Friday, December 9, 2011

Job Journal: Hotel Door/Bellman

The United States workforce is represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: those who plan on keeping their job for the long haul, and those who are biding their time before becoming the Next Big Thing. These are stories from the second group.

Job: Doorman/bellman at Upper West Side hotel

Duration: 3 months

Year: 2005

Previous Entry

One assistant manager, who had a random European accent and seemed very much like he should be assistant managing a boutique hotel in NYC, asked to talk to me one day. At this time I generally gave no shits about my appearance, so my hair was the longest it's ever been. He said "Colin, we like to keep a certain image here at the hotel and your hair, it is not fitting. Could you keep it a little neater?" Basically Alan Tudyk's "tighten it up" speech from Knocked Up, but with a sleazier accent.

So I complied. I went to my normal place, which happened to be the barber shop in the subway at Columbus Circle, since closed. At this point I had only had my hair cut in subway barber shops in the city. There was a young guy working and I got in his chair, told him to cut it down to 1/2 an inch on the sides & back and a little longer on the top. He trimmed up the sides and without changing the clipper guard zipped right up to the top. "Uh..." I said, knowing we definitely just trampled all over the point of no return.

"Oh shit man, I'm sorry."

"May as well keep going. Just even it all out." He did, and that took quite a bit less time than my usual, though of course I probably could have done it myself and saved $12. If I didn't have the face of a boy and the skull of a baby left on a mountainside to die, I would've been cutting my own hair all along. But I still tipped him. Low-wage workers of the world unite.

So I went from this:

To this:

I showed up at work the next day to many surprised comments from my coworkers. The manager told me that I had not in fact needed to cut my hair and that the assistant manager was, how do you say, talking out of his ass. Karma came around when the assistant manager was fired for trying to seduce a front desk girl who was hired the same time as me, in one of the rooms. She quit shortly thereafter.


Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he's an actor and writer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hostage Crisis

My only company in the room is in a cage on the floor. One bare bulb casts harsh shadows across us. It's quiet. I hear murmurs from the street below; people on the busy sidewalk going about their evenings. They have no idea of the struggle happening here.

I sit across from the cage in the room's only chair, fully dressed in a coat, ready to go at a moment's notice. In five minutes, I will take my ward from his cage and try, once again, to get what I want out of him. This can all be over in an instant, but how can I explain that to someone who doesn't speak my language?

My partner walks into the room. I say "Can you keep an eye on him? I need to get a snack and hit the bathroom." It's been a long day. She nods. We have to maintain constant vigilance if we want to accomplish our goal here. We had no idea this is what we'd signed up for.

In the kitchen I think about what got me to this place. I'd read the books. I knew the principles behind the training. I felt confident. All that confidence can erode in a heartbeat when you face your target for the first time.

That's something you won't learn in a book.

I go back to the chair and switch out with my partner again. I have to be near the cage, but it's important to avoid eye contact. Developing sympathy for the target is the first step on the path to breaking down. I pick up my book and keep him in my eyeline as I read, watching for subtle signs that he's ready to try again. We're walking a fine line between taking him to the edge without pushing him over. We crossed that line yesterday and there was an...accident. We don't like accidents.

Finally I see him becoming restless. "Let's go," I shout to my partner in the kitchen. She gets what she needs as I take the target out of his cage and bind him. We lead him to the designated spot and start this process with which we've become so familiar now. He looks at us, pleading, shivering, but we return his look with uncompromising faces and demand that he follow orders. We just need him to give us this one thing and it will be like this never happened.

This goes on for the longest ten minutes of my life.

It appears this round was for nothing, just like the one before it. I'm about to take him back to his cage when he urinates on the ground. I look at my partner, shocked.

"Good potty Omar! Such a good potty!" We shower him with treats and affection. "Awesome. Let's go watch Saturday Night Live."

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he's an actor and writer.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Movies I've Never Seen #5: R U Invited?

R U Invited?

In which I fully describe the plot of a movie I've never seen and know nothing about, based solely upon its Netflix picture.

The text-speak in the title is a dead giveaway to the plot of this romantic comedy. Hector is an up-and-coming [INSERT QUIRKY ROMANTIC COMEDY OCCUPATION HERE], but golly is he busy! He's been looking forward to this weekend, because it's his monthly super-hetero topless party with all his super-hetero friends. But to keep them exclusive, they send out a location via email the day before. Turns out, Hector has been so scattered at [QUIRKY OCCUPATION; MAYBE, LIKE, ARTISINAL CHEESE SCULPTOR OR SOMETHING], he totally deleted the location!

He spends one crazy night trying to chase down his friends, texting everyone he knows to get into the totally hetero and chill topless party with all his buddies. But rules are rules! Every time he texts one of his friends to get the location, the only response he receives is "R U INVITED?"

What starts out as a mad dash to find his bros and admire their oiled pecs in a totally no-homo way turns into a night that could change Hector's life. Who is the mysterious man who keeps showing up after Hector? Could this adorable girl Hector just met (played by Zooey Deschanel) be The One? Will Hector ever find his friends?

Now, you may be wondering where that tagline "Beauty Isn't Only Skin Deep" comes in. Turns out Hector was dreaming all along. In reality, he's in the year 2023, at a type of party that's all the rage now: Flesh Parties. Taking the adage "beauty isn't only skin deep" a little too far, and having seen one too many "It's Stefon!" reruns (the sitcom that started in 2013 featuring Bill Hader's "Stefon" character), the homosexual community in NYC has taken to flaying themselves to show off the quality of their musculature. Hector was in mid-flay and passed out from the pain. He then dreamed he was in a mediocre movie from 2006.

In a second twist, we learn that the Flesh Party is actually all in the mind of a young autistic boy named Tommy Westphall playing with a snowglobe. Technically, this puts Hector's Flesh Party in the same world as St. Elsewhere, Law and Order, and others.

In a third twist, M. Night Shyamalan is still making movies.