's little story.

"Mitch" is a man, smooth of word and short of height. (I can say that because I'm short) I know to expect him because my General Manager has alerted me that people coming to his meeting will be asking for a "Petunia Room" location. I am to direct them to the "Ponderosa Room", as Mitch had informed them that was where they were going.

Smirk, harm done.

Mitch can't get the projector to work. As I am stuck at the front desk, I can't exactly building-hop, so I draw him a picture of the button he should look for. (I looked for a picture to show all of you in case you don't know, but nothing was clear enough)

He calls back, frustration is mounting. "Isn't there anyone here who knows about this kind of stuff??!!"

I'm done hearing from Mitch. If his computer is capable, it would be so easy to push the dang butoon, make him look the fool, then make my glorious exit. I grab my maintenance guy and ask if he would mind watching the desk. He agrees, so I hotfoot it over there.

And his computer is entirely devoid of the button needed.

The projector is plugged in, but the computer doesn't recognize it.

I go through all the hardware options available for that laptop, and "projector" isn't among them. Then we get following conversation:

Me: Have you used this computer with a projector before?

Him: I used one last worked fine!

(keep in mind, several of the people he was presenting for were in attendance already)

Me: But was it this computer or another one?

Him: It was a different one

Me: (seriously? then why are we having this conversation? why then are you telling me that it worked before and attempting to use that as proof ?) Well, this computer doesn't appear to be capable of supporting a projector.

Him: (upset) Well is there something I can download...?

(I look up his computer on the net paired with keywords like "projector" and the only thing I find is a lady saying she couldn't use the projector without buying an adaptor.)

Me: Sorry sir, there's nothing I can do.


But now, on to the juicy part.

My general manager happened to still be on property, so I alerted her to the fact that Mitch's computer wouldn't use the projector. She laughed.

Her: I told him to make sure he had all the cables and etc. He also knew that we wouldn't have anyone here to help him with it.

Me: Do tell...

Her: In fact...he seemed to take it for granted he would get to use it. It's usually extra. Last time he came, he never paid. He said he would come up and take care of it, but skipped out

Me: (gasp!) If you had told me, I'd have gotten a credit card before I unlocked the room for him!

Her: Don't worry, he's got another event booked with us. If he skips out, we'll hit him with it then.

So, for the rest of the night, I waited for Mitch to return.

And waited.

Waited some more.

Wiley devil. I just hope the projector's still in the room.

I'll update when I know more...but until then, I have a special update coming soon for "Life's Highway Game"...yup, that's it. I found out what really happened to the scarf.

If you haven't checked out her blog, do so NOW!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Don't Want to Screw You, But I Will if You Make Me (pt. 2)

So, the previous post established that when it comes to assigning rooms, I use my superior (yes, that's what I said) knowledge to give you the closest thing to your requirements as I am able.

Sometimes though, you finicky traveler you, you undermine my decision and cause me to have less than sunshine feelings for you. In this case, what I "am able" to do for you may and will fall to a different level than if you had just minded your own business and let me mind mine. To illustrate, I offer the Gaines (names changed to prevent lynching) for your reading pleasure.

Me: (to self) Hmm...we are very full tonight. I think I shall assign rooms now rather than later. *peruses the arrivals list* Oi, look here! The Gaines would like a suite if it becomes available...and it is! I can move them out of the double queen into a suite and cancel the second reservation that would require them to move rooms! *pats self on back in a self-satisfied manner* I am such a good Front Desk person!! *basks in self-congratulatory smugness*

Enter Stage Right: Gaines Family (Mr. Gaines, Mrs. Gaines, and Miss Gaines-daughter) The family carries with them several large suitcases...they are here for 3 weeks. Mr. Gaines approaches the counter where Front Desk Clerk (FDC) is doing check-ins.

Mr. G: I'd like to check in

FDC: Certainly sir. (pulls up res.) It appears we were able to get you in the suite for the entire length of time, so you will not have to switch rooms after all! May I see your credit card and ID?

Mr. G: Can I see the room first?

FDC: (remains unruffled at this annoying request) I'm sorry sir, but I don't have anyone available to take you up. If you find anything out of place, you can just call me when you get up there.

FDC checks in the Gaines, they leave the lobby stage left. After about 45 minutes, they return from stage left.

Mr. G: Do you have any other rooms? The sofa bed is too soft!

FDC: Too soft? (audience can tell she wants to laugh, but is able to contain herself) What did you have in mind?

Mr. G: Well, earlier we were in a double queen for the first few nights. We'd like to go back to that.

FDC: (Unfortunately, FDC has made another reservation in the meantime...a reservation for the double queen she just moved them out of. Audience can see her thinking frantically) Well sir, when you reserved your room initially, you requested that if the suite became available for the entire length of your stay, to be moved. After moving you, that particular room was booked.

Mr G: Well, can I see it?

FDC: Even if you moved into that room, you would have to move out again in 1-2 days.

Mr G: (to Mrs. G) What do you think?

Mrs G: (to Mr. G) It might be worth it...

FDC: (sees that the desired result is not what she has hoped for) The room is actually not available tonight. You can check back in the morning and see if it is available

Mr G: I want to see the room

Audience has been made aware through a program insert that the hotel is full tonight, with one double queen kept for emergencies. This room is in the dreaded auxiliary building and has no balcony. FDC does not intend to do the room switching game tonight, there is too much else on her plate.

FDC: The room that you would get is not available

Mr. G: If I could see something similar...?

FDC: Sir, we are full tonight. I don't have rooms set aside just for showing purposes.

Mr. G: But we'd like to move!

FDC: Even if I were to move you now, I wouldn't be able to save your entire stay in that room, because of this weekend, in which no double queens are available. You might lose the last two weeks of your reservation.

