linden_jay: (Get Fuzzy- Dear Lord Make it stop)
[personal profile] linden_jay
So there was going to be sleep, and then there were babies, and then there wasn't sleep and now I'm going to toss out some of the last of the thinky thoughts that I had relating-but-not-really to the contents of my last post.

That wasn't in any way a coherent sentence, was it? Imma try again. This is tangential. It's definitely a rant. And it's about something that's very much a side note in this whole discussion that's been going on. But it's making my brain do seething, and that's not good for my blood pressure, I'm pretty sure, so I'm gonna try and see if I can make it make sense.

This is one of those things that I'm sure for most of the people that I know is just common sense. In fact, it outright says on the S&P for Wincon that people are not to be douches toward hotel staff (okay, maybe they didn't put it exactly like that, but still). Tip your bell-people and the housekeepers. Be polite to the front desk staff, especially if you're asking them for things. Don't be loud and obnoxious. Don't describe Two Girls, One Cup in the lobby of the hotel, right across from the group of little old men and ladies from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Daughters of Rebekah who are checking in for their own convention. Don't drink in public spaces where drinking is not permitted.

And do you know why? Because when you don't? The person whose life you make difficult is me. Yeah, I work in a hotel. I've done it before, at a major hotel and convention center, and now I'm doing it again. And for as much as people talk about contacting hotel security and all that, once the clock hits about midnight, in a lot of places, the only security to speak of? Is me. The lone night auditor, settled in behind the front desk, watching the security cameras, patrolling the halls and the grounds, and praying to whoever's listening that this isn't gonna be the night that someone does something that puts them at risk.

I'm referring to how things work in Canada, so it might not be like this in the USA, but with the current economic state of things, with people decreasing staffing all over the place, I'm willing to bet that it's more likely than not. One person, all alone at night, the go-to and point person for anything and everything that happens in the hotel.

Wanna know how we make sure that nothing bad in my company, since I work for a chain, and we're all alone at night? The hotel in the town over from mine calls me, once every two hours. They call me, and confirm that I'm okay. I call the town south of mine, and confirm that they're okay. They call the next one, and the next one, and the next one. We keep each other safe with an every two hours telephone version of the lighting of the beacons from Lord of the Rings. Or the twilight bark, if you're more a fan of 101 Dalmatians.

I've talked to night auditors who've had things thrown at them by drunk and rowdy guests who've been asked to quiet down. I've talked to night auditors who've taken punches, who've been backed into corners, who've been trapped in elevators. And just the other night, I took a plunger up to a guest who called for one, and he answered the door in nothing but his boxers. I don't think I took a deep breath until I got back down to my station, behind a locked door. I know that it wasn't until then that I realized that my hands were shaking.

If people are getting rowdy in a room, and guests start calling my desk to complain? I don't have back up. I'm it. And if a phone call to the rowdy room doesn't get people to quiet down, I have to go up there. I have to walk up to a room where people are drunk and noisy, bang on the door, and ask them to be quiet. I don't know what's going on in there. I don't know who's in the room. It's not like you have to complete a criminal record check in order to stay at a hotel.

It's bad enough being afraid when someone calls down from a room in the middle of the night and asks me to bring them towels or pillows or a plunger, and I have to knock on that door with my heart in my chest hoping that they're not luring me up there for some other reason because they know damned well that I'm alone. It's even worse when I have to walk into a situation that's already loud and rowdy, that's already got people who aren't operating with a full deck.

So, maybe that's why this whole situation has infuriated me even more than it would have anyway. Because when I read [livejournal.com profile] thenyxie's con report, and it was all oh ha ha, the hotel staff are having to tell us to be quiet, but we didn't listen because we're having so much fun and we're so edgy, I just... had a really hard time not saying fuck you right in the ear.

I'm not afraid to knock on that door because I don't have agency, or because I don't know how to stand up for myself. I'm not afraid because I don't have personal responsifuckingbility. I'm afraid because I'm a woman, and I can't lock my vagina up at the desk to keep it safe before I go up to tell people to politely shut the fuck up. It has to go with me, wherever I go, because that's the body I have, and the world that I live in.

And I know that a lot of this really should be obvious, right? I think so. Except that if I've learned nothing else it's that sometimes what's obvious to most people isn't obvious to everyone. So. Like I said--rant. Hopefully somewhat clear. And hopefully if there is anyone out there that this isn't obvious for, they might think about that next time they laugh when they're partying it up in a hotel room all loud and rowdy, laughing when they're asked to be quieter, and ignoring the person who's just come up to knock on their door, heart in their throat, hoping that whoever's behind the door is just rowdy and not dangerous.

