Saturday, January 7, 2012

The varying familiarities of when 'tis the season

The fragments of familiarity you find, reminding you of times when 'twas the season in seasons past, seem stronger and more familiar in some places and some faces, but certainly, and sadly, still somehow they’ve become overall more unfamiliar across the board over time. Sometimes so seldom and sporadic do you see the same familiar fragments in their recollected sequence or similar circumstance from when 'twas the season in seasons past, that you can't seem to see them presently, even though presently, in every sense, they are present.

But really, it's just you who’ve been so far away for so long, and then all of a sudden so close. You can only see one petal of one branch of one snowflake, but you’re really in the middle of the snow storm; So far away and then suddenly so close, you've forgotten how to embrace the familiarity of the snow.

So sorry are you to think that essentially, it sounds like you're beginning to succumb to what the doctor would diagnose as the early on-settings of some sort of senility, brought on by a sans-synchronized, or sans-sequential sense-stimulation that would normally form the feelings of familiarity from when 'twas the season in seasons past. That is to say: without some of the reminiscent symbols in the room, or a specific synchronization in sequence of events (a couple branches of the snowflakes, or even a few full flakes of snow) ~ without that, you can't recognize or remember some of the same simple patterns or even sights and sounds that have been there since before you were a sniffling little snot and your older siblings were still adolescents. It's only you who thinks the snow is too unfamiliar to be recognized as what was there every single time when 'twas the season in seasons past, as well as presently present. It's only you who thinks it's unfamiliar.

And quite sadly, such is the case in some circumstances so much so that if something or even some soul who was indeed as familiar as the dreaming-of-a-white-Christmas-Minnesota Snow (the snow that's been present every single season when 'twas the season in seasons past) presented themselves outside of their recollected context, you may not recollect them at all. To you, the returning nomad from the north, they are about as unfamiliar as celebrating the season with someone else’s summertime memorabilia.

But seeing as how you are the sentient being you are, it's hardly sensible for anyone to say that you don't know the difference between something that is actually unfamiliar and something that only seems to be, but is actually a similar circumstance or previous acquaintance from when 'twas the season in seasons past.

You’re damn right, it is.

So what, then was so damn unfamiliar about the place? Was it you? It could have just been you who seem unfamiliar. But no, no, no. The familiarity - familial, friendly and otherwise, was there, no?


There was your family, and that was familiar. Though the family's familiarity, like the familiarities of most families, has evolved. There are new kids running 'round the house, horsing 'round, getting horsey rides, and doing roundhouses.  Your oldest sister's oldest is the boy with reasonable and chronological career aspirations of (1) Marine (2) Astronaut (3) Policeman (4) Cowboy.

Your oldest sister's youngest
and your youngest sister's only
are both cute as buttons,
but their speech is still molding.

The lighthearted hometown hockey game for the old times' sake of old-timers is familiar enough to make you feel at home. The locker room reeks of the layers upon layers upon layers of old sweat that’s been caked into all the pads and straps over several seasons from seasons past. When they’re in the locker room, the fellows are to themselves, bros. In the locker room, they can share beers, and chewing tobacco, pieces of hockey equipment, and foul language.

"Hey, man, you got any extra tape?"

"Sure as shit do. You you don’t got a lace, do ya?"

"Yea, I think I got an extra one in here. Hey toss me one of those beers, wouldja, Olie?"

The familiarity of the fragmented names that get used in hockey games brings you back to your state of familiarity with more than just skates. It’s not uncommon that a fellow’s name is altered by first contracting the surname to its beginning syllable, then adding a suffix to the syllable, like “lie” or “sky” or “o.” Sometimes no suffix is added at all, chopping the name down to one, solid syllable. You could guess all day at why “Johnson” must become “Johns” or “Olson” is “Olie.” Does it make the name easier to yell in a chant? Is it a callback to the way so many NHL players’ names sound (e.g. The Great Gretzky)?

No matter. It was all familiar enough. So familiar in fact that you had a grand old time as a grand old-timer. A few assists, some shots on net, nothin' pretty, bruises to boot. But you played hockey. That's for damn sure.

Did you see all your friends and share a time with them? Well, you knew going into it that there was no way to see everybody. It’s too bad, but you never will be able to have enough time when 'tis the season and you go back to Minnesota, because you're too busy chasing a few of the faint familiarities of times when ‘twas the season in seasons past, and running fast from others.  Why haven’t you got the time to stay longer?

