As I write this, I want to start by saying that today is November 30th and I was over this year’s holiday season by 3:15 pm on Thanksgiving. Which, considering my shift that day did not start until 3, is a pretty quick turnaround from me walking in just minutes prior with a bellyful of turkey, excited to see the decorations outside of the hotel in all of their winter glory. I had yesterday off, and while spending the day with my wife, my dog, and in my quiet, peaceful house helped rekindle that magic, coming back to work today quickly sent my holiday spirit to an all-time low. So with a month of holiday parties and festivities ahead, let me implore those of you traveling to remember something: everyone has family that irritates them to the highest level possible. But please don’t take it out on the smiling face at the hotel desk, or the server bringing you as much alcohol as it takes to remember that Aunt Polly conveniently forgot your pronouns again.
I know the holidays brings out the best and worst in us. It’s exhausting as much as it is heartwarming to see all of the cousins, and the second cousins. The travel itself is terrible. Traveling during the winter is never fun. Add in the rush of everyone trying to make it to Grandma’s in time to carve the turkey and it becomes the same mad dash of everyone stocking up on milk for a snowstorm. Traveling is also always precarious, because any number of things can go wrong. Wrecks, accidents, weather, even a debit card refusing to work when you know the money is there are all giant hassles. I hate them. Who doesn’t hate them? But I promise you, I’m not praying to the Winter Gods to hem you up at every juncture, and I really do want you to have a wonderful stay.
I do. I really, really do. Earlier this week I spent 20 minutes at the end of a shift rooting through the lost and found to find a bookmark a little girl had left here a year prior. I never mind fixing the internet or the thermostat, and please don’t apologize for needing something. We keep amenities in a drawer for that purpose, and I have forgotten deodorant myself on more than one trip. I promise you it upsets me when you have a complaint and it’s something we did wrong on our end. Every. Single. Time. However, it always seems that when you’re staying here over the holidays you forget something slightly important.
I’m working them. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s – while you’re checking-in and unpacking to go visit friends and relatives. I’m standing at a desk away from mine. My wife is answering 911 calls from people in unfathomable situations, and as a result I chose to work a job that kept me from being home alone all day and wallowing about it. Instead, I have people physically throwing keys at me and demanding to know why the restaurant is closed.
Somewhere amidst the hurriedness and lights, many have forgotten the spirit of all the holidays this season. At minimum, that spirit encourages being a slightly-above-awful person. More maximally, “peace” and “joy” are two words that come to mind, but there are many others that align more with the spirit of the season than someone spitting venom at me over a dog being in the room next to them. Please remember that as much as inconveniences are inconvenient, nothing is worth screaming at the poor person stuck manning the desk on some of the slowest days of the year for us. We have families and friends we would love to fight with as well, but instead we are here, making sure you have a face to shout at.
Oh, and please tip the housekeepers. No one makes enough money to clean what they see.
- Asher Kennedy is a writer, activist, transman and cisnerd living an hour outside of Washington in the Eastern Panhandle of WV. An alumnus of Shepherd University where honed both his writing and musical skills, he is the current treasurer of Hagerstown Hopes, serving as a member of its Board of Directors. He is also the co-facilitator of both the Trans and Spouse groups. Through his work with Hagerstown Hopes, he works alongside Trans Healthcare MD to bridge the gap for medical knowledge and coverage for the trans and non-binary communities throughout Maryland. He has been featured on RoleReboot (rolereboot.org) and is an avid speaker for local college and community panels. He is on Twitter @ItsAsherK, and can be found re-watching the same six episodes of The Office in his spare time.