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Summer Job

I've found a job as a housekeeper, or maid, if you want to be a bitch about it. I make beds, clean sinks and toilets. Vacuum. I found a pornographic magazine under one of the beds, and some kleenex beside it. I handled the tissue with a glove, and gave the magazine to Remy, the laundry man. His eyes lit up.

There is a bear on the table in all of the rooms we clean that when moved signals me to clean under the table. A man comes in ahead of me and moves it whether under the table is dirty or not. He likes that. He comes in first and takes the tips which are mine and spends them on beer and cigarettes. Sometimes when he is talking to me about another one of his most wild nights, the stank on his breath causes my eyes to water and sends me to some dark place, as though I'm caught in a wind tunnel of hell. I try not gagging in front of him, since that would be rude. I save my gagging, and subsequent puking for the toilets I'm cleaning. I'm efficient like that.

We are extravagant in North America. I don't puke outside on the soil because I like to analyze the contents in the pristine bowl. It's like a science project. Note to self: chew more carefully.

Every morning, to boost moral, we are herded into the laundry room and are forced to listen to a hap happy song about having fun cleaning. We are encouraged to sing along. The managers are forced to, they will be deemed unfit for moral if they don't. It's a bit of a pay back, I guess. The image of them singing makes the morning go faster. Still, it's kind of a harsh punishment for anyone, even them. The song is bad for us, too. We're not hap happy to be here. We think of death in the evenings and early in the mornings. Of escape. The fumes from the cleaning supplies kill just enough brain cells to get through the day. Despite my aversion to the smell of cigarettes, I find myself hanging around in the break room while the others smoke, because I find it relaxing, and it quenches my undying appetite for ring-dings. I keep a handful in my pocket anyway, and sneak some during the day. By then they are melted a bit, but the durable aluminum foil pulls it's part accordingly. Aluminum is great.

It's just a summer job. I'm looking forward to winter. Sweet dead winter. My summer lakes are replaced with toilet bowls, and the beaches replaced with cigarette ashes. Please do not let my destitution and eventual collapse collide with your unending merriment. I'll imagine your smiles, and sniff just a bit harder.

6 comments:

Asylum Dolly said...

"note to self- chew more carefully" hehehehe.
being made to sing a hap happy song every day would suck .
This story weirdly ties in with a book I'm reading at the moment. Or maybe it just seems so because the hero of this book goes around to houses with his mum and helps her clean. The book is presented as a series of blog posts too, which is probably why I'm thinking your post reminds me of said book.
But anyway, all that was irrelevent.. sorry! (it never stopped me before i guess, haha
)
I always think it's weird how over there you guys have "a LOOM innum " (aluminum) but we have an "i" in it : "Aluminium " ("allu MINNium " ) What is it with the extra "i" we have? Or did you guys remove it for some reason? Again, I'm going off on a stupid tangent, but it's one of those weird little things that peck at my brain sometimes.

Enjoyable reading, as per usual!

John Dantzer said...

The book you're reading sounds interesting. Why read a book when you can read a blog?
I think aluminium is the scientific way, maybe we have difficulties saying that word so we changed it, I don't know. Or maybe Australia likes things mini, but that sounds more like Japan.

Asylum Dolly said...

Definitely Japan. Aus likes BIG. Do you remember all the stupid big landmarks from your travels here? The Big Pineapple, The Big Banana (we love jumbo fruit it seems)...the Big merino sheep...there is even The Big Oyster. (Fuck it is ugly. It has a caryard in front of it too.It is an architectural monstrosity)
One of the schools i went to was in a country town where there was The Big Bull. It was made of fibreglass, complete with giant testicles. No joke. It fell down in a storm recently, poor fing.

sybil law said...

I'll be at the pool a lot this summer with whiny children, so don't think it's all fun and games! Okay - so that's better than puking and cleaning a toilet bowl, but still.
I got nothin'.
Kick that dude who takes the tips in the gonads. He can hit all the high notes during the hap happy cleaning song.
:)

Gaby, held on by wires. said...

I work at a grocery store and am always the one who has to clean up spills in the aisles, pick up broken glass, and wipe down the eating area, so in a way, I feel your pain.

Toilets sound a lot worse, though. In fact, a million times worse. On the bright side: it might be fun to "accidentally" flush rich people's jewelry items down it. Wink, wink.

JMH said...

I cleaned hotel rooms over the summer when I was in college. It was bad, man, but so bad that I just didn't care. There was an ozone machine. But there was also air conditioning and cable television and beds that I could lie on for ten minutes at a time. I had none of those things in the place where I lived. I would not do it again by choice.