Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A Hospitality Pro's Christmas

Luckily, the 23rd was my longest day - at just under 12 hours. Christmas Eve was only nine hours. I help manage running two restaurants at a busy hotel that is especially popular from Thanksgiving through New Year's. It is a peculiar reality to work for a place that never closes, especially around the holidays, but if we are in the company of police, doctors, and flight crew, I cannot feel that oppressed.

Christmas Day I arrived to work before 2:00 pm, and I was suffering a mild cold, though I felt better than the night before - acquired or worsened by the various people who cough on me, the jumbo shot of tequila handed to me by Chris from Security (after work) two nights prior, or compounded fatigue while working outside in the Southern California winter without a jacket. 

As I walk into work, I see families in matching pajamas, couples holding hands... people from many countries on an expedition to experience some joy for the season. It is easy to see them all as rich people, given the prices of things here, but I know there are parents who saved up for some time to take their kids someplace special, and I always try to remember that. World travel makes that empathy more attainable, and by that same token, if someone proves he doesn't know how to act, they are more likely to hear about it.

My team was growing irritable serving throngs of merrimakers over several straight days. Some of them have second jobs, but they power on. They are very good at what they do, and it heartens me to see them creating joy for their guests on these special days away from loved ones. I wonder if they feel like me - someday we'll be like regular people and not have to work on Christmas... maybe. But then, it takes a special type of person to do what we do - and be good at it, and be genuine. 

Anyway, I'll settle for homemade tamales made by my host Roxana that were in my backpack all night and a raspberry sour by the tree, with my favorite Chistmas hymns I missed from being too tired to make mass... in the dark at 11:00 pm - when I can finally relax and enjoy Christmas.

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