Wednesday, June 16, 2011
My friend, JJ, and I lived together in college. We lived in an apartment that was built in the mid-1800s. It was on the second floor, above a corner grocery store that JJ’s grandpa owned. The place was great. It had original hardwood floors, French doors, big windows and black and white tiles in the kitchen. It was centrally located, so we could walk to anything we needed. Plus, JJ, got all his food free from downstairs. JJ is a good friend, so it was the perfect set up.
But, we shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things.
The place was probably clean for a total of 72 hours in the two years we lived there. It wasn’t that JJ was messy, or just that I was messy, it was that we were both messy together. It was a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts. Our rooms were piles of clothes. I used to buy clothes at Goodwill instead of doing laundry. The living room was the receptacle for used Jack’s Pizza circular pieces of cardboard. Our kitchen was perpetually filled with dirty dishes. Twice, we paid female friends $20 to clean our dishes, and we got a bargain. The guy who lived there before us left a gynecologist’s chair, complete with straps. This does not have anything to do with our messiness, but it’s crazy, right? We got rid of it before we moved in.
Every so often, we would hear from the grocery store management that we needed to clean because the odor was getting to be too much for their offices down the hall. To our other friends, I would blame JJ on the mess, and he would blame me. We were both right.
Michelle has cured me of such drastic mess for the most part. However, when she’s gone, I tend to head back in the direction of my bachelor days. I spent today folding clothes and cleaning up for her imminent arrival.
The truth is, I have some help these days.
This is a totally foreign concept to me. A lady that comes and cleans your things?! What are the rules? At what point am I allowing her to do her job, and at what point am I taking advantage of her? At what point am I trying too hard, and at what point am I looking a gift horse in the mouth. I’ve been trying to figure it out. For a messy guy, this should be a God send, but it actually stresses me out. She is a very sweet Hispanic woman who speaks little English.
Here are my observations.
-I try to impress her too much. Shouldn’t the cleaning lady be the last person you want to impress?
-When I grew up, the cleaning lady was my mom before she just gave up on me succeeding in the clean life.
-Our conversation usually goes something like this:
Cleaning Lady: Hello
Jeff: How are you?
Cleaning Lady: Good, how are you?
-In our heads, the same conversation goes like this:
Cleaning Lady: You’re the bastard who can’t keep his room clean.
Jeff: How are you?
Cleaning Lady: I’m fine, but I won’t be in a few minutes when I have to wade through your various crumbs, hair, and cheap hair product. Oh, and I know about the stash of food under your bed.
Jeff: UUuuuuuggghhhhh. I’m trying to think of something else to say, but we literally have nothing else in common.
-I always have an urge to talk about Telemundo in our exchanges, since it is common ground.
-I spend way more time cleaning in a week because a cleaning lady comes, than I would ordinarily. Yikes, maybe in the end, I’m the cleaning lady.
-The two languages that need no words are love and pure disdain.
I can’t win when it comes to cleaning. I just shouldn’t have nice things.