Sunday, April 3, 2011
A World a Day: Night Houseman
He worked the ten pm to six am shift as a night houseman for a 'residence inn.' The Marriott was a cluster of buildings that looked like apartments but functioned as a hotel. Every Sunday and Monday night his job was to handle everything that didn't involve the front desk.
The night had its own rhythms and eventually he would learn them all. Everything that happened shone in his mind, framed by the stars and the chill of the after dark. He remembered the room full of seven foot tall bearded African men who garnered a noise complaint simply by speaking gently in their everyday bass rumbles, the 5 am deliveries of inadequate woefully tea to the Indian professors and the 10:30 rounds to kick sexually frustrated teenagers out of the bubbling, grope obscuring Jacuzzis.
Every shift, he filled the laundry room with hard rock and DJ blather. Since he'd never heard of an MP3 player, he stuffed his backpack with his much abused laptop and carted his music around as he replaced towels and emptied the bathroom trash. He started to write at night, whenever he managed to sit still and stay awake.
When morning came, he'd walk past the blooming waffle buffet back towards his dorm, trudge the grass and asphalt hills in a liminal state. Deprivation made every bit of experience thrum with meaning that would be lost later, after he got some sleep. Bird song filled every dawn. He wondered if they kept singing all day street noise would drown them out the rest of the daylight hours.
Two months after he quit, one of the other security guards that worked his shift would be shot breaking up a party.