It Simply Didn’t Matter … Back Then
I’ve had the following Incredible Insights bouncing around in my head for several years. Best to get them permanently lodged into The Cloud for generations yet unborn.
The purpose of today’s musings is not to bore you with My Adventures… BUT for YOU to either (1) identify with… or (2) be thankful that your Life has been so much different.
Prior to becoming “The Internet Legend” I had a real Life and a real Job with bosses and co-workers and all the corporate mundanity that involves. Looking back, all that was simply “fodder gathering”. In the 70s-80s- and early 90s the whole “Internet Legend” thingy was non-existant. There was no Internet. … (Insert your own AlGore joke here? Those are sooo trite.).
No one said “Look out when you’re around BobLee. He’s taking notes for some day when he is a famous Internet Legend.” It is quite possible – likely – that many/most of the folks I interacted with back then still don’t know what ever became of me. A precious few like “Princess Fairmont” do; but most lost touch with me just as I lost touch with them.
For almost twenty years I was in the Big Time Fancy Hotel bizness. We’re talking Big Ol’ Fancy Hotels with 800-1000 rooms and about as many employees in major metropolitan cities all across the Fruited Plain – Kansas City – Dallas – San Antonio – Boston – White Sulphur Springs – et al. Companies with names like Hyatt and Sheraton and Fairmont and Western International (Westin) and The Greenbrier.
About 3-4 years into those 20 I realized that while I really enjoyed certain aspects of “the hotel bizmess” I REALLY didn’t like Corporate America much at all. Plus, I had diverted into a sub-specialty of “the hotel bizness” that had only tangential “to do” with what appealed to me about “big fancy hotels”. What “success” I achieved from that point on was in spite of “the quiet desperation that the masses of men” supposedly lead lives of…
The #1 Best Job ON EARTH – if $$$ was not a factor – is “Night Manager” (11 pm – 7 am) at a Big FancyHotel. It’s More Better than “Vice Cop”. The More Big Fancy the Hotel… the More Human Bizarros you’re gonna encounter just about every night. If I can’t “come back” as an MLB Umpire… that’s what I wanna be.
In Las Vegas or Dubai … OH WOW!
OK… you charge by the hour so let’s get to today’s Topic – It Simply Didn’t Matter… Back Then.
For those twenty years in those 5-6-7 locations around the country with all those co-workers both within my specific sector as well as throughout the hotels … AND the many thousands of guests I interacted with …
I never knew the political persuasion of A Single One… and no one knew mine.
It Simply Didn’t Matter … Back Then.
There were CHARACTERS as there are in every business office / establishment. I watch sit-coms like The Office or WKRP or Mary Tyler Moore or Seinfeld or… or… and see exact replicas of Carey Swope … or Pat Wyatt … or Linda Pearce … or Ben Yeakley … or Mike Stajel … or Pedro Prado … or Nancy Fagin … or Frank Brown … or Connie Pion … or
Kevin “Zero” McGee… Bellman at The Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City… “Zero” had memorized EVERY line of dialogue from every Marx Brothers movie. “Zero” likely has left this mortal coil. I bet Zero’s “leaving” was memorable.
I would tell “Kid” as she was matriculating thru each stage of her Life Education to take note of the various personalities she was encountering… how she interacted with them… how successful that interaction was to her objective at the time… BECAUSE…
There are only so many “types” and, after awhile, almost everybody will remind you of somebody somehow. Consult your records for how to / or not to deal with that “type”.
The exception – That Character Unlike Any You’ve Ever Met Before – is THE only possible reason to endure the sheer agony of social interaction.
Going back further than my adult work experiences… in college I never knew or cared about anyone’s “political persuasion” nor they mine.
You know where I matriculated – UNCCH -and it’s OVERT Political reputation NOW. “Back in the day” it was not overt at all. If anyone ever talked about elections or candidates or political views it was not in my presence. Sure there were student political groups but those were for “nerds” who wore ties to class and ran for student government offices.
30+ years after college I began reuniting with old acquaintances and it got a little dicey. One fellow that was one of my closest friends in college … and I had totally lost touch with him … we somehow reconnected and agreed to meet on a Kenan Saturday. This was in the Clinton / W Bush Era … before Obama and waaaay before Trump. I don’t recall who said what about what, but we both seemed to realize “UH OH” … “He’s changed in the past 30 years!”. YA RECKON.
Our halcyon college days of yore remain halcyon but neither of us saw any reason to “reconnect” beyond the polite – “Man, it sure was great to get together again. Lets (not) stay in touch…!” … and we haven’t. Bre’r Kennell and a handful of others more than fill my modest quota.
Getting back to those twenty years when I was a corporate nomad either being transferred or answering a headhunter’s siren song… I worked daily with a lot of different people in various parts of the country and – thinking back on certain ones at certain times in certain places – I cannot guess what ANY of their “politics” were then … or might be now.
OK… the ones that were “kinda odd” and “socially awkward”… maybe I can guess what fork in the road they probably took. Wink… wink.
As in any office environs, there were people I “liked” and others I “tolerated” because you kinda have to in most office situations. The usual “stew” of personalities that tumble out of any office tree you shake. I am confident that I left a similar wide spectrum of memories with them. But those differences had nothing to do with “politics”.
The fancy hotel bizness has always had a certain appeal to “the gay stereotype”. I don’t know why. Thinking back to each hotel I was with… there were “gays and lesbians” among the 800-1000 employees at which one. I don’t recall any “issues” or harassment or snide remarks. Not being “gay” maybe I was unaware of it if there was.
I did witness a fascinating ethno-racial situation in the late 70s. The “boat people” were arriving from Viet Nam etc. The unskilled entry level positions in a hotel are in Housekeeping. Housekeeping staffs tended to be largely AfricanAmerican back then. As VietNamese, Cambodian, Thai , Asians etc were hired in Housekeeping positions, they would refer their relatives. Much like Hispanics and Koreans do.
These new workers had a different “work ethic” than their predecessors. They were more reliable… took more pride in their work… had fewer issues with co-workers… etc. I’m not a workplace psychologists so I don’t know why … but Asians soon replaced Af Ams in most hotel Housekeeping Depts.
Then one of’em (Asian) discovered the opportunities in the mani-pedi Nail Salon business and they all left to do that. Indians (Patels) took over the roadside motel bizness. “Why” of stuff like that fascinates me.
I’ve been out the hotel biz for 25+ years. Don’t know which ethnic demographic fills hotel Housekeeping Depts these days. Maybe its otherwise unemployable Millennials with Gender Studies Degrees ??? Nah … that work is way too hard for them.
.Do you recall “the politics” of your co-workers in the 70-80-early 90s. Which, coincidentally was well before the creation of Social Media …