Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Initial Encounter With Hunter S. Thompson

Working at the Hotel Jerome as a doorman and bellman, I met dozens and dozens of celebrities and famous people. Hunter S. Thompson pulled up in his maroon Jeep one afternoon with his wife Anita, a half-full rocks glass and a lit cigarette. I’d expect nothing else from a man who lived and wrote what he thought. That was the fall of 2004. He went in for drinks at the hotel bar called the J-Bar. A few months later he committed suicide. I’m still glad I met him. I can’t say that about many of the hotel’s patrons.

Today was busy and most of the guests were not good tippers. In fact, it was the busiest day I've had so far as a doorman at the Hotel Jerome. There was a wine-tasting event in the ballroom and about fifty people checked in during a two-hour period. Even Tony, the general manager, and Rocky, the head electrician, were parking cars. I wasn’t in a great mood because I had to move so many cases of wine bottles.

But by around three o’clock things slowed down. By then our garage was full. The bellman had to park a few cars in the city lot, which is a couple blocks from the hotel. After the mad rush and lunch and another spurt of valets and guests’ requests, a maroon Jeep pulled in front of the hotel. On the rear window of the Jeep were two stickers, a “Kerry/Edwards” sticker on the left side and a “Michael Owsley for COMMISSIONER: He’d Be Good” sticker on the right side. I walked up to the car just as I do all cars that pull into our loading zone. There was a lady with dirty-blonde hair, probably no older than 30, sitting in the passenger seat. In the driver seat there was a man smoking a cigarette and wearing shades and a white cowboy hat to complement his white, long-sleeved button down shirt with colored pockets and blue jeans. He had a rocks glass filled with spirits resting near the shifter. The woman opened her door and told me that they were going into the J-Bar for some drinks.

I walked back to the bell podium and asked the bellman, Mike, if we had room to valet the Jeep. “Do you know that’s Hunter Thompson?” said Mike.

“Is it?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Mike said. “We can leave the Jeep up here, but charge them five dollars like we do all valets who go into the J-Bar.”

“All right.”

I had no idea it was Hunter S. Thompson. He looked older than I expected from the photos that I’ve seen. I told the woman it was going to be five dollars to valet her vehicle. She said she normally didn’t have to pay when they came to the J-Bar, but that it would be no problem. She was polite. No angst or attitude in her voice.

I told Hunter the same thing I told the woman as we stood next to the Jeep. And even though I wanted to tell him I admired his ability as a writer and that I was working on some freelance features, I couldn’t give him any favors. I had to do my job. And besides, I didn’t even know the guy. He told me that I should follow him into the bar so he could give me the five dollars. He didn’t have exact change. So I followed Hunter as he walked with a stagger toward the bar entrance, not apparently drunk, but as if all the drugs and alcohol had done its damage.

Hunter and the girl sat in the corner at the bar near the entrance. He knew the bartender and a few people. The bar was almost empty. He gave me five singles and asked me what my name was, thanking me with a lit cigarette still in his hand, and he seemed as jovial as she....

About three hours later she came out of the bar and I gave her the keys. She smiled and thanked me and said “Hunter” would be out soon. He stepped outside the bar door with a middle-aged guy with black hair behind him. Hunter was hammered. The guy wanted to help Hunter walk. He told the guy he didn’t need help walking, but the darkhaired guy insisted. As the y walked by the hood of the Jeep, Thompson exclaimed, “Carl, get your fucking hands off me.”

“But there’s cars coming,” Carl insisted, holding Hunter’s arms. “You’re going to get hit.” I was standing on the side walk on the other side. Carl looked at me for support. I gave him the look as to say it’s Hunter S. Thompson, he can do whatever he wants to do, plus he’s probably not going to get hit despite the cars zooming by Carl and inebriated Hunter.

After there was a break of the rushing headlights, Hunter got in the driver seat and yelled to no one in particular, “Some asshole moved my seat.” He adjusted it to give himself more leg room. I had moved his car up in our loading zone but did not adjust the driver seat. “Where are my keys?” he added. I told him I gave them to the lady he was with. Then the girl and the other guy, whose name was apparently Carl, told Hunter that he should not drive. In defense of his ranting and outbursts, Hunter said, “Hey, I’m a reasonable guy.”

