Tag Archives: travel

ROOM SERVICE DURING AWARD SEASON

Well, it’s here, that self-congratulatory jerk-off fest and ass kissing extravaganza!

Film, music, and television award shows! Look I’m not trying to hate, I enjoy one or two shows here and there. But Jesus Christ it’s nonstop in this town! I would love if they gave an award for ‘biggest douche bag, biggest asshole, the biggest pain in the ass to work with, biggest ass, biggest man boobs…’

I don’t know, maybe if we get a little more creative, and a little more self-deprecatory maybe the general public wouldn’t take actors and celebrities so seriously. They seem to look at them as these monumental, incredibly important, amazing people. What’s worse though are the sycophants & minions that blog and report on said celebritards. And a lot of those people stay right here in the hotel. These are the flies buzzing around the secondary shit that is Hollywood. Based on the delusion that there’s any glamour in Hollywood, entertainment reporters would be the very lowest on that wrung. How do I know? Because I worked for an entertainment magazine (STAR) long enough to see what a load of stupid fucking tripe all that information and news is. But hey, I grew up in this town so I’m probably a little jaded.

Ok on with it.

Golden Globes Night.
I get a big order $860.00 rm. 412, knock knock.
‘Room service.’ The TV is LOUD; I hear audience laughter as well as heavy room chatter. A lot is going on in there. I sense douchery; I hope I’m wrong.
‘What? what? Who is that? Why are you bothering us! Come back later.’

I knock again and scream loudly over the noise, ‘ROOM SERVICE!’
‘Yes, Yes. Okay. Hold on.’ The door opens a Perez Hilton looking guy gives me a dismissive wave in. Fat dude in purple skinny jeans and deep v-neck with a wolf’s head print. I’m annoyed, right off the bat. Why do I have to be visually offended by your bad taste in fashion and your lack of physical exercise? I hate everything.

I go in, 10 or 12 people are huddled on a couch looking up at a wall mounted plasma screen. They’re consumed.
They’re desperate for a fix. They speak as if they know the celebrities intimately and personally. Using first names, or shortening the name or making child like names of the nominees.
‘Oh my god Patty (Patricia Arquette) is hot!’
‘Well Meryl is like that…’
‘Bobby D was up for that.’
‘And Well George (Clooney I suppose) is so blah blah…’
I’m totally ignored, and someone says ‘pause it.’ The poor man’s Perez replies, ‘Don’t you fucking dare, I need to see this in real time! Ok come in. Quickly please.’ At that point I move even slower. ‘Where would you like…’ I say slowly.
‘Oh god, just over there. Where ever.’

Then a chubby girl in skintight everything. ‘No no not there! Just leave it. Right by the window.’ She gets up with a grunt. ‘Nyuuhh, oh my this looks fan fucking tastic!’ Another rude chubby wubby on the Couch yells, ‘eat my quesadilla bitches and just see what fucking happens!’
‘Oh shut up Gavin!’ I back up towards the door, now I really want to get out of here. I feel my soul being sucked out of every orifice. The depth of this crowd resembles a dried out birdbath.

I leave the room. I look in the book, of course there’s no extra tip or gratuity. ‘Oh God you cheap assholes,’ I say under my breath as I round a corner. I bump into a bellman that’s bringing someone’s luggage to the lobby. ‘Yeah man,’ he says ‘this is the cheapest fucking crowd of the year prepare yourself.’ The next room, 516. Just tea. Small order smaller auto gratuity. I knock,
Room service before I can even finish the sentence a girl whips open the door,
‘Finally.’ she says. The room’s packed with wardrobe racks, and suitcases, and boxes, and shoes and high-end designer shopping bags, jewelry strewn all over the tables. I manage my way around the obstacle course of couture footwear and accessories. I give her the check.
‘Yes yes I’m here dressing and styling VIPs I’m sorry to be short, I just need things delivered very quickly.’
‘That’s nice.’ I say.
She grins at me.
I walk out.

Short & Sweet
The Grammys. In the great words of Chuck D of Public Enemy, ‘Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy.’

More senseless awards for art. I will not be commenting on Kanye West, because I really don’t care. I haven’t heard the new Beck album either. I’ve never listened to music because it won an award. Seems like an Award just solidifies your self-worth as well as a future paycheck.
Most of the guests that I dealt with on Grammy night were too self obsessed to be dismissive or mean. Anybody that was of real importance was already at the show. At the end of any shift (regardless of the event that’s taking place) I usually laugh it off. And I realize that it’s not my career path and you wouldn’t get the entertainment of this lovely little blog, so I will be reporting more about this fantastic award season after the Academy Awards! And we’ll see you at the movies!

