Vail Daily column: Dude, where’s my room?
For those of you who think I get paid the big bucks to spit these columns out, I need to clarify. I am a worker in the resort industry like most of the workers in Happy Valley, and I don’t get paid the big bucks to do that, either.
Because of my glamorous position in the “Can I help you?” industry, I’m qualified to say, “Just when you think you’ve seen it all … ”
This is a story about an on-call manager (someone who feels important in the beginning and ultimately has only one responsibility, to answer the phone when no one else will).
On this particular evening during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, things were quiet in spite of the millions of guests who descended on our valley. (Maybe a slight exaggeration. The numbers have not yet been released.) The phone rings in the apartment of the on-call manager at 3 a.m. and the voice on the other end is almost translucent (wasted).
“Heeey … hey maan … how you doin’ tonight?”
I respond with a matter-of-fact tone (pissed off), “Great, just finished a movie four hours ago.”
“Heeey, that’s cool. My shower is frickin’ goin’ craaazy maan. Like, I need some sleep. Have a early golf game. Do I call you to make it stop?”
“I’ll be up in 10 minutes. I need to grab a screwdriver. What room are you in?”
“Ahhh, dude, I don’t effin’ know. Let me look at the door.” He drops the phone and I hear him tripping over some shoes, bar stools and a boarder boot. He stumbles to see where he is staying tonight.
He comes back and starts to speak into the ear piece. “You there man, you there? Ahhh, man, hold on the effin’ phone is backwards. It’s 502, and I think the door is open.”
“I’ll be right up.”
I’m sure he left the door ajar intentionally in order to conserve energy as he fell forward into the hide-a-bed sleeper in the living area. When I arrived, the lights were on and I could not help but notice he was a large man wearing only whitey-tighties. It was a visual I did not care to see or remember. I looked away quickly, picked up the phone, which was part of a yard sale on the floor, and continued toward the bathroom. The shower was running, all right. I could hear it.
I entered the space and pulled the curtain back. It was a shock to get that wet so quickly. The water was spraying toward the ceiling, the opposite wall and me. The shower handle had been pulled out of the tile and was dangling and spinning as if it were alive. I looked at my screwdriver and thought, “I’m gonna need more tools.” I walked quickly past the man lying in an unconscious state in his whitey-tighties and asked, “How the hell did this happen?”
He never lifted his head but mumbled, “I think it was like that when we got here, dude. My roommate knows.” I didn’t care to begin the investigation this late in the evening, but did mention that he and his roommate checked in three days ago.
I turned off the main water valve servicing the unit and explained to the corpse on the sleeper sofa, “You will have no water in the a.m. Not for a shower, a toilet or for cooking. Do you understand? Call the front desk in the morning to make some arrangements. Do you understand?”
“Arrgaeffenaaah … ”
He did call the front desk at 8 a.m. and told the agent, “Some dude came to my room last night and turned off the water. I need a toilet. Don’t make me write a bad TripAdvisor review.”
Our sterling agent (who was aware of the situation) calmly directed him to the fitness room “while repairs were being made to the $300 shower valve that mysteriously fell through the tile.”
“This is unacceptable. I want to talk to the manager.”
Incredibly, the parts that had been destroyed were purchased locally and were replaced while my new friends were out knuckle dragging in the morning. The whole job would have been done except for the fact the kitchen faucet handle had been broken off as well. (The housekeepers noticed it when they came in to clean up the mess everyone else had made.)
They returned as I was just crawling out from beneath the kitchen sink after installing a new $240 Kohler faucet and he (whitey-tighties with tattoos) said “You still here?”
“I had to replace the kitchen faucet. It was broken as well.”
He looked at his buddy and said, “Damn, dude, the place is falling apart.”
Greg Ziccardi can be reached at email@example.com.