Because of my recurring nightmares about our eight long days working and vacationing in Manhattan, I thought I’d resurrect a story by strict orders from my counselor. She told me it would help rid myself of my semi-hatred for the city and its inhabitants. I’m extremely sensitive. Just ask my family, friends, neighbors, wife or dogs.
After my wife lost her wedding ring within the first twenty four hours of being in New York, I thought the worst of this trip was swept away by the notion that, although the ring represents our loyal relationship, it doesn’t define it. Once recognizing this, I thought the worst of the New York trek ended in our hotel room. Sadly, it didn’t. The worst existed outside our hotel room on our twenty first floor. Twenty one is an unlucky number. Just ask the bartenders twenty one years ago when I celebrated my twenty first birthday.
Following the disappearing ring fiasco, the next day, I thought I’d attempt to to justify my life as a writer by working peacefully in our hotel room. It was a weekday morning, and other than the room cleaning, I thought I’d be quietly left alone. Six or seven sentences into solitude were interrupted by voices outside the room. And, as Dr. Seuss would write about the “Whos in Whoville”, the voices started out low, and then started to grow. These voices were not of English or Australian origin, (the only two languages I speak) therefore, I couldn’t discern what they were saying. Knowing it was none of my business, and not caring in the least about what their conversation may concern, my only wish was for them to decrease their volume. After a minute or two of listening to these voices, which seemed to be located directly outside our room, I could not help but decide that in any language, although beginning as bickering, it had indeed increased to vehement arguing. In my language of origin, when a conversation swings from bickering to vehement arguing, sometimes, it can lead to fighting. And, as predicted, when the abject yelling began, I thought it best just to pack up my computer and head to the lobby where I could find a place to work, because, clearly, our hotel room was not as convenient as I previously imagined.
Walking out of the room, out of curiosity, I did wish to see who was making all the racket. Two doors down, two men, employees of the hotel, AKA, maids, were nose to nose by their cleaning cart screaming what must of been the foulest of foreign obscenities I’d ever heard. At that point, I merely chuckled, turned toward the elevator and noticed a female maid frozen with fear as she watched the spectacle. I then told her she may want to call security. She merely stared, watery eyed, and frozen with fear. I then turned back to the Un-Merry maids only to witness the loudest, fiercest, most solid open faced sandwich slap I’d ever seen. It was ON! Retaliation didn’t come in the form of a slap. Rather, it was a closed fisted smash to the nose, dropping the predecessor to his back. Now, it is me in shock. Here I am, second day in New York City, outside my hotel room, witnessing two fifty something maids, decked out in all their serviceable material glory, cleaning bottles dangling from their holsters like ammonia filled pistols, beating the Holy Hell out of one another. Perhaps it was a Holy War. Either way, this was a brawl. This is when I yelled at the lady to call security. She wouldn’t.
Now, I’ve been told that breaking up a fight can be a silly thing to do, because you may end up with a bottle busted on the backside of your head, depending on who is watching. With this circumstance, I thought I may get a broom handle bashed upside my head, or smothered by a dirty sheet. For all I knew, they could have been fighting over this lady!
I would have just walked away, and told security myself, but the man on top of the other, now rendered helpless by the headshot, continued to beat the man to a point where the bleeding looked a little dangerous. So, instead of physically interfering, I used all my bilingual strength, summoned both my loudest English and Australian languages, and bellowed at the top of my larynx, “THAT’S ENOUGH!” Evidently, they spoke English and the down under tongue as well, because they both stood up and bolted in different directions, leaving a derelict cleaning cart.
My heart was beating far too much at this point. I felt I should have at least been allowed the opportunity to walk down a dark alley in Midtown Manhattan before something like this should happen. Gathering myself, I strolled to the elevator, made it to the lobby without further excitement and talked to the concierge. We never saw the un-merry maids again.
I’d like to tell you we slept well for the rest of the week, but we didn’t. The man next door spent the remainder of our six days in New York throwing up each night as though it would be his last trip to New York, or anywhere for that matter. I would also like to say it’s my last, but I know it isn’t. I’ve watched the Yankees play, but I haven’t seen the Mets. Leave it to baseball to bring me back to Hell.