Because the world keeps on spinning,
whether you’re in step with the tune or not.
And past ‘tis the season is only ‘twas the season,
and the season can start to rot.

So if you knew you weren’t going to see everyone then that sensation, having to say goodbye by text without really saying hello, isn't unfamiliar either, is it?

Is it?

What is it, then, that you still think is screaming at you as being there that shouldn’t be, or absent that should be present? What’s your problem? Why can't you see the snow? What unfamiliarity do you think it is that's there that you don't know.

Ladies and gentlemen, 'tis now days past from when 'twas the season, this season last, and there's something the folks should know: The report from Minnesota, the so-familiar state you know, just this last season when 'twas the season, and now: there is no snow.

Sometimes when words are on the page, they can blend in with all the black and white of the other letters, and can subsequently lose some of their impact when perceived only as minuscule parts of a greater, more complicated sum. So you're going to write that one again. You're  going to write it again because you want us all to share with you in the gravity of it. You, especially you, who know us so personally as you do. You can’t lie to us. We’ll know if you’re lying, and you’ll know if we are; and that's why you're going to take the time for the sake of us all to write it again:

Friends, in Minnesota,
the so-familiar state we know,
just this last season when 'twas the season,
and now: there is no snow.

You know you're not lying. You know you saw what you saw. There's no god damn snow on the ground for Christmas in Minnesota. What season is this with the grass growing and showing no snow that you know from when 'twas the season in seasons past?

In 27 seasons when 'twas the season,
at least the 27 that you know,
you've never seen said season
in Minnesota without snow.


Nor have you seen any official documentation that would show said circumstance from seasons past or seasons long ago.

Everyone on the prairie knows just how unfamiliar it is. You can see it in their silent nods and their one-finger waves from their drivers' seats. Nobody's complaining. But they all agree that it seems unfamiliar to have the season when 'tis the season, but to have it without snow.

And you, coming back to the prairie, can't help but feel akin to Augustus McCrae when he came back to the prairie and, for the first time, he realized that the buffalo indeed were gone. Old Gus had heard stories that the buffalo hunters had taken the hides of entire herds and that there was nothing left. But he didn't believe it until he rode on. He saw prairie after prairie packed full of piles of buffalo bones. Bones of entire herds, massacred for their hides, and then left to rot on the big buffalo skeletons, or for the buzzards who could get to the meat before it went rancid. Most of it did go rancid, but whether the meat got used or not, the unfamiliar reality was still presently present to Old Gus: the buffalo were gone.

Ladies and gentlemen, in Minnesota,
the so-familiar state you know,
just this last season when 'twas the season,
and now: there is no snow.

And you hope to God it comes back. But you saw what you saw this season when 'twas the season. And you've never seen a buffalo.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Heavy traffic on the road to an audition

A Hollywood commercial audition is a menacing event. You're in a pool of about 10-30 other folks, all striving for the same position: that position in front of the camera that, sadly, is only going to last as long as there are takes being shot for the commercial. For someone who finds great pleasure in on-camera time, it may actually make sense to flub a few lines, so that there can be more takes and the glorious, high-octane shoot can go on. But don't do that in the audition. In the audition, you've got to be crisp, on-point, astute, alert ... At least if that's the cast-type you're auditioning for.

That's another thing to gauge before going to the audition. What is it that the casting director is looking for in this commercial? If they want some sort of nervous chap who slips and stumbles from word to word, then that's who they're looking for. If you're not that particular bloke, then it isn't any kind of slight against you. It just means that they were looking for cherry flavored and you came to the table with Neapolitan. No hard feelings. Thanks for your audition. We'll let ya know.

Here comes Joe Roos. Fresh off his most recent sabbatical from everything and nothing in particular (he recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications, and had unemployment checks flowing in, while the economy swore it's first receding dash wasn't recession enough), Joe is in the city of Hollywood, California, strolling up to a studio, in response to a call-back for audition ... a real life Hollywood callback.

"Callback" might be the wrong word, but there needs to be some word to describe this next level of the process to which our contestant has ascended. "Audition" gives a correct characterization of the event itself, but it doesn't adequately describe the progressive sequence of events prior to the audition.

