I was in housekeeping for two days. No surprise here: I despised it. I mean, there were good parts, namely that I could go to the toilet in all of the rooms before I cleaned them. Besides that bonus, there wasn’t much else I loved. I never got the hang of twisting the shower nozzle without first spraying it all over myself. I also seemed to get bleach all over my uniform so now it looks like a DIY tie-dye job. I accidentally woke up several people who work night shift, which is just the worst because who wants to be annoyed by some Yank with a key to your room screaming “HOUSEKEEPING” when we know we’re not even in the right outfit. We swap maid uniforms for neon tradie outfits (yeah, try cleaning a shower in this outfit).
You know that joke “How do you know if someone is [insert here political belief]? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you”? Yesterday I realized the same goes for housekeeping, as in how do you know someone’s worked in housekeeping? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. I also discovered that they’ll also walk past and tell you how they used to do it or what you need to do after you do x or that the best way to do x is by first doing y. After a while, it gets exhausting. And confusing. One woman followed us today as we defrosted freezers and starting correcting everything we were doing. She was on night shift and couldn’t sleep, so we’ll give her a break. She was bored.
My days in housekeeping were exhausting but short lived. They are already switching me to kitchen hand, which is great news…. except this means I have to work THE DREADED NIGHT SHIFT. I’ll be okay as long as I don’t end up an insomniac like the lady who followed us around today. If the night shift hits me hard I might even start to correct the groundskeepers, following them as they mow the lawn and tell them how I once saw some man doing it in an office parking lot and suggesting they follow my advice.
Because I’ve been cleaning rooms silently I haven’t overheard many interesting things, but two recent events that the new security guard hire and I can’t choose a favorite between:
1- Bold Questions
During a training session at the mine the other day our instructor finished showing us around the building where he explained where the supervisors’ offices were and where to head if there we went on ammonia alert. After his entire presentation, the instructor asked if anyone had questions, presumably referring to the information he gave us.
One of the sassiest members of the group raised his hand and asked, “How long ago was that photo taken?” All fifteen of us looked at the tiny photo on the instructor’s ID badge as he pointed to it. The photo was of a tan, slightly plumper man with brown hair and a clean shaven face. We looked up and evaluated his face, noticing the gray beard, the balding head and the reading glasses. “Ah, about ten years or so ago,” the instructor said, handling the question very well.
Without dwelling much on it, the instructor immediately led us down the stairs and we looked at each other, not believing our work mate’s audacity. The security guard burst out in laughing and said “Good on you!” to the guy who asked the question.
2- Outbursts at a meeting
One of my workmates is a guy who has been nicknamed “Croc Dundee” because he spent several years working on a crocodile farm and later went into the capturing business himself. He has a kind heart and has turned out to be a good friend of mine here, although I disagree with almost everything he says or believes.
Last week, after a two hour presentation from the HR director from corporate headquarters about bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination, a woman raised her hand and asked how many women are the perpetrators of this crime.
The HR director shared that surprisingly, most of the company’s cases are women harassing other women (they obviously didn’t listen to Marcela Lagarde!) In front of a crowd of around 25 people, Croc Dundee burst into hysterics. He started shaking his head and interrupted the speaker saying, “SEE? IT’S CHICKS, MAN! Like I walk into a party with my missus and my friend’s missus is wearing the same skirt and they hate each other and us blokes just chill back having a beer!”
I was so appalled that I actually said out loud “OH MY GOD” and I look over and the security guard is, again, bursting out laughing and slapping his hand on his knee.
Later, the security guard sat next to me at dinner. “Man, that Croc Dundee is hilarious,” he said, “I don’t know what’s better- his comments or that other dude asking about the instructor’s ID photo.”
Do you have a favorite of the two?
Featured photo taken in Brisbane, Australia.
Read other updates from life on the Mine Camp here.