Date: 2010-05-12 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nilchance.livejournal.com
I'm afraid because I'm a woman, and I can't lock my vagina up at the desk to keep it safe before I go up to tell people to politely shut the fuck up. It has to go with me, wherever I go, because that's the body I have, and the world that I live in.

This. This so very much. I'm sorry this is what you have to deal with, and I have a lot of respect for you for speaking up.

Date: 2010-05-12 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Thank you for commenting, and thank you for linking. A lot of times, I really like this job. And sometimes, I really, really hate it. Because there are all sorts of things that the male night auditors never even have to think about, and I have to think about them all the time.

Because... yeah. I have a new tag, and it's 'my vagina travels with me'. Because it does. I don't get to leave it behind, and all the personal responsibility in the world won't change that.

I remember a story my dad told me once about how my aunt, his sister in law, was going on and on about how if someone ever tried anything with her she'd do this, and she'd do that, and boy, he'd be sorry, and women need to be Strong and Tough and Take Care of Themselves and if they don't, boy howdy, it's their own fault. My dad grabbed her (gently), pinned her to the ground, held her there and said okay. Now what? And she said that he 'didn't warn her that he was going to do that'. That she 'wasn't ready'. Um. Doesn't work like that, does it? The bad people aren't all wearing black hats and signs saying that they're going to hurt you. And all the preparation and personal responsibility that exists won't protect you from the element of surprise. Because this is the body I live in, and these are the parts it comes with.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kristinholt.livejournal.com
Yesssss, this is it in a nutshell. There's not too many fuckers out there that I'm afraid of, but I'm not exactly small and petite. But I'm always afraid of what I don't know aobut said fuckers. A gun or a knife or a taser or god only knows what else will equalize every ounce of bluff I own.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Yup. And my dad, he's an only boy, with three sisters, who married a woman with two sisters, and then had only girls. He taught us how to throw a punch, he taught us not to take shit, and he taught us that we were just as capable as any guy out there. Which we liked up until it extended to not getting out of mowing the lawn or something.

But he also taught us that sometimes, the world sucks. Sometimes being empowered and strong isn't enough. And he also taught us that we'd always be believed, and that if anyone did do anything like that, it was never, EVER our fault.

Date: 2010-05-12 04:24 pm (UTC)
wolfshark: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wolfshark
You don't know me, but thank you for saying this!

Date: 2010-05-12 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Thank you for commenting and coming by. You're very welcome to be here.

Date: 2010-05-12 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] floranna.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for saying this.

Date: 2010-05-12 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Thank you too, for coming by. Words are good, when they're used for good. I hope that they're helping.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] weesta.livejournal.com
Very interesting perspective. Thank so much for speaking up - I think this is something we can all stand to hear.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Thank you for listening. I figure that (most) people know that, y'know, not being a dick is a good idea. But I think that sometimes there are sides that people maybe haven't fully considered. So I hope this helps. And thank you for coming by.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabrinagb.livejournal.com
You are the ever the eloquent woman and I'm going to take your new tag and make it one of my own. *hugs*

Date: 2010-05-12 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
*hugs you right back*

You are very welcome to my tag! Because yes. Our vaginas travel with all of us. That's just how it works.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabrinagb.livejournal.com
So much word on that. We can't leave them behind to keep them safe...all we can do is do our best to be vigilant and hope the rest of the world respects that it is ours and deserving of safety and respect, too.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wtfbrain.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for this. I, too, work the night audit in a hotel in Canada, and admittedly, the people in our hotel are more likely to be middle aged people traveling with a tour group (I live in Banff), but we do get the occasional weekend rowdies. I've had to deal with drunken guests, with having to knock on the door and remind people that ffs, it's 3am, so be quiet, etc. So far, I've been very lucky - in the almost five years I've worked here, I've maybe had to call the cops 5-6 times, and most of the time, everything was handled quickly and quietly.

But I have had times when there was a noisy room and I just couldn't bring myself to knock on the door, because I could hear the guy yelling at the girl, and then when the thumping noises started, I just went back to the front desk and called the cops, because I was afraid of what might happen if I knocked on the door and someone came at me. And this is where what you've said comes in - people might look at me and see me as "the night auditor," someone who is in a position of sort of authority, or they might see me as "just a girl," who can be disrespected and treated like shit because, after all, she's "just" a girl. And all the "I think I can take care of myself" in the world won't help if someone's truly determined to do something bad, and so many of the people involved in this argument just don't get that.

I'm rambling, and probably not making a lot of sense, but again, thank you for saying this.