You see, in LA and much of the surrounding area, a great number of folks - not everyone, but a great number - are always maneuvering and posturing toward their next potential project, which is hopefully working in the heralded Hollywood entertainment industry. There are a hundred thousand routes to your next project, but much like the clogged interstates in LA, there are some routes that everyone seems to be taking. Unfortunately for those folks on the clogged routes (both on the interstate and in the entertainment industry), the amount of maneuvering that you can actually do on the interstate has very little effect in how far you're going to get. The only thing that will drastically change your situation is when you make it to your off-ramp.

"Callback" is the wrong word, but it's not a complete misnomer, and I'll explain why. If your path that you're choosing is the clogged-interstate, heavy-traffic path, then it goes a little something like this: You go online to this casting site. I'll bet there are a hundred of these sites, but I got the name of this one from an agency (of which there are also hundreds in LA), so I trustingly gave it all the credibility in the world. Much like Facebook or LinkedIn, you've got to set up your profile on this casting site. This profile consists of a headshot, previous projects you've worked on, and your special skills (everything from Irish accents to motocross ability). Nobody gives a shit what degree you do or don't have. Nor do they give a shit where you got it from. There is no information field on your casting site profile labeled, "education." That kind of credential ain't flickin' any switches on this interstate.

Once you're in the system, you start getting casting emails ... About 30-50 per day. The casting emails are from companies who make no bones about their discriminatory policies: they're looking to cast people who meet the age-range, ethnicity, height, weight, and (last, and quite possibly least) skill set that you have listed in your profile. That's why you got the email.

From there, you respond. They make this response process pretty idiot-proof, as I'd imagine they'd need to for some of these aspiring actors and actresses. There are three clicks of the mouse. One is a link from your email. Another is to submit for the part. The third is not always an option, but you can submit clips of your previous work if the casting director has specified that they are accepting those media. There is a field for entering text if you have some information you'd like to share along with your headshot and previous experience. This text field allows for 100 - count them - one hundred characters. Not one hundred words, mind you, but one hundred characters, making the message shorter than any tweet or truncated SMS message ever sent. Make your characters count, boys and girls. Make them count.

After clicking the link on the email for the part, including your submitted media clip that you're paying the casting site $9.95 per month to host, and adding a nice accompanying 100-character note to the submission, then you click "submit." After this, nothing happens. At least for about 94 percent of the time, nothing happens. Yours truly knows, because I submitted to 47 different casting directors over the course of two weeks before one of them told me that I had an audition.

Now that's not a callback, I know. But it's some sort of elevation to be told you have an audition. My headshot, my meager resume, and whatever cute note I added got me an audition. My six years of military experience, combat tour of duty, and college degree all have little torque on this interstate, and these are items that the good ol' casting directors will never know or care about.

But the system works! By George, it works. I submitted, and I got a response for an audition. It's not my off-ramp, which, in this metaphor, I think would be landing the part. It's not even the sign that says my exit is two miles ahead. That would probably be a real callback. But this response and invitation to audition is something akin to those electric-lights signs that tell me my exit is about 24 minutes away, given the flow of traffic. Even though there's more congestion on this interstate than in a pack-a-day smoker's lungs ... traffic is still moving.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Bellboy

You may view me as a vulture. Maybe I am. I certainly do my share of scavenging. I doubt you view me as a friend, but I’ll smile and talk nice to you. Or am I just some hustling, punk kid with a little too much go? Yeah, you’re probably getting warmer with that one. However you view me, the simplicity of our interaction is indisputable: I will acquiesce to your request, and you will give me money.

Call the money whatever you want. Call it a tip, gratuity, your way of saying “thank you.” I don’t care what you call it. Put it in my hand, tell me if you need anything else, and have a nice day.
I’m shuffling my weight from my right foot to my left foot, and then back to my right outside the front door of the Grand Hotel Minneapolis on a cold Sunday night. Underneath the waving flags of the different countries where other Grand Hotels are located, I’m rocking from side to side slowly, with the rest of my body aligned, stiff. I must look like Frankenstein when he walks, except for I’m not making any forward progress.

If I am indeed that vulture, then this is me on my perch, surveying the landscape for some meat. I’ve got the bellman’s black overcoat buttoned shut with my hands deep in the pockets so I can keep myself warm, and so I can hide the goofy, flamboyant, red vest they make the bellman wear.

January snowflakes, the kind I like, the pretty kind with the big clumsy conglomerations of ice crystals that branch out and swirl and twirl and tumble as they fall, are beginning to create a thin layer of white on the sidewalk that could more reasonably be swept than it could be shoveled. The shoveling I’ve already done within the first five minutes of my shift, but I can already tell I’ll be shoveling at least a few more times throughout the evening.

