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.
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February 2012

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