Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Incompetent (adj.) When a person is unable to come up with a clever blog post title

Today, I saw a rabbit. Whilst cleaning the windows that are around the Olympic-sized pool at the Student Rec Center, a bunny hopped rather frantically from out of my view right to the edge of the bush that sits beside the window. I stopped staring at the hand print I was busy wiping off and looked at the brown blur. But it was no longer a blur. It had stopped dead in it's tracks at the bush, waiting. No, not waiting. Watching. And when I stared right into it's eye, I realized that it was watching me. 

I knew it was watching me because Coco, my lovely rabbit, has done this same exact thing many times before. He would stop what he was doing and watch me as I danced around my room singing to Coldplay or other things and would just stare. Sometimes I'd stare back and talk to him, asking what his problem was and if he knew staring was rude. But he never responded and would go back to chewing his wood shavings or thumping his back feet to prove his manliness.

But this rabbit had a different expression. It wasn't fear, nor was it the same curious expression Coco had. It was judgment. This rabbit was JUDGING me. It stopped it's frantic flight and risked it's safety in the bushes to judge ME. the judgment turned into pity and I found that I had altogether stopped cleaning, dropped my towel and watched the rabbit. I no longer cared how it was looking at me but was waiting for it to move already. Hadn't it done enough? After realizing I'd spent a good 30 seconds doing nothing, I picked up my towel and moved away from the window, the rabbit still statuesque. 

I will admit that from time to time while I'm cleaning, I feel an overwhelming sense of shame. I don't push around a cart with a mop and all the cleaning supplies so as to not draw attention to myself. The cart squeaks when it's wheeled around and it makes a loud racket. So, instead, I make several trips to the cleaning closet to pick up what I need for a particular task and mutely move about the building, trying to blend as much as possible. It's hard to blend, though, when your shirt is a bright VIVID blue and you're the only person in the entire building that's wearing jeans. Oh, and I have to have a walkie on me, so that also makes me stand out. Or I look like a crazy person who likes to listen in on other people's conversations over radio.

One particularly debilitating task that I have to endure from time to time is wearing the backpack vacuum, or as we call it in the cleaning world, Backpack Vack.

 It's very fun to say, but very ridiculous to wear. Every time I see that I have to vacuum with such a device, I groan to myself and get ready to be embarrassed beyond anything I've ever experienced. It's like you're a Ghostbuster, but less cool. I've even tried imagining the dust bunnies are rather violent poltergeists but it just doesn't feel the same.

Sometimes I'm lucky and I have to use the Backpack Vack in a secluded area. But most frequently I'm using this thing on the indoor track. So I go to the 3rd floor closet, stare down the purple cylindric suction tool (our vacuums have a purple trim. How lovely, right?), grab it and the power chord, and then make my way, rather noisily since everything is rattling around, to the closest power outlet to the mess. I then tighten all the straps as the person who uses it usually is bigger than me (MUCH bigger) and then put it on. And as I'm vacuuming, I pretend that I can hear laughter over the loud hum of the machine and I imagine myself suddenly having super powers and the ability to make people implode. And I do just that. But it's all in my head and I'm still just the cleaner lady who's vacuuming up dust and trying to get by in life.

But there are brighter moments in my working life. Like my daily encounters with the sweet old men in the "Quiet Room" (it's called the "Quiet Room" because it's a work-out area without the blaring music and you can't talk on your cell phone in there and whatnot. So it's really quiet) or when I get a thank you from someone for cleaning something. But mainly, my bright moments are when I talk to Wentworth Miller Guy (WMG).

But then there are definitely some lower moments than my bouts of shame. In particular, my encounters with Creepy Co-worker. Last week was a GREAT week. I had many conversations (short, but sweet) with WMG and also avoided Creepy Co-worker every single day except for one day when he tried talking to me, but then the manager of the actual building wanted to talk to me and so I didn't say a single word to Creepy Co-worker. 

This week, not so much. Yesterday, I ran into him accidentally on two occasions, both in a secluded setting and both times I wished I had a Siamese twin. He inquired about my 4th of July and I said it was "Fine" and then left as soon as possible. The second time, he asked me why I kept the door to the break room open. I froze. I couldn't tell him the real reason which is this: I keep the door open because I know that when he goes on break, he CLOSES the door to have privacy. It's my way of letting myself know that HE'S in there, and to NOT go inside. Handy little trick, huh? Well, now he was onto me. Here's how the conversation went.

Creepy Co-Worker: Hey, I have a question. Why do you keep the door to the break room open?

Me: Uh, I just do. I like it.

Creepy Co-Worker: Well, when you do that, people can get in and take stuff and it's not safe or secure. Keeping it closed makes sure no one does that kind of stuff. 

SIDE NOTE-The break room isn't locked. So having the door closed does nothing as far as security except it keeps people from seeing what's inside. Like that stopped any petty thief from robbing a house...

Me: Well, uh, I have chemicals on my hand and I just hate touching the handle all the time when I walk in...I'll keep it closed. It's whatever, I just..yeah...I gotta...

And I left. I screamed internally and wished that I had come up with a better reason. But I was so creeped out and so angry that he would have the AUDACITY to talk to me that I couldn't think of something better. I let it go because then I had a lovely little conversation with Wentworth Miller Guy.

Today, though, I decided to keep the door closed. And I needed something that's kept in the break room. And I saw that the light was on and heard the rumblings of a TV. I braced myself and opened the door a crack. I sneaked my hand around and grabbed the object I needed. And then he noticed me.

Creepy Co-Worker: Hey! How's it goin'?

Me: *awkward chuckle*

Creepy Co-Worker: So yesterday, I didn't quite hear why you want to keep the break room door open.

Me: *Internally wishing I had come up with a better reason in that 24 hour time* Well, I just don't like touching door handles is all. It kinda grosses me out...

Creepy Co-worker: How do you change trash and clean toilets and--

Me: It's different...just don't worry about it, I'll keep it closed. 

And at this point I try leaving.

Creepy Co-Worker: Hey! HEY!! I'm not finished yet!

Me: 0_0 *start to internally panic*

Creepy Co-Worker: You have your purse in here. Aren't you afraid of it getting stolen with the door open?

Me: Uh...not really. Nope. Not concerned.

Creepy Co-Worker: Well, alright, you can keep it open, it doesn't really matter to me. I don't care.

Me: It's...whatever. Yeah, I gotta...

And I was outta there, wishing that I had the ability to become invisible. Where's an invisibility cloak when you need it? Anyways, my handy little trick isn't so handy anymore and now I need a new way of telling if he's in the room or not. Maybe I'll just avoid it all-together.

So, work has it's ups and downs and for the most part I love the pay and the work isn't too hard. I just don't make eye-contact with people because I know they'll have pity in their eyes and I'll feel shame in the pit of my stomach. And then there are the bright moments when I see someone smile at me or witness a tender moment between a mother and her child who then decides to smear their tiny hands all over my clean glass doors and then the tender moment is now a moment of frustration as I realize I'll have to clean it. Again. *grumbles* stupid childrens.


Sarah Lambson said...

How awkward!

I would not want to be in your place.

Of course, I have a tendency to not trust people and I would therefore side with him on keeping the door closed. But it does suck that now you don't have a way of knowing he's in there.

Just think, you don't have to work there much longer.

Sarah Lambson said...

Okay, so you should be able to comment on my other blog not. The tucked away at pawtuckaway blog now. I think. At least you can read it.