Shoveling is one thing Joel, the evening bellman, the bellman that I relieve, always seems to conveniently forget. Joel is Ecuadorian. He hates the cold. I guess I don’t blame him. I’ve never been to Ecuador, but I can only assume by the name of the country that it’s at least somewhere near the equator, and  that they probably don’t get much snow.

I don’t mind shoveling. In fact, any task I can do to make myself look busy gives me the upper hand when I’m hunting for tips. As soon as the guest approaches me while I’m sweeping, or cleaning the glass doors, that’s my opportunity to blatantly drop what I’m doing and assert my full attention to whatever they need. The desired effect is that they feel so important that reaching into their wallet for the tip money becomes their natural reflex. How could you not tip a poor, hard-working young fellow who only stops his slaving away on a glass door so that he can carry your bags and humor you with his wit? 

I swear if I even smell some action coming my way, I’ll pounce on it. I’m in that mode I get into where I’ve got the charisma of a political candidate and the hustle of a soccer player. A mode worthy of a tip, to say the least.

You’ve got to have charisma and you’ve got to hustle. Otherwise what good is your service? Who wants to tip some guy who’s just half-heartedly doing his job? Who want’s to tip some guy who’s not even in any kind of a mode?

Joel doesn’t need the charm that I need. He’s got it, but he doesn’t need to use it. He plays the ‘I’m-an-immigrant-trying-to-get-a-piece-of-the-American-pie-for-my-family’ role. He jokes with me about how thick he can make his accent when he’s talking to a guest. I can’t blame him. He makes good money with that act. Go with what you know. Go with what works.

As I shuffle my weight from one side to the other, I have a moment of clarity and realize that I’m bursting with too much energy. I’m jittery. I think I drank all that coffee too quickly. Most people don’t slam three cups of coffee at 10:30 at night, but I’ve begun to make a habit of it. It keeps me sharp. It keeps me witty. But really, it just keeps me awake.

The overnight bellman shift, 11 pm to 7 am, pays three dollars more per hour than either of the other two shifts. And if there are a lot of shoes to be shined, or if some celebrities are staying in the hotel, getting drunk and doing blow all night, the tips are just as good as the other shifts. Sometimes better. So I volunteer for the overnight shift. I don’t mind the crazy hours, or the irregular sleep patterns that follow. The money’s good. Damn good if I get in my mode.

Sunday night isn’t usually that big of a night for tips though. Business people who have business meetings on Monday morning in business rooms with their business partners are usually pretty good about minding their own business on a Sunday night.

From 11 to 12:30 the hotel’s dead. After 12:30 I can begin the vacuuming, shoe-shining, brass-polishing and glass-cleaning. The only spark of action I’ll get is if a guest needs something like a late-night sandwich or a cup of tea. It’s tough to gauge if those requests will come in when the shift starts, but historically, Sunday isn’t the best of nights.

In the meantime, I’m posted up at the front door.

I’ve got two scheduled check-ins. They’re probably on the same flight. I’m going to capitalize on both of them. I capitalize by meeting them at the door. I scoop their bags up before they even have a chance to step out of the car. I escort them to the front desk, to the elevator, to their room. I ask them how their flight was and where they’re in from. If I have an idea of another city that’s close to theirs, I’ll lie and say that I have family out that way. Once we get to their room, I’ll present the room to them, tell them where they can find everything, and ask them if they want some ice or if they’d care to have their shoes shined. They’ll say yes or they’ll say no, and then they’ll give me what I want: my tip.

But in order for any of that to happen, I’ve got to catch them at the front door.

“Froant daisk to bailmon, plais. Front daisk to bailmon,” comes crackling in through the radio in my overcoat pocket. Virginia, the overnight concierge and guest services operator is from Malawi. Her accent is so thick that unless you worked with her on a regular basis, you’d have no idea that the transmission coming in on the radio was the front desk calling the bellman. Virginia’s a sweetheart. She works two jobs to support her two children, who are both in elementary school. Her husband died in Malawi.

I pull the radio out of the overcoat pocket and press the button to speak. “Yes, ma’am. What can I do for ya?”

“Rom nomba nine thayatteen wod like a bokat of ice.”