 

TIP BATING

Whether you’re at a job to make a career, or maybe you’re just there to make money while you’re trying to get your real passion or dreams off the ground, or if you’re some lucky asshole who has a trust fund, but the stipulation of said fund is that you work at least 30 hours a week to collect on it, such as a coworker, you want to get paid as much as you can.

In the food and beverage industry, you rely on tips and gratuities (above and beyond the shitty $9.00 an hour minimum wage) through providing courteous fast and friendly service. That being said, you do what you can to manipulate an extra tip whenever you can. BUT if the guest check already includes a 20% gratuity and you’re already getting a tip, ‘Tip baiting’ is a big fucking no-no. Management makes that very clear. It’s grounds for termination in some cases. BUT when you have to split that 20% with 6 other people in a 24 hour period (tip pool) it really doesn’t work out to 20%. It says this on the bill, yet people still ask, ‘is the tip included?’ Most hotel guests know this, but they ask to avoid tipping more. Therefore I tip bait and manipulate for more money through the most subtle (or outright) of gestures. Here are some examples;

‘Is the tip included?’  ‘Well, it depends on how you look at it. My personal tip isn’t on there. It gets split between me and 10 other of the staff.
(I always add more coworkers depending on my mood or how my night is going tip-wise. This works occasionally, and I haven’t been reported to management.
If I sense that the guest is drunk or high I will automatically say “no, unfortunately, the tip isn’t included.’ or, ‘I wish.’ 9 out of 10 times they tip. And tip well.
If a guest is foreign and has no clue how to read the bill, they sometimes ask me in broken English if the tip is included. I always say ‘No’ in that case. (Not my fault they can’t read English)
One foreign guest asked me, ‘Please, what is the proper amount for a tip, what percent?’ I said “Oh 30 to 40 percent, in some cases 50 percent, but please, it’s at your discretion. That was good for another 25%.

Then you have the people who are ready to tip you, they have the cash-out. Then they read that the tip is included and they say, ‘Oh it’s already included.’ and put the money in their purse/pocket. There is truly a special place in hell for these assholes.
I’ve also had another guest stand between me and the guest who is about to tip and says, ‘No need for that, the tip is included.’ These are ‘Tip Blockers’ The worst. Real douchebags.

A bellhop friend of mine likes to squeeze in a hard luck story On occasion while Taking luggage to and from the room. He says it’s usually good for a little bump. Another co-worker faked a speech impediment and he got a big cash tip. He suggested that I try that, or even limp like I have a bad leg or some other physical disability. If things don’t pick up around the holidays, I may just take his advice.

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Another excerpt from my book ‘#1 Son And Other Stories’ Available on Amazon.

My Father, Carl Marcus 1978.

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From the chapter, “Going For A Drive”

 

“What’s a shnorra Daddy?”

“Mikey, it’s men or women who freeload and sponge, like leeches at corporate or government jobs because they have no original thoughts, business sense, or ambitions. AND EVEN WORSE, they have no panache or hustle. You never want to get caught up in that garbage kid, it’s a dead-end life. A real fucking horror show.”

“OK, Dad.”

He turned up Frank Sinatra and ran his gold rings on the Caddie’s plastic steering wheel. He sang “My Way” as he gunned the red Eldorado up the 101 past Cambria. My father drove us all over California. We motored from Point Conception to the Mexican border, from San Fernando to San Francisco, Burbank to Barstow and all the nooks and crannies in between. He feeds us Ghirardelli chocolates, Pismo Beach clam chowder; date shakes from Hadley’s, root beer floats from A&W, fried shrimp from Howard Johnson’s, and pea soup from Andersen’s. On many occasions, he would wad up the check and stick it in his pocket, and we’d just walk out. “Let’s play a game kids. It’s called dine and dash.” If the waitress ever stopped us on the way out, he’d say, “must have slipped my mind,” then pay the bill. Once in our travels, my father took us to Fedco. He had acquired ‘paid’ stickers that a manager friend stole from the cash register. These stickers were used for big-ticket items that couldn’t be bagged. He’d slap a sticker on an item (toasters, irons, roller-skates, bicycles, even a color TV he put on a dolly) and we’d walk out.

When he was tired he’d pull into a rest stop and say, “OK you little cuties, shut the fuck up now. I’m sleeping, and I want silence.” He had no problem throwing an open fist into the back seat if we woke him. He called it “backhand therapy.” At home, he called it “wall-to-wall counseling.” My sister and I would sit back there wired on sugar and freak out about waking him. Then he’d wake up, and we were off. We also played road games. “Hey kids, you want to play house of horrors?”
 There was silence.

“How do you play that game Daddy?” My sister asked.

“We think of the worst possible scenario that could occur in a house filled with children.” More silence, for what seemed like an eternity. “For example, a banister that is sharpened like a shaving razor, and when you slide down it cuts you in two, haha!”

“Ok dad,” I said nervously.

