‘Who’s that at the door?’ he yells.
‘It’s just the cleaning lady, darling!’ she replies as she lets me in.
Whaddya mean, just the cleaning lady! The Household Cleanliness Manager, I think you mean! The Bleach Artiste.
A friend of mine told me that she once thought about moving to the coast, but ‘there weren’t any jobs for people like me.’ It’s true, there aren’t any jobs for people who manage research contracts, or analyse policy papers, or report on labour statistics, or coach executives – but there are BILLIONS of jobs for people who clean toilets.
So since I want to live in a remote but beautiful coastal location, I’ve changed who I am. I’m not the person who got a certain perverse thrill out of being called ‘Manager’ and ‘Executive’ something or other – I am the Cleaning Lady. I come to your house, if you’re old or disabled, and I scrub the poo flecks off your raised toilet seat, laboriously move your collection of Lavender Mist and Metamucil to wipe off the vanity, scrub your stained china tea cups, surreptitiously throw out that chicken dinner your daughter gave you three months ago, and pat your dog.
I’m still getting used to the change in status (I do have an impulse sometimes to blurt – like someone with Tourette’s – ‘I’m not really a cleaner!’ )- but I figure that having to clean toilets a few days a week is worth the privilege of living here. And you know, there are the perks.
For instance, up top is a picture of where I take my lunch break, when the weather’s nice.
And the dogs. I LOVE dogs. Eight out of ten elderly people have one. There’s the little stuffed-toy dog that tries to bite the vacuum cleaner and gives me such a cute guilty look when I wag my finger at him. There’s the enormous rescue mastiff that thinks it’s a lap dog and watches you do the dishes from outside, its massive paws on the kitchen window. Afterwards, it sits in its owners’ lap and I kid you not, it is bigger than she is. There’s the poodle pup that follows you from room to room like it’s supervising your work.
What would YOU use on these tiles, I ask the poodle pup, and it looks at me thoughtfully. It’s probably saying something like ‘Nothing. It’s not like she can tell the difference.’ BAD dog!
Reality is, if you want to do this…
after work (as I did today, and it was just great!), you’re going to have to choose. Because your dream job isn’t always co-located with your dream life.