Saturday, October 13, 2018
Quiet Night At The Hotel
Yes, I'm at work now.
Those familiar with me know that I work two days a week at a local boutique hotel in Lewes, Delaware.
My normal schedule is Mondays and Thursdays, 3 pm to 11 pm. Occasionally I am asked to fill in for one of my co-workers due to illness or vacation or some special event they have in their lives. Tonight I was asked to come in because my co-worker's wife's son-in-law was found dead in his home. He wasn't ill. His death totally unexpected. My co-worker's wife is understandably very upset. He is consoling her.
All is eerily quiet at the hotel tonight which is unusual because we're totally booked. The hotel is full. And it is doubly unusual because there were two weddings in town today. Hotel wedding guest are notorious for high maintenance. Oh the stories I could tell. But tonight? They must still be out partying. I only have an hour to go on my shift, hopefully they won't come barging in before I leave. My manager told me before he left he fully expects to get a call from at least one of them locking themselves out of the hotel. We don't have a swing shifty (11 pm to 7 am) at our hotel. Just a sign on the door to call an emergency number in case of emergency. That's not my number, it's the manager's number.
When I started in the hotel front desk business twenty years ago (1998, my how time flies), I began as a night auditor. That's the 11 pm to 7 am shift. Man, I'm here to tell you one never gets used to that shift. You meet a lot of interesting characters during the Vampire Shift but your sleep pattern is thrown all off. It takes a one good day to get your cicada rhythm back. I never did get used to it.
My very first job when I got out of the Army in January of 1960 was a night auditor at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I only had to work two to three hours there. We (there were six of us) didn't have to work the front desk. We worked in the basement adding up the five hotel restaurant bills and adding 20% gratuities to them. Once we settled those columnar sheets we could leave. I got paid a big $250 a month (before taxes) for my efforts. I don't make a whole lot more now but this job pays for my quarterly excursions to Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Canada. And I get to meet a lot of interesting people on my job. When I worked at the Pittsburgh Hilton I literally ran into Milton Berle when I got on the elevator while he was getting off. I remember him clearly with his mouth hanging open and a wet cloth on his head keeping his slicked down hair. He was going downstairs to put on a show. I was headed to the restaurant kitchen to get sandwiches for fellow auditors. We got free meals. I was elected to go because I was the New Guy. I remember those sandwiches with the crust cut off. Oh la la. First time I ever had that.
I quit that job after three months. I didn't know anybody in Pittsburgh. I only moved there because my friend Sal De Rosa lived in nearby Elizabeth, PA. I knew Sal from my Army days at Fort Meade, Maryland. He was in the Air Force barracks next to the Army barracks where I held sway as an assistant platoon sergeant. Those were the butch days.
I made a decision to come out but I didn't want to do it near my home and embarrass my parents. Remember this was in the Dark Ages just past the Fifties when being gay was illegal and you could end up in jail. So I came out in Pittsburgh (my first gay bar entry) but I didn't know what to do. More about that whole life changing episode in my life in a another blog entry. I could write a small book on those three months I lived in Pittsburgh, trying to assimilate myself, rather unsuccessfully, into the "gay lifestyle".
I may have declared I was gay in Pittsburgh but I left Pittsburgh a virgin.
Now fifty-eight years later here I am on a quiet Saturday night at this very expensive fou fou hotel in Lewes Delaware reminiscing about the legend of my youth.
The curtains are slowly drawing to a close my friends. My friend Sal of Elizabeth, PA died in 2005. Most if not all of my good friends from those days are gone. Actually all of them are gone now, I am the only survivor. Me and Bill. Bob, Ron, Ed and Brad and so many others. All gone.
It's 10:30 now. Some of the hotel guests are returning to their rooms now from their dinners and time with friends. In about fifteen minutes I will begin the automated night audit of this small hotel. I'll leave here around 11:15 and make the four mile journey to my home north on Route One, Coastal Highway. Once I'm home I'll call Pat on FaceTime to wish him a "goodnight", something I do every night. Then I'll have a light snack and watch an episode or two of "Judge Judy" to destress myself from the vicissitudes of hotel work tonight.
And that my friends is how I just killed about forty-five minutes of my shift tonight.
Have a good night everyone!