“Or a special well lit room where they take a hole punch to your eyelids so your pupils are always exposed to the bright lights.”

“Eww,” said Lorraine.

“Or a chair with tacks and nails on it that you’re forced to sit in.”

“Dad, how about being stuck in a car that plays Frank Sinatra, over and over and over, forever?”

 

GET IT NOW!

#1 Son And Other Stories is available now on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/0999614185/

Also, check out my Interview with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast.

http://wtfpod.libsyn.com/episode-876-michael-marcus-dr-steve

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More Hotel Insanity

If you’re sick like just sniffly, well, the only reason why we care is that we don’t want to be around you. If you constantly verbalize your cold, flu, or allergies it’s really mundane and boring. Americans have some form of healthcare now! At this point in our current international climate, your little cold or allergies are whiny 1st world bullshit. No one truly gives a rats ass. And if they (the sick people enablers) cater and constantly kowtow to that shit, the little sickies are gonna’ leech on to that codependency and ride it into their golden years. I’ve seen it!

Anyway, so I deliver to a guy who orders quite frequently. This guy always has some story about his health. Mr. Harmon in 511. He has a different boy toy in the room every time I deliver an order. Most of them look like Santa Monica street hustlers. With their little backpacks and plastic bags of clothes and shit sitting on the couch.

Tonight’s delivery interaction;
I knock on the door. It opens, its dark, and smells like cheap stripper strawberry incense or oil.
‘How you doing Mr. Harmon?’
He’s about 6’2″ and really pale and bloated. He looks like Larry Bird’s estranged brother. And has an eerie fucking vibe to boot.
He throws his hands in the air theatrically.
‘Oh God, no Bueno! I think I caught a bad cold, Ramon is going to get me Theraflu.’ Ramon is grabbing his jacket and rushing out into the cold night.
‘I’m sure the concierge has it.’ I say.
‘No, Ramon loves to walk the streets. He’s been doing that for years.’ He turns on the light, I wish he hadn’t.

‘Listen I have this weird thing with my eyes, they keep going back-and-forth.’ He’s pointing at his eyes. ‘Have you ever had that?’ He’s moving his index finger back-and-forth between both eyes. I’m standing there watching this charade. Why oh why the fuck do I have to get a play-by-play of your present status Harmon? ‘We’ll have you?’ He asks again. ‘No Mr. Harmon. I’ve never had that.’
‘Hmm, yeah it’s a pretty unique thing. Well, the doctor gave me some promethazine, but I already took four Norco so I might not be good to mix them.’ Those were drugs that I used to use quite frequently, sick or not. ‘What would you do?’
Harmon asks. At this point, I’m in total ‘who gives a fuck’ mode. So I’m like, ‘Yeah go ahead and guzzle down the promethazine. You’ll get real drowsy and nod off, and then maybe your eyeballs will stop moving back-and-forth.’ He runs into the other room, ‘Hold on hold on,’ he says. Oh no, I just want to get the fuck out of here.

‘Mr. Harmon can you please sign the check?’
He comes running back with two small packages. ‘My housekeeper gave me these the other day. She gets them from some little bodega botanica place in East Los Angeles. They’re Mexican bath salts. Maybe these will help me.’
It’s probably not a good idea to drink the promethazine and then take the bath, right?’
‘Well unless never want to wake up.’ Which sounds like a great idea for either one of us at this point. ‘Ha ha ha. That’s funny.’ He signs and hands me back the bill. Well ‘pray for me by name!’ He says in a show tune like voice. I finally leave. I look in the checkbook, no tip. I feel like my spirit has been run over by a Stolen Cadillac Escalade.

Same night, two hours later. Simple order.
I’m delivering chamomile tea to a Mrs. Gordon, room 319. I’m taxed and tired.
I just want it to be over. Let this night be done. I knock.
‘Room service.’ No answer I lean in, I hear somebody scurrying around. I knock again. No answer, again I hear scurrying around. I knock louder. Still nothing.
‘ROOM SERVICE.’ Nothing. Jesus what the fuck. I kick the bottom of the door three times. ‘ROOM SERVICE!!’
‘Oh ok. Of course.’ I hear a droll voice say.

A frumpy depressed looking blonde 20 something opens the door. My intuition tells me another mundane, soul-sucking situation lies in my wake.
‘Just put the tray on the bed. Listen, I’m concerned. My sliding glass patio door won’t lock properly. Maybe you can take a look.’ I hand her the bill. She puts it down without signing it. That’s always a bad sign. I walk over to the door. It latches. No fuss no muss.
‘It’s fine ma’am.’ I walk towards the bill.

