Archive for July, 2008

meet Barry (official Barry Hunter backstory)

Posted in barry hunter on July 25, 2008 by sarafist

Barry Hunter is a sixty-four year old gentleman who has been living at the lol-iday inn longer than I’ve worked there, so for over two years now. We get long-term residents from time to time, especially in the winter when people stop sleeping outside or in their cars, but he is by far the longest stay.

Barry Hunter is, well, touched. He’s a bit of an odd duck, and mostly does not speak to anyone on staff here besides the Owner-Manager. As I’ve mentioned before, he doesn’t say much, and in fact slightly resembles Mr Bean in his tendency to mumble to himself and make the occasional meep sound. He’s finally gotten used to me now (after two years), and will occasionally vocalize to me his desire to pay for another week’s stay, a washcloth, or just to say hi. Sometimes he will wave to me as I drive out on my way home.

He spends most of his days and nights here roaming the hallways and parking lot, occasionally while in a state of deshabille. He takes off for hours at a time, and was once returned by police after apparently causing a disturbance. Recently, he’s become quite active, leading to many remarks in our logbook such as “Barry’s on fire tonight!” One of his habits is pounding on walls, mostly those in his room, but at times he will walk around outside banging on walls. He has also taken to following women to their rooms, and standing outside their doors for long periods of time. This nearly got the crap beat out of Barry when a young woman’s boyfriend took exception to his behavior.

When extremely disturbed, he does it to cars, which is one of the behaviors that really has us worried for him, as people are very touchy about their vehicles. Barry seems to be fascinated by cars, spending a lot of time staring at those in our parking lot, which makes other guests nervous. Recently, he’s also taken to getting on his hands and feet to peer beneath, and occasionally crawl under cars. This is extremely alarming to any number of people, including myself. In fact, I caught Gary peering under my car a few days ago. I rapped on the office window right behind him, and he jumped up and stood with his hands clasped behind his back, staring at the sky as though he had been doing that all along. Amused, I rapped again to catch his attention, but he resolutely maintained his bird watching act.

Us clerks are pretty concerned for his safety, as his behaviors tend to make other people upset—and when dealers, crackheads, and heshers are upset, people get hurt. We tried reaching his family, but they have washed their hands of Barry, actually telling the Assistant Manager, “He’s your problem now.” They will only occasionally show up to pay for his stay. Another clerk asked the police what we ought to do, and they told us that we need to call them every time he is a disturbance so that a record can be kept that will get Barry some help. He’s been brought home as a disturbance by the police twice in the last month.


more goodbyes

Posted in bad things, families, nice people on July 18, 2008 by sarafist

There’s been an elderly lady and her son staying here for a hundred and thirteen nights. They’re from Hawai’i, and though the son seemed initially rude to me, he’s proven to be a very polite, if somewhat brusque, gentleman. The mother is a very sweet lady—I’ll call her Matilda since she has a very old-fashioned name—but not in very good health. Lifeline came and set up her phone for emergency contact, and what appear to be various medical professionals visit her pretty regularly. Denny works at a gas station, on a very late shift, and often doubles, to pay for their stay. He always stops in at the office to get change for his bus fare, and to say hello and flirt a little, as gentlemen in their fifties are wont to do with sassy young things.

Last weekend, things got a little worse for Denny and Matilda. The other swing girl went out to get a soda from the Coke machine where she heard faint cries. Noticing that the door to Matilda’s room was barely ajar, she went to it, calling to Matilda, who was lying on the floor between the two beds, unable to get up or reach her Lifeline. Carrie helped her back onto her bed and asked whether she wanted medical attention. When the housekeepers stopped by the next day, the same thing had happened again, and once more during my shift when I went to check on her. Fortunately, Matilda is tiny, so it was easy to help her, but we were all worried about her being alone when Denny was at work, so we tried to keep checking on her.

Since one of my sisters works at an assisted living facility, I mentioned the circumstances to her. We both agreed it would be cheaper for Matilda to be in one, and she mentioned that there was a studio available in hers for just over a thousand a month—less than what Denny was currently paying—including the cost of food, activities, and 24-hour personnel on staff. My sister even told me that Denny would probably be able to stay there with her still, as long as it wasn’t obvious. I was really excited to tell Denny about the opening; even though the facility is pretty far from our location, I thought it would be good for him to know there were options out there.