So he moved from the driver seat to the passenger seat of the Jeep. In the process he got his legs stuck in an awkward and funny position on the dashboard. Just lying there and then struggling for a moment, he finally used both hands to move his left leg over.

Then I said have a great night. He thanked me and seemed pleasant, almost not drunk. But he was. The previous minutes proved that. What a character. I like the guy. I walked back to the bell podium.

One of the other bellman, Ryan, who I was working with said, “All the people in the bar always crowd around him when he comes here.” Ryan said it as if those people were crazy and that Hunter S. Thompson was nothing special. But then again, Ryan isn’t a reader and he doesn’t know much about politics.


Anonymous said...

That's very funny :) Thanks for sharing !

One J said...

michael kors
ralph lauren outlet
louis vuitton handbags
coach outlet online
retro 11
oakley sunglasses wholesale
coach outlet online
cheap oakley sunglasses
kd shoes
coach factory outlet
jordan 5
abercrombie store
true religion jeans
jordan 8 playoffs
coach outlet online
retro jordans
oakley sunglasses wholesale
burberry scarf
red timberland boots
tods outlet
football jerseys
michael kors
cheap oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton
oakley sunglasses

Qing Cai said...

louis vuitton handbags
nike running shoes
snapback hats
oakley sunglasses
air jordan 11
kate spade outlet
michael kors factory online, http://www.michaelkorsfactoryoutletonline.com
oakley canada, http://www.oakleysunglassescanada.com
louis vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuittonhandbags.org.uk/
michael kors outlet online, http://www.michaelkorsoutletonlinstore.us.com
gucci outlet
north face outlet
ugg boots, http://www.uggboot.com.co
oakley outlet
toms shoes
ray ban sunglasses online
tory burch outlet
lacoste outlet
ralph lauren uk
oakley sunglasses wholesale, http://www.oakleysunglasseswholesale.in.net
timberland boots
kobe bryants shoes
ray ban sunglasses
nike air max uk
oakley sunglasses
gucci,borse gucci,gucci sito ufficiale,gucci outlet
karen millen uk
jordan shoes, http://www.jordan-shoes.us.com
futbol baratas

mmjiaxin said...

true religion jeans
ray ban outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
dallas cowboys
rolex watches,rolex watches,swiss watches,watches for men,watches for women,omega watches,replica watches,rolex watches for sale,rolex replica,rolex watch,cartier watches,rolex submariner,fake rolex,rolex replica watches,replica rolex
oakland raiders
cheap soccer jerseys
cheap wedding dresses
karen millen uk
prada sneakers
michael kors factory store
hollister canada
air max 2014
vans shoes
christian louboutin shoes
timberland shoes
north face outlet
chicago bulls
mcm backpack
mlb jerseys

John said...

louis vuitton outlet
toms shoes
true religion uk
michael kors bags
mont blanc pens outlet
north face outlet
tory burch outlet online
cheap nike shoes
christian louboutin uk
air max 95
fitflops sale clearance
converse all star
cheap jordan shoes
louis vuitton outlet online
michael kors handbags
cheap nfl jerseys
valentino shoes
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
coach purses
michael kors outlet stores
ralph lauren pas cher
nike air force
black timberland boots
ralph lauren
mlb jerseys wholesale
coach factory outlet
louboutin pas cher
michael kors outlet clearance
the north face outlet

John said...

louis vuitton handbags
rolex watches
michael kors outlet online
birkenstock outlet
polo ralph lauren
broncos jerseys
kate spade outlet store
eahawks jerseys
levis outlet

zzyytt said...

birkin bag
off white shoes
off white jordan 1
moncler jackets
off white clothing
yeezy boost
goyard handbags
cheap jordans
yeezy boost 350

yan maneee said...

off white clothing
hogan outlet
yeezy boost 350
westbrook shoes
yeezy boost
nfl store
michael kors purses
supreme hoodie
air max 90
off white