“Mister or miss?” I ask. Not that the gender would make any difference, but I’m to trying figure out if I’ve dealt with this guest before. Virginia knows what I want is the guest’s name.

“Mista Chials Stayvensoan.”

Mr. Stevenson has been in the hotel before, but I can’t remember how he tips.

“Got it. You said 913, right?”

“Thot’s corrayct.”

Mr. Stevenson will get his ice, but the truth is, he couldn’t have asked for it at a worse time. As soon as I pivot on my right foot to grab the glass door handle, I notice a car two blocks down making a right onto 2nd Ave. 2nd is a one-way going the opposite direction of this car. The lane this car is using is reserved. This car is a cab, a Towncar, or some out-of-towner who’s lost in downtown Minneapolis.

If I am a vulture, then it must be my vulture instinct that tells me this is a Towncar.

I step to the curb to try to get a better look at this car. Most cabs are Crown Victorias and I can tell the difference between a Crown Vic and Lincoln Towncar by looking at the headlights. This is definitely a Towncar.

The vehicle begins to gradually slow as it nears the front door of the hotel, and I’m beginning to salivate. I smell money. I can see the passenger in the back seat is a female. I can’t see her face to tell how old she is, but she has healthy hair.  Most women who stay at The Grand do.

In order for me to get my tip, however, she isn’t as important of a player as one would think. I won’t belittle her position. She’s the one holding the money. But if she’s staying at The Grand, then that means she’s got extra money to throw around anyway.

The players in this transaction are me and Faizel, the driver.

Faizel drives a Towncar for the hotel, so I’ve got no worries about fighting him for a tip. Our drivers know the drill. Pull up, pop the trunk and let the bellman take it from there. When vultures work as a team to get their food, they eat a lot better.

The vultures you have to fight are the cab drivers. A lot of cab drivers tick me off because they don’t understand where their work ends and mine begins. They drive the cars. They get their tip based on how fast they get the passenger to where they’re going. I carry the bags. I get tipped based on how comfortable I make the guest feel and how easy I make carrying their bags look. When you get some shmuck cab driver who thinks it’s his job to fight me for the opportunity to get the bags out of the trunk, it’s not good for anyone. He and I both end up looking bad, and everyone’s tip is decreased exponentially. Sometimes completely.

Cab drivers ... If I spoke their language, I’d swear at them.

The car is barely at a complete stop when the trunk pops.

“Attaboy, Faizel.” I say out loud. As I swoop to the trunk, my long coattails whip around me like a Batman cape. I’ve got to make this quick. Mr. Stevenson still needs his ice.

This trunk is a thing of beauty. There are three bags. The two larger suitcases have rolling wheels on the corners of them and pull-out handles. The other bag, one with a shoulder strap, may be carrying a computer. But if it is, then it’s also got a lot of papers in it. Every bag in the trunk has the intersecting, golden letters L and V that reappear in a pattern, complimented by little golden four-petal flowers against a dark brown leather background. Louis Vuitton bags are always a welcome sign. They scream money.

I pull the suitcases from the trunk and they’re a lot heavier than I expected. I don’t know what women cram into their bags before a trip, but whatever it is, this lady’s got a lot of it.

I leap from the trunk to the curb with a bag in each hand and the third over my shoulder. I’ve made it back to the curb in time to open her car door for her. I’m off to a good a start with this one.

As she steps out, she smiles at me. “Thank you,” she says with an uncommon inflection of sincerity.

My God, she’s gorgeous. She’s in her late 30’s or early 40’s and every one of her facial features is jutting and breathtaking. The point of her chin makes a very sharp angle, as well as the curves of her lips, her nose, her cheekbones, her eyelids and lashes. The middle part of her eyebrows that are rounded on most people come to almost a 90-degree angle. The sharpest angle on her whole face, however, is a widow’s peak that’s sharply revealed as she runs her fingers through her dark hair to brush it from her eyes. She’s well dressed with business pants and expensive, leather, high-heeled boots. The coat she’s wearing is black, but has some sort of fur peaking out of the collar that matches her hair color. Her aroma is that of expensive soap and lotion, and it’s just strong enough to momentarily intoxicate me.

Everything about her is so elegant, it’s almost intimidating.

“Good evening, Ma’am. How are you, this evening?” I say with the most devilishly charming grin I can conjure up.

“Well,” she pauses and lets out a quick, but heavy sigh. “It’s good to finally be here, anyway.”