When I returned to work after my weekend, however, it was too late. I mentioned the studio opening to Denny, who told me that his mother was at Providence, and that she’d had a small stroke. She kept telling him she was just too tired to stand, not that anything else was the matter. While he was in the office, they called for him from the Emergency Room. It wasn’t good news; he told them very sternly to not make her think negatively, to just make her comfortable, and that he’d be back at 0800 to be with her. He said that they’d been just about to get an apartment when this happened.

Denny came in this evening, exhausted, after walking all over Portland all day long. When I asked how things were going, he told me, “Fine, if you like looking at caskets.” He told me not to be sorry, though, because things were going to happen regardless. I felt just awful for him, they have little to no money and he’s worried about her care for what time she has left—and he’s losing his mother. I commiserated with him, and he asked if he could just rest a while on one of our couches. “You don’t want to go to your room?” I asked him.
“They didn’t lock it up?” he asked.

“No, someone came in and paid for it today. Let me see . . . St Vincent de Paul paid it through Saturday morning.”

“I thought they had kicked us out because we couldn’t pay!” he told me, jubilantly. “Now I can take a shower. Oh, thank you, Schatzi!”

At least I could give him a little good news right now.

I’m feeling pretty guilty, I have to say. If I had mentioned their situation to my sister sooner, maybe she could have been at the assisted living facility. Maybe the stroke would have been caught sooner, and she wouldn’t be dying now. I should know that it’s not my fault, but I can’t help it.

it’s so hard to say goodbye

Posted in hookers on July 17, 2008 by sarafist

One of my favorite regulars, Kathy, is no longer staying with us. She was dropped off by her man late Saturday night after he and two of his other girls beat the crap out of her. Her arms and chest were mottled black and blue, and the right side of her face was completely swollen; it looked like she had somehow stuffed a softball into her mouth. The graveyard guy insisted on calling an ambulance for her, but she refused to say who did it. Graveyard guy made sure to give the cops the vehicle description and plate number for her man (read: pimp). While I was on my weekend, Kathy was added to out DNR (do not rent list), and asked to leave.

She was a very nice lady, always stopping in to say hello and alerting us when she knew of dealers, junkies, or other working girls on the premises.

from the mouths of lunatics

Posted in barry hunter, hookers on July 11, 2008 by sarafist

Today a resident prostitute was walking past Barry Hunter when he made some unsavory remarks—as he is wont to do, according to guests, though the staff hasn’t yet caught him at it. She told him, “You better stop looking at me all perverted, Barry!” to which he responded, “I can and I will!”

Words to live by from Barry Hunter.

oh, Barry!

Posted in barry hunter, crazies on July 4, 2008 by sarafist

We have an elderly gent staying at The Motel who has been there longer than I have. He’s a very odd duck–we’ll call him Barry Hunter–who doesn’t talk much except to mutter to himself and occasionally meep. He’s kind of like our own extremely crazy but mostly harmless Mr Bean.

Barry’s been getting up to all kinds of shenanigans lately, which I’ll have to further detail later. This past Sunday when I got to work, there was a note about him: “Barry was on fire tonight! Running around till 6:30am, when he finally left. Maybe he’ll be tired out when he gets back.”

I didn’t see Barry Hunter at all til the afternoon. “Barry Hunter returned, 2:35pm,” I noted in the logbook. A few minutes later, the head housekeeper poked her head into the office and reported that Barry had stood at the door of the laundry room until the new housekeeper noticed him, and when she tried to give him a stack of towels for his room (he doesn’t get regular service, but picks up towels as he needs them), he grunted and threw them on the ground, then walked away. Being new and having no English, she was distraught and confused, hence their summoning me. I walked over to Barry’s room, where he was standing and staring at nothing. “Hey, Barry. Did you need something?”
“Washcloth,” he muttered.
“Sure, I can get you a washcloth,” I said, and headed to the laundry with him following behind. I grabbed two and offered him both. “Did you need one or two, Barry?” I asked.
“Washcloth,” he said, grabbing it, and then returning to his room.

Returning to the office, I made a second note: “Barry Hunter terrified housekeeper, 2:35pm.”