While cleaning was never the planned career path, life tends to throw you some curve-balls.
It knows what you need when you need it.
And sometimes you need to just get down and dirty,
grab a mop and a broom,
and clean up your life.
And other peoples too.
And trust me, there are many benefits to being a cleaner.
1.YOU GET PAID TO EXERCISE.
It’s possibly the best full-body workout.
In an average day I climb [at least] 984 flights of stairs simply by being one pillow case or towel short.
I “bench press” beds.
I mop. I sweep. I scrub.
The bed-time boogie.
And because my scary boss lady is always yelling “rapide rapide” I run.
For four to six hours every day.
2. YOU GET PAID.
3. IT’S A FANTASTIC STUDY IN HUMAN HABITS.
Good and bad.
4. YOU CAN WORK BAREFOOT.
Sadly, after studying human habits, you don’t want to barefoot.
5. TIME FLIES.
You arrive at work.
Make 77 beds.
And then suddenly you look at the clock and realise you have two minutes to escape to make it to your second job on time.
You run some more.
6. YOU MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.
7. THINKING TIME.
To quote my new Brazillian roommate [who just so happens to be a hostel cleaner too]:
“When I am cleaning I have a sensation that I am organising my life. I do in the hostel like I used to do in my home. It’s like being home.”
8. YOU GET REALLY GOOD AT ADULTING.
I now know how to use a mop.
And in just two and a half weeks, I’ve atoned for the decades where I neglected to make my own bed.
9. THE SMALL CHANGE.
Added bonuses to your measly hourly wage.
Just the other day I found a grand total of 23 cENTS on the floor (in one, two, and five cent coins spread between the fourteen rooms of the hostel).
Yesterday I found soap. I needed soap.
10. YOU MEET COOL PEOPLE..
Most of them are on a mission to destroy the world of momentary perfection that you have just created. But they’re generally friendly, happy, and [because this is Lagos], hungover.
8a. You learn to do everything twice [or three times sometimes].
8b. You learn to look for the best in people.
11. YOU LEARN TO DEAL WITH SHIT.
Whether it’s the skid marks in the toilets.
Or the man in room 11 with the liver problem whose seat is always smeared brown with tonal paintings of faeces and who’s towels daily have to be thrown away because he continues to dribble over the floor [and his towels are always on the floor].
You learn to smile as you hear your boss bellowing from the ground floor because you left a single hair in bathtub two.
Or you didn’t position a bed correctly.
Or you used the wrong sheet.
In fact I’ve learned to smile a lot because she’s going a bit hoarse from all the yelling.
Which brings me to point
12. YOU LEARN WHEN TO QUIT
While I can certainly say that cleaners are severely under-paid and underappreciated;
I’ve actually enjoyed the job.
But there are some things in life that just aren’t worthwhile.
Cleaning said hostel to the sound-track of bellowing yells from reception, is one of those occasions.
It taught me a lot.
It made me a stronger person. (Points one through eleven)
It paid daily wages (think “survival”).
But everything has its season.
And after 18 thirteen[ish] hour days in a row,
(two jobs was one too many)
the season for having some spare time and exploring the wonders of Lagos has just begun.
The winter world of shifting shit has earned me a Summer.