Friday, April 8, 2011

My Jobs Aren't Supposed To Be Interesting

When I signed up to clean houses, I expected to clean houses. You know, some dusting, bathroom cleaning, floor washing. The premise of the cleaning company I work for is that they mostly clean rental apartments for different companies. People come to Israel for a week or so and don't want to stay in a hotel so they rent a nice, furnished apartment with a kitchen for less than it would cost to stay in a hotel their entire stay. So what we do is we wait for the call, roll in, clean up after the guests who have gone back to wherever it is they came from, and go home. It seems however that I am not fated to be doing much of this. So far I have moved furniture, cleaned a woman's private apartment, and cleaned and put dishes away for a family who were in the middle of renovations.

The cherry on the cake (or the umbrella in my margarita after one of these jobs) was what was supposed to be a quick cleanup job for a guy who was staying in one of these rental apartments. He called in a cleaner and my boss sent me to do some basic cleaning for this guy. I get to the apartment, where a woman from the rental agency is waiting for me. “He's a little bit neurotic,” she says to me. Well that's ok, I can deal with neurotic. I'm neurotic. “He left a list of some things he wanted cleaned.” I look at the list. It is quite a long list. I will now include the list for your viewing pleasure (without the spelling and grammatical errors. We're obviously not the same kind of neurotic.):
      1. clean all windows
      2. all floors including under all furniture washed
      3. special attention to stainless steel appliances
      4. wipe down all walls, remove marks
      5. clean all baths with special attention to removing any stains from grout
      6. wipe down a/c vents
      7. vacuum all furniture thoroughly
      8. clean all glass doors
      9. wipe down tops of all cabinets, refrigerator, dressers, etc. and inside all cabinets
      10. sweep and wash patio
      11. clean refrigerator and oven
      12. thoroughly dust all areas

This isn't neurosis, this is bordering on the edge of insanity. A list written by a neurotic guy would be something like this:
      1. Dust all surfaces
      2. Lock the door
      3. Thoroughly clean bathrooms, returning all toiletries to their proper place
      4. Don't forget to lock the door
      5. Clean kitchen. Line up spices in order of height then color.
      6. Check to make sure door is locked
      7. Clean floor
      8. etc.
Not only is his list ridiculous but there are no cleaning supplies in the apartment. There is a bucket, a broken broom, a squeegee mop and a little bit of floor cleaner. The woman from the agency tells me she'll run out to get some rags but I should do what I can in the meantime. I tell her that I can't really do anything with these supplies, short of using the guy's towel to wash the bathroom. She reiterates that I should just do what I can and leaves. I rummage around some more and come up with a sponge. Well now I can get to work. I'll skip the details, they're not interesting. The ending of this story is that the woman comes back, tells me that she has to leave soon to go to a wedding and that I should forget about the list. I clean the apartment normally within about two hours and go home. I highly doubt that the guy was satisfied by the job when he realized that the walls were still dirty and that the electrical appliances still had some smudges on them. But that is not my problem. If I'd had to follow the list I probably would have called up my boss and quit on the spot.

Luckily, working at the restaurant is not usually as frustrating. In fact it's kind of dull. That's probably because we have no customers. I don't know how the restaurant survives with so few customers. There was a night where there was only one table. Of one. That was an exciting night for all of us. I think the manager fell asleep in a chair at some point. The customers always ask why it's so empty and I have to quickly think up a good answer. Uh, all the other customers left a few minutes ago. At the same time. Or the weather's bad, they're preparing for Purim, it's an off season, daylight savings time, etc.

Thankfully we've actually had some customers lately. It's always a surprise for us when someone walks in and stays. We're used to people coming in and asking us if this is the bar next door or the restaurant down the street. Which is pretty amazing considering that the people who are looking for us can't even find us (due to the fact that we're located in a parking lot).

Thank G-d for customers. When we do have customers, we get some very unusual types. It's what makes my job interesting and what keeps me from shoving a steak knife into my eye just for variety's sake. There's a couple who comes in every Thursday. Order the same thing every time. They always go to a nice quiet table in the next other room by themselves and then spend most of the meal sitting across from each other, talking to other people on their cell phones.

There was a woman and her 15 year old son who came in and both ordered a glass of wine. I was like, “um, how old are you? I don't think I'm allowed to serve you alcohol.” I bring them their food and they eat a bit. Suddenly, the woman pulls out a book and starts reading her son a story. Right in the middle of dinner. At a restaurant. I'm like, come on,this isn't the time or place for story time. She wouldn't even let me clear her plate because she wasn't finished eating. Well clearly, reading is more important than eating your steak and finishing before we have to lock you in for the night.

A blind man and a regular guy walk in to a restaurant. Every time I start this story people think I'm about to tell a joke. This is not a joke. This is a true story. So a blind man and a regular guy walk into the restaurant. First of all I'm wondering to myself, is it politically incorrect not to give the blind guy a menu? Then I think to myself, that's just ridiculous. He clearly isn't going to be reading it. So I seat them and they order and everything's going fine. I come upstairs from the kitchen and all of the sudden I see the manager stamping on the floor next to their table. I'm like, what in G-d's name is going on here? He comes over to me and says, “that dumb-ass almost burnt down the restaurant!” I look at him in shock and say, “it's not nice to call a blind guy a dumb-ass.” He goes, “not not him, the other guy!” At this point I have no idea what he's talking about. So he tells me. Apparently the regular guy was sitting there with his napkin resting on top of the decorative candle without noticing that there was a fire under his napkin. When he finally realized that his napkin had gone up in flames, he panicked and threw it at the blind guy who asked, “what's this?” while sitting there oblivious of the ball of flame threatening to burn a large hole in his lap. The manager sees this, runs over and throws the napkin on the floor. He tries to stamp it out for a few minutes because it won't go out and that's when I come upstairs. I had to listen to him complain for the rest of the night about how he burnt his shoe. As if putting an open flame on a small table where people are eating is a good idea. Excuse me dear, you're tie has caught fire and is roasting my hamburger bun. It's also about to burn your face off.

1 comment:

  1. Natania, I'm randomly commenting on this entry for lack of a "general comments" option. Your mom had mentioned your blog to me but I forgot about it until your dad provided a link on his on blog that went out today. Anyway, I have been thoroughly enjoying reading your excellent writing. If you weren't determined to stay in the food service industry, I'd say you should really pursue a journalism career. You are a very talented and witty writer.