FDC knows that if she fiddles around for an hour or so, she could probably figure something out, but the Gaines family isn't listening to her. She has given them what they said they wanted, and they are now changing their minds. FDC's mental breakdown should start here...gradual, but obviously taking place.

Mr. G: (to Mrs. G) Would it be worth it?

Mrs. G: (to Mr. G) It might be...but you would want to see the room.

FDC: (audience can see this is not the desired reaction FDC was hoping for) But sir, like I said, you can check in the morning to see if the room has opened up.

Mr. G: But we want to move tonight.

FDC: I can't move you tonight.

In order not to irritate the audience, it is necessary to cut out the exiting and returning of the Gaines family no less than 3 times throughout the evening, using a total of 45 minutes of FDC's valuable blogging time in an attempt to move. FDC knows if she moves them to the only double queen left, that they will not only want to move back, but will complain of the noise profusely. She is thoroughly disgusted with the Gaines family. They do not leave her alone. They won't listen to her when she says she can't move them. Finally, she comes up with a plan. Audience can tell FDC is hanging from the rope of her sanity that is slowly fraying...pop! pop! pop! as the Mr. Gaines takes a rusty hacksaw to the length above her. She doesn't want to look down, but does. There are crocodiles down there. Salt water ones. Vicious. Time is short-as are her teeth after she has been grinding them together all evening.

FDC: Sir! The only room I have with 2 queen sized beds is in a different building. Although renovated as well, it is different, and has no balcony. It is nothing like what you would get and would not benefit you in the slightest to either see it or move in to it. If you really need a room change that badly, you need to check in the morning. I have nothing left to say on the subject.

Mr. Gaines seems to understand (finally) and he nods, gathers his brood and exits stage right for dinner. FDC is obviously relieved and we see her go into the back room. The stage rotates, and the audience can see her throw her arms in the air and yell AAAAAAHHHHHRRRRGGGG. We see her compose herself, and go back up to the desk. Disaster has been averted.

Seriously though, this was the most frustrating thing imaginable. And they kept. coming. BACK. Wouldn't leave me alone.


Lesson Learned
I know now to put my foot down at the very beginning. Say exactly what I mean and what I'm going to do. In this case, if I'm not willing to move them, just say I have no rooms, but that if a room becomes available tomorrow, then they can check then to see it. Something in what I said obviously led them to have a glimmer of hope. I must crush this glimmer before it gets away from me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

If You Won't Trust Me to Do My Job, Don't Blame Me When You Screw Yourself (pt. 1)

The aforementioned, long awaited post =)

So there I am, lounging behind the desk as the clock creeps misgivingly towards the 11th hour. My pineapples on farmville being harvested, I have used more precious minutes planting tomatoes and aloe vera (a 12 hour harvest time!!). Then I remember.


I haven't assigned rooms yet for tomorrow! Special requests get assigned ahead of time, like those who want a quieter room. One arrival, a "Ms. Sharpe" wants one such. I use my judgement and assign her streetside in the main building as opposed to poolside in our axillary wing. We have a train, and many people find it easier to deal with street noise (a relatively quiet street) than the Freight 419 coming RIGHT THROUGH their ROOM at 3:30 in the morning. Also, the main building for some reason just feels more *upscale*.

The day dawns bright and early---ish (1:30pm) and I crawl out of bed and dash to work. In due time, Ms. Sharpe checks in. 5 minutes after she leaves for her room, she comes back....and she's not happy.

I shall recount:

Sharpe: I asked for a quiet room...mine is on the street!

Me: Well Ma'am, we have no more rooms in this building facing pool side; though if you're willing to move to the other wing...(I do NOT mention the train. No way.)

Sharpe: Oh, I'll take that.

She leaves, and I cross my fingers waiting for her to come back up. You see, this had happened once before. A couple and their child were first placed in the larger building, requested a room change, got it it, and then came back:

Them: That room isn't as nice as the first one you put us in

Me: (resolutely NOT saying "I know, dingbat, that's why I didn't put you out there, or, alternately, **insert title here**) Yes sir, the auxiliary wing is not yet fully renovated

Them: Well....we'd like to move back...

Me: **pointed, wall-eyed stare**

Them: **keep looking at me...a definite sheepish cast to their wistful expressions** We didn't realize there was a difference between the two buildings...we've never been out there before..

Me: I don't normally do this...but I suppose I could make an exception (they stay here a lot)

Them: Thank you so much! We really appreciate it! (you'd better...)

So you see...I could see the way this could go. I put her in a good room, she decides to move. After moving, she decides that the original pasture was greener after all.

Well nuh uh. Not going to do it. Nope. I put my foot down. Sink my heels in. In fact, I've already decided on options for what I will say if she comes back;

A) ....suck-uuhh!!

B) Hahahahahaha...hehehehehe.....*hiccup*

C) If you won't trust me to do my job, don't blame me when you screw yourself

D) I'm very sorry ma'am...but someone requested room XXXX; it is no longer available.

Keeping the sucky economy in mind, I realistically decide on answer D. Even though answer D was "less than completely truthful". To make myself feel better, I probably would have just gone with "I'm sorry Ma'am, but Room XXX is no longer available" and just leave out the reasons.

I mean honestly folks, this is my job. I am paid money for this job. The money I am paid is contingent on the fact that when the guest asks for a nice, quiet room, it is my job to know what the best room fitting that criterion may be. If you decide that you truly know better than I, well then--depending on my mood--why shouldn't I let you try?

And what? That didn't work out for you?

I'm so terribly sorry, but I did do my best by you. And, of course, I'm even more sorry that the room in question was taken by the couple after you that did trust me to do my job.

Next post: I Don't Want to Screw You, But I Will if You Make Me (pt. 2)