She looks over at the checkbook. ‘I finished a production job early, and I’m here for a couple of days. I’m so bored. What should I do? Don’t say the movies, Universal Studios or Disneyland. Those are stupid suggestions. I already got mad at the bellman for suggesting all that garbage.’ Her voice is high pitched like lee press on nails on a chalkboard, or metal patio furniture being pulled across concrete. I offer up museums, and exhibits, coffee houses, and quaint little hipster neighborhoods.

‘Boring. Boring.’ She says. ‘I need some action!’
‘Maybe go pick up an LA Weekly. You’ll find the back pages loaded with all kinds of activity.’
Her eyes lit up. ‘What are you talking about? Sex, S and M, sex clubs, prostitutes?’
That’s not what I’m talking about. God.’
I looked over at the bill, and made my way to the door. She signs it and is shaking her head.
‘I was talking about music venues, nightclubs, dance clubs. But hey, whatever.’ She growls at me and hands me the bill. I walk out. I’m done for the night. I’d rather fill catsup bottles or do some other form of side work then deal with these people. Just for tonight, I need to get my mojo back.

 

Travel For Love

 

TBT ’95

His girl had been gone for three weeks. He was going out of his mind…

 

His psychiatrist called it a female dependency. He called it loneliness coupled with horniness.  He spoke to her often. She usually called while he was asleep. The strange thing is when she called, he was usually dreaming about her. She would wake him out of a dead sleep at 3:00 AM, The Witching Hour. He would be in a deep sleep dreaming about her. Her lithe sexy body, her porcelain skin, smooth as silk. Her lips and soft touch. Her cute voice. They went through so much together. Their bond was unbreakable. They could just look at each other and know, that they both knew. She was a brilliant artist, funny and clever and an amazing chef.

That morning she called and told him she’d be gone another three weeks! That meant a month and three weeks altogether. “No fuckin’ way man!” he said to her. He had a week of paid vacation left, but still owed rent, the IRS, unemployment and disability overpayments. He found a reasonable fight. And was on a plane to Japan five days later. “When the going gets unmanageable, the unmanageable go to Japan,” he told his mother. His sweet mother. She bailed him out of so many problems. She helped him through more than he would ever know. She got up at 7:00 AM to pick him up at 8:00 for his flight at 12:30 PM.

So now he’s on the plane with a thirst. He hadn’t had a drink in months. Trying the sobriety thing. But a thirst, a vodka thirst came over him, an obsession that he was warned about and experienced so many times in the same fucking untreated state. He drinks and reads.

He dozes off and dreams a horrifying dream.

He’s on the same plane but now every other passenger is a sumo wrestler. They’re all arguing and screaming. Two start wrestling right in front of him. They’re grunting and smell like Roquefort cheese and garlic, big balls of garlic. One throws another against the emergency door and it flies open. Sumo wrestlers are getting sucked out of the plane. At one point, three are jammed in the door and the cabin repressurizes. A sigh of relief of all the wrestlers seems to happen at once, it’s operatic, it’s soothing. But then one of the three farts, it’s loud like there’s an oboe in his ass, and the three sumo get sucked out.

Everyone is screaming again. He sits in his seat, horrified and amazed all at once, he has NO idea he’s dreaming. Suddenly his belt snaps and he gets sucked out too. There are hundreds of sumo wrestlers in the sky like babies with diapers dropped from a wayward stork. He grabs a sumo wrestler and uses him as a makeshift airbag, to break his fall. Before hitting the ground he awakens suddenly, sweating, so happy to be on a plane without sumo wrestlers. He eats, drinks, and converses with the other passengers.

He thinks about seeing his girl. He’s never traveled this far. Christ. Arizona, San Diego, and New York tops. But Japan…man oh man, he got the bite. He would travel to a cave in outer Mongolia for this girl. She was special. She was touched, a depressed manic-depressive alcoholic drug addict. She called it ‘the double overhead dual diagnosis.’  Pop Tarts and Prozac were her primary diet. He obsessively thought about her, he read and drank and drank, straight vodka, so many little bottles. Then made the mistake of eating. He sat and sweated and fell back to sleep.

He woke up dry heaving, ran to the lavatories but they were all occupied. “Jesus Christ, is there an open fucking toilet?” he cried. Finally one opened. Once in the lavatory, the decisions had to be quick. He has to shit, but he had to puke, could he do all that and piss too? He sat on the toilet and shit and pukes so quickly it didn’t make it into the sink. The vomit was in his underwear and pants. “Oh god, what a fucking mess,” he said aloud. He stripped, attempted to wash out his boxers. “Oh screw this”, he said as he threw the chunky chicken and broccoli multicolored drawers into the garbage. He washed his jeans out, cleaned off his shoes, and actually felt good.

A flight attendant approached him. “You need something…water, juice?” “Yes, ice water,” he said. She walked away. He had been on the plane 8 hours now. He spent twice that in factories and meaningless jobs, 12 hours of travel to see his girl in another country? Sure, why not.