The Bronx, NY
New York City can be a great place; I like it lots. Then there are the nights you may get knifed. I just wanted to go to sleep and get up at 6:45 am to go do a show. That’s not really all that different than most days of my life. So, the show’s in Westchester County–not a particularly cheap place to get a room. That being the case, we’re staying in the Bronx (still not cheap by most standards, but better). We’re in the north Bronx; I don’t expect a great hotel, just some place to lay my head. This is the EconoLodge, nothing to write home about, but at least it’s a national chain with a bit of quality control.
So sometime after midnight there’s a huge (and supremely loud) domestic disturbance going on in the lobby. My room is right off the lobby so the fight is hard to ignore. I figure the clerk will solve this problem somehow. Several minutes later (4 or 5, probably) it’s still going on. I start to think, “Maybe the desk clerk is one of the parties arguing.” A couple of minutes later, the fight changes locations to right outside my window–seriously, 4 feet from my bed. I go out to the lobby.
A young man is screaming at a young woman just outside the lobby door. She keeps saying (fairly quietly) that she’s staying here. He keeps saying (um, not so quietly), “Get the FUCK in the CAR, son!!!”
I wait while the clerk checks a party in. Only in New York can you wait in a line of normal business to complain about a fight going on in the same location…. I finally get to the head of the line, look at the clerk, look at the fighting couple–who have now come back into the lobby so they can be loud in a warmer environment–and shrug. The clerk says “okay” and taps the glass lightly with his finger. He may also have said something, but I couldn’t hear him; I was 2 feet away. I am somewhat more than 99.999999% sure that there was no way the couple heard either thing he may have done.
At that point, I decided that I would ask them to move the conversation outside–perhaps not the wisest course of action. However, I was pissed off. I was tired. I needed to get up in less than 6 hours. And this jerk was abusing a woman (who he later claimed was his wife–like that makes it all okay). He seems amazed that anyone would think he was doing anything wrong: abuse, disturbance of the peace, assault, whatever.
He calls me a pussy and asks if I’m serious. I told him I was. He gets in my face. The clerk (remember him, he’s still here) rolls his eyes. He seems more upset that I’m calling this guy out than he is that this guy is making it impossible for the paying guests to sleep. For about 2 seconds I thought the jackass was going to take a swing at me. The moment passed; apparently he decided that his wife was easier to yell at than I was. So, I call the cops (who have not showed AFAIK–almost an hour later). He seems to think if he struts and yells at me some more that’ll change things. The dispatcher hears him yelling and threatening people throughout my call. I hang up and stay in the lobby. It takes a couple of minutes but it does dawn on the asshat that he could go to jail and that I’m not afraid of him (however adrenaline induced that was). I stay in the lobby; he tries to apologize. I nod. He leaves. He comes back. He yells a couple of times and leaves again. Comes back. No reaction from the clerk. Jackoff leaves.
I decide to take a shower to calm my nerves. I wait for the police. The girl stays. Later this morning I’ll do a show. The police may call; they have my number. The clerk’s backbone? Still MIA.