Date: 2010-05-12 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Night auditors unite, man. And you are making all kinds of sense, trust me.

The guy who trained me when I was hired is this big, giant, fuck off fella. And he's telling me about how part of my job will be to patrol the parking lot and make sure that no one's doing anything untoward to the cars, or hanging about and loitering. And I went 'mm hm', and 'uh huh' and then I asked him 'so... in this instance that someone is breaking into a car, or being drunk or disorderly, or hanging out in the parking lot... exactly what do you expect me to do about it?' And he said 'well, I just yell at them and tell them to get away from here and blah blah blah'. Well, of course you do. You're Jared Padalecki's Canadian cousin, as far as build and size go. But me? Not so much. So I'm not gonna do it, and you can't make me.

And I just don't see why people don't understand this. I will never understand, because it seems like such easy math, and yet apparently not. People who do bad things are the ones who did something wrong. Not the person who got the bad thing done to them. Ever. This is kindergarten math.

(And now you're making me nostalgic for Banff, darn it! I want to go back!)

Date: 2010-05-13 11:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wtfbrain.livejournal.com
My dad always told me "never start a fight, but if you can't avoid it, make damn sure you finish it: hit hard, hit fast, and keep hitting until they're on the ground, not moving." That's obviously an extreme way to look at things, and, well, I probably wouldn't be able to get away with it at work. But even if I was willing to do something like that, it's just not enough. Because sometimes all it takes is a few words, or even just a look, and all the confidence I like to think I have is just gone, pfft, fizzled away. And sometimes, even saying "no" or leaving, or taking "personal responsibility" (ugh, I hate that phrase so much these days, because it's such bullshit, and the implicit "if you don't do it *this way, it's your fault if something bad happens to you" is such a hateful thing, and don't get me started on the protests of "oh, no, that's not what I meant, how dare you infer things from my hateful screed blaming women for the bad things that happen to them that I blame women for the bad things that happen to them, don't put words in my mouuuuuuth!") won't be enough, because really, how can it?

Every post I see on my flist that mentions harmonyfb's post just makes me angrier and angrier, because I stopped reading the comments on it a couple of days ago, but then I click on it again, and there's even more bullshit in the comments, and it just makes me so fucking *furious that she just doesn't see how much she's hurting people (oh, but being made uncomfortable and having your feelings hurt is not a crime, so it's not like she's doing anything *bad to them, right?), no matter how many people tell her straight to her face that yes, you are hurting people, and yes, you are a HORRIBLE person for saying this shit.

I hear all these horror stories about the stuff people working night shifts in hotels have to put up with, and it just reminds me how lucky I've been in this job. This hotel's not perfect, and my job is by no means perfect, but compared to some of the stories I've heard from night auditors here in town, it's a cakewalk. Oddly enough, it's the rooms full of women that are more likely to give me trouble (well, verbally, at least, because apparently asking people to keep their voices down when it's 3am and they're loud enough that I can hear them from two floors below just means I'm being a bitch)...

And I'm rambling again, and I apologize for the long comment, but apparently I have ~*~feelings on this subject? :D

Also, Imma add you, hope you don't mind...
Edited Date: 2010-05-13 11:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-13 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Considering the amount that I ramble, no one ever has to apologize for a long comment in my journal! I should make that a rule somewhere....

But yeah. My dad told me similar stuff, as far as not starting fights, but being sure to finish them. He also did realize that sometimes you don't have a choice. He's a truck driver, worked physically his whole life, and when he was around twenty, he was waiting for someone in his car, and some guys came by and dragged him out of the car by his hair, through the window, and beat the shit out of him. Why? One of their friends had passed out in an alley, someone had pissed on him, and they decided, for whatever reason, that my dad was the one who'd done it. Big, strong guy, worked on a farm, got his ass well and truly kicked. No one can prepare for the element of surprise combined with someone deciding to be violent.

And do you know the other thing that isn't being taken into consideration with this personal responsibility nonsense? It's the part that comes afterward--after you take personal responsibility. The part where even if it goes WELL, you usually get laughed at, mocked, made to feel like a bitch for saying anything because GOD, I was just kidding around, what's wrong with you, blah blah blah. In the post before this one, I talk about an incident I had with a guy in university. I saw him two years afterward, and he mocked me. And you know what? That sucks.

I've been lucky too, so far. But I also work at a hotel that caters to groups, and sports teams. So yeah, that's always fun. A bunch of hockey players, all excited they just won a game/pissed off that they lost. Gonna be a fun winter.

Add away! I added you back.