“We couldn’t agree more, Ma’am. We’re delighted to have you.”

“Well, thank you.” She replies with a smirk coming out of the left side of her pointy lips.

I’ve used that line on dozens of these ‘desperate housewives’ looking women, and they all give me a similar reaction, but never exactly the same. Of course, I really am genuinely delighted to have them here. I’m going to get their money.

 “Come on inside, Ma’am. It’s cold out here.”

I do the juggling act of opening doors, while lugging expensive, heavy suitcases. I introduce her to Virginia and wait silently while she checks in. I missed her name because I’ve drifted off, thinking about Mr. Stevenson’s ice. It’s only been about six minutes since Virginia first radioed the request to me, but I still have to take care of Ms. Elegant What’s-her-name before I get to the ice.

While we’re in the elevator, there’s small talk. She’s from Florida. She’s here on business. Yadda yadda.

As we get to her room and I go through the routine, I make sure I do something very deliberately when she gives me the tip. Ever so slightly, and of course innocently not on purpose, I accept the money, but I also let the outside part of her fingertips graze the inside of mine. There is almost something sexual about this, but it’s more basic than that. The touch creates a connection. Once there’s connection, then I’m more than just the cute, young bellboy with flirtatious voice inflections. Now I’m a friend.

This whole subtle but deliberate motion is a set up that she subconsciously has fallen into. Once her hand has grazed mine, and there has been physical connection, I ask, “Could I get you some ice, Ma’am, or anything to make you more comfortable?”

“You know, I think  I would like some ice.”

Sucker. She’s already got a bucket of ice in her room. Some of it may be melted, but unless she’s some sort of raging alcoholic, she’s only going to make one drink.

“I’ll be right back with your ice, Ma’am.”

I dart down the hallway, damn near running. Mr. Stevenson probably isn’t getting impatient, but there’s no need to dawdle.

Mr. Stevenson gets his ice on the ninth floor three minutes later. Two dollars.

Elegant Ms. Pointy Features is on the sixth floor. I get to the sixth floor about two minutes after I leave Mr. Stevenson’s room, and knock on her door. I announce myself, “Bellboy.” I always announce myself the same way, regardless of what I’m bringing to the room. Some of the other bellman will announce what they have. “Ice, Sir,” or “Newspaper,” they say. I say “bellboy” every time. I’m reinforcing the idea that I am a subservient individual. I don’t mind if someone calls me a boy as opposed to a man. I don’t work for a title. I work for money.

Ms. Louis Vuitton Bags gets her ice. Two more dollars from her, on top of the five she gave me when we got to the room. It’s a good thing I made it back to her room before she had time to realize that she already has a bucket of ice. I played that one flawlessly.

When I get back down to the lobby, the last check-in is boarding the elevator to the right of mine. I missed him at the front door. He’s about 30, and aside from appearing very capable of handling his single bag, he looks like he would have been a lousy tipper anyway.

The rest of the night, I complete my tasks. I vacuum, but no one tips you for that. I shine 15 pairs of shoes and make out with 40 bucks. That’s actually pretty good for Sunday night. After that, I clean the glass doors, shine the brass handles and shovel the sidewalk one more time. My next two tasks will be to deliver the newspapers and the morning coffee.

In the kitchen, on the fifth floor, I’m taking a break. The late night sandwiches they leave for the staff are usually pretty good. It’s about 3:45 am.

The crackle of the radio almost overpowers Virginia’s voice as she initiates another transmission. She’s getting tired now, I can tell.  Her voice is low and raspy, and even though she’s saying the same line she always says to get my attention, it’s slower, more fatigued. “Front daisk to bailmon, plais. Front daisk to bailmon.”

“What’s up?”

“I hiov a raiquayst from a guest in foat-teen thayatteen.”

At this time in the morning, 1413 could want anything. My weirdest requests have always been at crazy hours in the morning. They may want some tea, or a late-night sandwich. Who knows. At this hour in the morning, what do you want? Strippers? The newspaper? Do you have a shirt you want ironed? Is there a drunken guest in the hallway you want me to remove because he keeps banging on his fiancĂ©’s door, and she won’t let him in? Do you need a Towncar immediately? A bucket of ice?

It doesn’t matter what they want. When you’re at the Grand Hotel Minneapolis, you can have it, because I’ll get it for you. You just need to make sure you tip well.

The simplicity of our interaction is indisputable: I will acquiesce to your request, and you will give me money.