Hotel maintenance work leads to lots of weird stuff, but nothing as weird as the time I received unwanted sexual advances from a compliance officer of the ADA.
A decade has passed since the incident I am about to recall, yet aside from the fact that the incident occurred between myself and an employee of the ADA, I will not divulge anything more specific which could incriminate the individuals and hotel involved.
Night shift as a hotel maintenance man is a pretty easy gig. Most of the big projects happen during the day, so with some exceptions most of the job entailed hanging around the maintenance shop waiting for a toilet to clog or internet connection to fail. During the downtime I studied a lot of cinema, surfed the web and occasionally snuck off to the boiler room to smoke a one hitter. If I was especially bored and creative I would use spare parts to make art, including a lamp which I constructed from a bathroom faucet set.
Every now and then, however, things would get difficult or batshit crazy. This is one of those stories.
There was a woman from the ADA staying with us, and during her stay she was evaluating our compliance with their codes. This woman had just done the same for our city and had determined that their website was not disabled-friendly enough, which ended up costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and resulted in a layout and menu function format that was nearly unusable to anyone. Needless to say the hotel, which was several decades old and behind in some of the newer requirements, figured this woman was going to end up costing the hotel a great deal of money, time and other resources. In an attempt to perhaps ease her criticism, staff were instructed to treat her like the goddamned Queen of the Universe during her week there.
I had already been called to her room(s – she kept switching based on an endless litany of imperfections) several times by halfway through her stay when I received a mission to go check on her heating unit. When I arrived, sure enough, it was not functioning. The problem turned out to be incredibly simple, the breaker had flipped. I explained to her that these breaker system in the hotel was pretty jumpy in order to avoid fires, and that pretty much every breaker in the place seemed to switch off at least once a year for no discernible reason, and so her heater breaker should be good for the rest of her stay.
This was not acceptable, however, and she requested that I return just before the end of my shift to check the breaker to be sure. Since that was going to be just before 11pm, she told me she would likely already be asleep, and that since the breaker was just behind the door I should let myself in to check it if she didn’t answer a light knock when I arrived. I immediately found this to be a sketchy set up, but I didn’t really expect any danger from an obese wheelchair-bound woman, so following orders to keep her happy I agreed to the strange scenario.
At the appointed time I set out to check her breaker. When I arrived I could hear a few strange sounds coming from the room, but I figured it was just the television. My light knock was not answered, so I used my key to enter and was greeted by the spectacle that had been planned for me. Right there in the middle of the room the woman sat naked in her wheelchair rubbing herself and making surreal noises while looking me straight in the eye.
A few minutes later I was relating this story to the night manager and PDX operator when asked if I just immediately ran screaming from the room. I had not. I had a duty and I did it. Ignoring her undulating folds shivering in ecstasy, and the stained undergarments that lay at her feet, I went right to the box and checked the breaker then scurried out of the room. I am impeccable with my word.
When telling the story to my friends they were more concerned that I hadn’t just gone to the party that display was inviting me to. As a writer, they insisted, I should be open to these sorts of bizarre experiences. I am not so impeccable with my curiosity, I suppose.
On the following day I was called into human resources as soon as I arrived, where I was asked to share my story with half a dozen curious but extremely concerned ears. I related my tale, and having seen their predicament, eased their anxieties. I was well within my rights to make that woman, the ADA and the hotel accountable for what had happened. However I had no desire to do so. Sure, I could probably have gotten myself a nice lawsuit or settlement out of the deal if I decided to pursue it, but at what cost?
To be quite honest I found everything about that woman disgusting, even before she revealed herself to me like that. She was loud, childish, self-absorbed and all around an awfully annoying asshole. But she was also stuck in a goddamned chair her entire life, and I know that must be difficult and have all kinds of consequences, one of which was no hope for a normal sex life. In fact any kind of sexuality may have been difficult for her and others like her to navigate. How does one deal with an urge which cannot be expressed normally or easily, but which will not go away? I imagined her life had been one long sexually confused and frustrating ordeal, and so despite the fact that she violated me in some way, her situation was punishment enough. I had no desire to have her called out and made to pay for what she had done in any way, and to be honest, I was more amused by the strangeness of the situation and pitying of the woman than I was angry or outraged.
But hey, life is rough and if a boy’s gonna make it he’s gotta be tough. That is why I named my penis ‘Sue’ – what can you do?!?!?