In two days, I gained a new respect for hotel housekeepers.
For two days, I was one at a high-end historic hotel, which gave me an close-up look at what goes on behind closed doors, no pun intended.
With the charms, quaintness, details of an Old West hotel with history, the establishment demands much of its housekeepers. Meticulous attention to detail, an eye for presentation and (near) perfection and speed speed speed. Like 10 Red Bulls speed.
And did I mention speed?
Lemme make this clear: I’m no stranger to hard work. Not. At. All. Dirty work. Exhausting work. Mind-numbing work. Master-driven slave labor. Work that destroys health and well-being. All of that I’ve lived full tilt.
But this … this housekeeping job at the old downtown hotel did me in. After Day 1, I was exhausted. After Day 2, I was done.
“We just don’t think you’re a good fit for us and us for you,” said my supervisor. I couldn’t disagree. In fact, I was relieved. It was the kindest and most thoughtful bye-bye I’ve ever received!
Anyways, it wasn’t about the work. The WORK I could do. It was the speed. I LITERALLY couldn’t make my body move that fast. Those gals moved like dervishes, stripping beds, making and remaking them, cleaning bathrooms to a glistening shine, hauling stuff from the carts to the rooms, vacuuming.
Honestly, even those 10 cans of that Red Bull, which incidentally I’ve never tried but have heard plenty, couldn’t hype wind me up to the speed required.
And timing. Evidently housekeepers are supposed to clean each room in X-amount of time and go on to the next then the next in a nonstop Hurry! Hurry! Go! Go! Go! And if they don’t, they get dinged or reprimanded.
I didn’t inquire about the consequences of failing to meet the time limits. I just know, from having worked there for two days, that (a) those girls work their butts off and (b) no way in hell could I force my body to move like that.
I’m the tortoise, not the hare. In sports, I’m built for endurance, not speed. I think fast but my body doesn’t move fast. Not 10 Red Bulls fast anyhow.
Then there was the cleaning spray, one that proved such the toxic irritant to my (weakened) respiratory system that it triggered coughing fits and chest pain. Felt like the desert was on fire in there. A mask helped but didn’t eliminate the aggravation and painful breathing.
I’m guessing the hotel wouldn’t want the health liability. Anyhow, in the end, it wasn’t a good fit. However, it was a great goodbye and learning experience. Those timed Go! Go! Go! slavish-type cleaning jobs aren’t for me. It takes a special type of a person to do ’em and to do ’em well.
And I really did gain an appreciation and respect for those who can do that work. With or without 10 Red Bulls.
Thanks for the memories, hotel. That’s just what they’ll remain: memories. I’ve permanently washed super-speedy cleaning jobs outta my hair. Not a strand left in the drain catch. The gals and I saw to that.