My first graveyard shift at the new hotel.

I had a post topic scheduled for tonight, but all day I’ve been having trouble finding my way to a good place for writing. Instead of agonizing over that for the next hour, I’ve decided to do something different — I’m going to post short, hourly updates of what’s going on here, at my sorta-seedy hotel / rooming house, on a cold, October, Friday night.

I’ve been working here for about a month now, I guess, but my shifts have mostly run from five in the afternoon to midnight or one o’clock. Once a week, I work first shift, from nine to five. I came here knowing, though, that I would be doing some overnights. Tonight will be my first. Yesterday I was told that tonight I would be working from midnight to 9a. When I stopped by to pick up my check this afternoon, however, my boss asked me to slide the whole shift a couple of hours earlier, so I came in at ten o’clock.

In the ten o’clock hour ~
My boss was filling me in on what special tasks I need to do during my shift, when he was called away from the desk for a moment. One of the roomers (Rick) sidled up to the desk and – from the corner of his mouth – whispered, “Everything’s all changed now. Look over there.”

I looked in the direction he nodded. A new monitor was glowing from the niche where the television had been on Wednesday when I last worked. The monitor’s screen is divided into 16 blocks, each showing a section of the hotel. (Including the area where I am sitting and typing at this exact moment.) Security cameras have come to my work.

I have started some laundry, counted the cash drawer and straightened the desk. Now I wait until after 3:00 am before I can go actually fold what looks like a ton of laundry. (My boss wants me present at the front desk until then.) Rick the roomer is sitting in the lobby, not doing much of anything. (There’s no TV; he isn’t reading.)

In the eleven o’clock hour ~
A young blond man came to the desk and growled at me. Well, actually his dog growled, but at the time I didn’t know that. (I’d forgotten we allow pets in this hotel.) It turns out the dog (he looked like a lab/pit) was angry not with me but with Rick. He stood stiff legged, with his hackles raised and a deep continuous growl rumbling in his barrel chest, staring at him. It was almost a hunting dog’s point. Rick never looked up. I made a new key for the blond guy. I trust dogs. I’ll pay more attention to Rick’s whereabouts from now on.

Since I’ve come in, I’ve made several replacement keys, and given one female guest an extra ash tray. Now I’m going to start catching up on my blog reading.

In the midnight hour ~
Nothing. Phone rang once. I set a wake up call. The guy from earlier walked his dog. (Now that Rick’s gone up to his room, the dog walked through the lobby without making a sound.) I moved a load of laundry and patrolled the halls to check for noise. That’s it.

In the one o’clock hour ~
The phone rang. A guy wanted to know if we rent rooms by the hour. (No.)

I moved a load of laundry. (The folding pile is getting bigger and bigger.) When I work the evening shift (5-1) I try to get most of the laundry done for the overnight guy. My boss did not do that. Still, the only real difference, then, is that I have to fold everything I normally fold at one time, rather than as I finish loads. I cleaned the lint screen. (Boring, I know, but I think it matters for this next bit.)

When I got back to the office I looked at the security monitor. The camera in the laundry room has night vision mode, which I think is cool. As I watched that section of the screen, I noticed LOTS of little white lights / blobs / orbs flying around. I’m gonna go with lint as the explanation, for the time being.

A few people have come and gone, but most of them don’t seem to need anything from me. A girl with manga-red hair stopped by the desk to drop off her key, but said, “He is still in the room, and he’s staying.”

I just took a good look at the laundry room on the monitor. No orby things. So lint then.

In the two o’clock hour ~
Nothing. I cleaned the counters in the coffee area and stocked up creamers and such. I cleaned the glass in the doors. I’m getting tired, so I ate a candy bar and had a cigarette. It’s incredibly cold for mid-October. Almost time to start folding.

Hey! Something happened. A man checked in, then instead of going to his room, he went back outside. Hmmm. And a “couple” left. She was wearing a mini-skirt, stilettos, and a cropped white fur jacket. He was wearing jeans, sneakers and a baseball hat.

Oh, the man that just checked in came back into the building, with a woman dressed very similarly, except she had no coat and was wearing a spangled beret and matching tank top. Do I need to remind you that it’s cold out there?

Time to go fold laundry.

In the three o’clock hour ~
Patrolled the halls, checked the doors. Made some change for a guy. Folded fifteen sets of queen sheets and a load of towels, wash clothes and bath mats.

In the four o’clock hour ~
Had a cigarette. Now that I’m warmed up from folding, it doesn’t feel as bitter out there. Time to tackle the kings and the doubles.

Ah, my woman-who-reads-and-drinks-A-LOT-of-coffee has appeared … looking for coffee. At 4:20a.

In the five o’clock hour ~
All linens done, and the laundry room floor swept. Coffee brewing. The Reading Lady has been joined by a guy and they are discussing current events. Time for more blog reading.

In the six o’clock hour ~
More of the same. I closed my shift and recounted the cash drawer after my whopping single rental. Everything matched, natch.

In the seven o’clock hour ~
Three guests checked out, and one came in to reserve a room for tonight. My boss arrived at a quarter after. On the way home, I passed a bank thermometer. It’s 32 freakin’ degrees out there. I’m sorry it was such a quiet shift. (At the latter part of my 5p-1a shifts, I’ve had more interesting things happen.) I thought it might be exciting. Ah well. Now, to sleep. Good night everybody.