I came this close to hotel history last night. This close!
It was very slow; in fact I was only dispatched for only one call, though I did pick up one of Lee’s and I stumbled on one of my own, but that was it.
It was not only slow, it was historically slow. So slow, I came within five minutes having a Foot on the Desk percentage of 60 percent.
I am not making that up: 60 percent; the Holy Grail of Foot on the Desk percentages. Four hours and 48 minutes of an eight-hour shift doing absolutely nothing. And that is still with turning in an appropriate number of scans.
I knew I had a shot early on. There was nothing for the first couple of hours, from 2200-0000. Usually, there are a couple-three calls to get your feet wet, maybe a guest assist or minor noise complaint, nothing major; but enough to get you warmed up for your night’s work.
But there wasn’t, and an hour in I was already halfway done with the first round. That sounds normal, but remember, I don’t get to the hotel till about 2210 or so. In fact, I was later than normal because I was farting around with my utility belt in the briefing room. So the first round was actually done in about 45 minutes, which is zipping through it, frankly.
So when I was halfway done with the first round at 2300, I knew I would have to institute extra time-killing techniques. I spent even more time than usual in the 28th-floor maid’s room, which has a chair but not a desk, and in a storage locker in what would normally be room 29-336, which has a real nice chair from the 32nd-floor concierge’s desk.
It was then that I began thinking I had a shot. My previous high was 54.5 percent, and an increase to 60 would be positively Beamon-esque.
The first call came right as I was winding up my first 10-10. I was in the EDR and the call came for Lee about some 404 (unknown trouble) on the 24th floor. Well, there is no reason to send Lee on a call immediately before his hard-earned 10-10, so I told dispatch I was done with my 10-10 and would be happy to take the call. That’s the way we do it in the hotel. Lee would’ve done the same thing for me and – it should go without saying – X-Ray would have as well.
The call was nothing. An older couple was checking out because the man couldn’t handle the odor in the casino. They did not need paramedics and weren’t entirely sure why the front desk had asked for an officer to be sent up and neither was I. I mean, I do have talents, but instant deodorization of the casino isn’t one of them. They were touched by our concern, though.
That was it till around 0500. By this time it was clear I had a shot at the Big Six-Oh. I had spot checked myself around 0315 and again an hour later and checked in at 62 percent both times, so not only was I on pace, but I had a little fudge factor to boot. I was wandering around the 30th floor when I see this older guy walking about aimlessly, almost hitting walls. He was blind and obviously had no clue where he was going. His white cane was flailing futilely.
So I walk up to him speaking louder than I normally would for reasons I am still not entirely clear on. I mean, he’s blind, not deaf. I tell him my name and that I am an employee of the hotel and would enjoy being of whatever service he desired.
He seemed relieved. His English wasn’t great – French was his native language – but eventually, we were able to determine he wanted to go to the elevator, then to the lobby. Ultimately, he admitted what he really wanted was to go to the coffee shop for breakfast.
I told him I would be happy to take him to the coffee shop, and as we were walking through the casino with him on my arm Junior, watching from dispatch got on the horn.
– That is a Hallmark moment there, Henry 1.
– Copy that, sir. I ask only to serve.
We get to the coffee shop and I release him to the very cute hostess Beverly, who takes complete command. She said she’ll call us when he’s done.
That took ten minutes, ten minutes that would’ve been all Foot on the Desk time because I was headed to the 30th-floor maid’s room to put my feet up, but that’s all right. I am there to help guests and if lose the magic 6-0 because I helped a blind guest get to the coffee shop, that’s all right.
But something inside me – call it the instinct all the great ones have if you must – said I was still close. It was time for my last 10-10 and then I head to the office to turn my scanner in and after that it is all Foot on the Desk time, unless you get a call.
And my instincts were right! I sat down in the 24th-floor maid’s room and ran the numbers and it checked in at 290 minutes. I was in with two minutes to spare.
I came that close. It was there for the taking. I was three outs away from a perfect game with three lepers coming to the plate. Assuming I didn’t have any calls the rest of the way, about 25 minutes, I was going to make it. I was knocking on History’s door and was about to break it down. I started preparing my post-shift remarks to the media.
Then, with two outs in the ninth and a 0-2 count on the 27th batter, disaster struck.
– Control, Henry 1.
Holy living fuck! Line drive, center field, base hit, that’s all she wrote because Ted wasn’t radioing me just to say hi. For the record, the call came at 0550, meaning I missed it by five minutes because at 0555 they don’t call Henry 1 anymore because he is on his way back to the office.
– Henry 1, 10-8, sir.
– Yes, sir, welfare check. 31-334. 31-334…
That was it. A welfare check would take the rest of the shift and that would take ten minutes off my Foot on the Desk total, knocking it below 60 percent.
You do not come this close every day. Circumstances like this are once in a career deals and still you’re subject to the whims of fate. Oh well. We gave it our best shot. We knocked on History’s door, and, for whatever reason, History chose not to answer.
Here is your Henry lineup for tonight:
Henry 1 – moi
Henry 2 – Lee
Henry 3 – X-Ray
I’m trying hard not to blame that goddamn blind Frenchman. No time to whine, though. Gotta get back it tonight.