At 5:20 a.m., a national housecall service connected me with a guest at the Montage in Beverly Hills. She was suffering the flu; I told her I’d arrive in half an hour.
As soon as I hung up, I realized, to my dismay, that I had quoted my usual fee, forgetting that the call originated with the housecall service which takes a 40 percent cut. The Montage is a super-luxury hotel, and the guest was probably rich, but I couldn’t change the fee.
I was in luck. Not one but three guests in the room had the flu, so it worked out.
That day I had an appointment to service my car. At 9 o’clock, as I and my wife were about to leave, a hotel phoned. Before I could talk to the guest, call-waiting signaled another. I told the second guest I’d call back and then spoke to the first guest who had thrown out his back. That’s an easy visit, but I was feeling harassed, so I persuaded him to try pain medicines and wait for a day. I phoned the second guest but got voicemail. After several calls, I learned that the guest was taking care of business and would get in touch later.
Waiting at the dealership, I answered his call. My wife then drove me to Le Parc hotel in West Hollywood. My wife does not enjoy chauffeuring me on housecalls, so afterward I suggested lunch at her favorite Japanese restaurant. Japanese cuisine is not one of my favorites, so we don’t do this often. We planned to see a movie at a theater a few door away. Sadly, my phone rang as we were eating. Afterward, she ferried me nine miles through city streets to a downtown hotel.
During the long drive back, I phoned the dealership several times, but my car was not ready until half an hour after we reached home.
After retrieving it, we stopped off for groceries and then made dinner during which a call arrived from the Shangri-la in Santa Monica five miles away. I avoid driving during the rush hour, but Santa Monica is near enough to be an exception. The freeway was “could-be-worse” but street traffic was slow, made slower by construction for the new rail line.
It’s been months since I saw six hotel guests in one day. Once work was done, I felt pleased with myself and hoped this was a trend. That was December 29; on December 30 no calls arrived.