Date: 2010-05-12 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com
I am always concerned about the hotel staff in general because I'm well aware of what kind of job that is. No need to be dicks when the staff are just people like us.

It sucks that you have to feel threatened IN YOUR JOB, though, which is a completely different issue than the fact that I am a firm believer in tipping service workers.

Date: 2010-05-12 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
And believe me, from working in hotels, we're totally willing to go all out for people and make their convention experience a good one, because we get that people are there to enjoy themselves and have fun. It takes so little to not be a dick, really. And it's the little things that make my job so, so much easier.

But yeah... sometimes, the job really sucks. Most of the time, I really like it. It lets me work at night, which is great for an insomniac, it lets me be home during the day with my babies. But it does suck that there are times when I feel afraid. And it sucks more that there's not much that can be done about it.

Date: 2010-05-12 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com
And it sucks more that there's not much that can be done about it. Except maybe eating some uranium to grow a superpower.

Date: 2010-05-13 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bkm5191.livejournal.com
I don't know what it is about th 'vacation' mindset that makes people think they can act like this.

What happens in vegas happens to the PEOPLE who live in vegas, they don't have the luxury of it being a once in a while thing.

Also Im horrified that your hotel doesn't have at least two staff members at night, that is disgraceful.

Date: 2010-05-13 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
What happens in vegas happens to the PEOPLE who live in vegas, they don't have the luxury of it being a once in a while thing.

THIS. Lord, so much this. It's all very well and good that you're on vacation, but some of us are at work, and being a dick is just, well, dickish.

Most of the hotels I know of don't. I mean, I'm at a 4 and a half star hotel. One person at night. Surprises me too, to be honest. Yay economy.

Date: 2010-05-13 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spazzer-mctwich.livejournal.com
hi, you don't know me but so much word for this. i used to work at the front desk of my Dorm during the night shift on weekends. i was all by myself a the front desk but the Dorm supervisors living quarters was not far off. Even know if i screamed i could get back, and know how to fight cause i was raised by a bunch of female cops it would still scare the crap out of me when drunk guys bigger than me would stagger in. I can't imagine doing something like that without having anyone near by to respond if i started hollering for help.

Date: 2010-05-13 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
New people/random people are always welcome here, so Hi and thanks for coming by.

I hear you. And sometimes it doesn't matter if there's someone within yelling range... it still sucks to be made to be afraid.

Date: 2010-05-13 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] graceandfire.livejournal.com
I was led here by a link and I just felt compelled to thank you for your articulate comments and to say, hell yes (heh, not an articulate response but a gut reaction one). I'm in Hawaii which is a very tourist oriented place and so I have a lot of friends who work in different areas of the hotel industry and my brother used to be a bellboy/room service waiter at a Sheraton for several years. So I'm trained (well, and hopefully general human courtesy just makes this automatic although I realize sometimes it does not) to tip well and be thankful and appreciative of the kindness and professionalism of hotel staff.

But I have never thought about the scary aspect of being a woman at night in a hotel. I think because I've always had the mindset that there are big burly security guards waiting in the wings to be your minions/protectors. And, wow, yes it sounds scary as hell if this is not the case; having to go into unknown situations with no back up.

All I can say is, again, thank you for articulating your thoughts and sharing.

Date: 2010-05-14 06:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
Hell, yes is perfectly appropriate in this context, I think. I'm glad that you've been well trained for how to behave and act around people in hotels. I'm learning that sometimes even the things I think are obvious aren't.

But yeah. Honestly, the majority of night auditors are men. And it's because of this reason exactly. Most women don't want to be alone in the hotel at night. I don't really want to be either. But right now, working nights is the only way that I can make money, and be there for my kids during the day, so... it's how it works.

No burly security guards. Not even at my four and a half star hotel. It makes a big difference when you have to approach every situation knowing that you're it.

Thank you for coming by. I'm always curious how people find their way to posts like this, and people are always welcome.

Date: 2010-05-14 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tenaciousmetoo.livejournal.com
Another amazing post. Thank you for this one, too. How much I've missed by walking in circles around you without actually clicking in...(you're FOF of many I know, so I've seen you around for a long time). Well, at least I've fixed that oversight now.

I wish all people would think before they act. Or speak. Or, you know, live a considerate life. Really not too hard to do.

Date: 2010-05-14 06:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linden-jay.livejournal.com
You're very welcome--and I'm stealthy! I pick my moments to get wordy, and I'm way too shy about giving feedback or commenting. This is just one of those situations that made me decide not to be quiet.

You wouldn't think it would be that hard, would you? And yet. But the more people keep talking like this, maybe the more we can all learn from each other. I keep hoping so anyway.

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