Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just Say It

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When I’m not Blogging, I’m a cleaner. One of my main jobs is a large public housing complex in the city and I work there four-days-a-week, Monday through Thursday.

Today I was having a really hard time. I have a problem with my right hip which flares up every now and then. I don’t have a label for the complaint, but that doesn’t make it hurt any the less. And it’s Thursday, which means I had five staircases, each consisting of three flights, to mop. 

Believe me, by the time I was finished I was really in pain. All I wanted to do was to lug that mop bucket back to the cleaner’s cupboard and head for home.

A young man came down the stairs carrying a couple of garbage bags. He was heading for the small yard housing the rubbish bins and I had to stand aside to let him past. 

Let me point out here that this housing complex caters to those in the lower income bracket. Many of the people there are unemployed and unemployable. There are some with mental health issues, substance abuse problems, and those who exhibit extremely anti social behaviours. I never make a habit of initiating conversation, or even eye contact, unless it is with a long term resident with whom I’ve established some kind of acquaintanceship. 

This young man was new to me. He was scruffy and unkept and I heard the clink of empty bottles in the bags he was carrying. So I kept my eyes on the ground.

‘Thank you for mopping my doorstep,’ he said as he went by.

I looked up in surprise, and he flashed me a smile.

‘It’s all part of my job’ I told him and he nodded.

‘Well that’s as may be,’ he responded. ‘But I really appreciate it.’

His words may not have eased the pain in my hip, but they certainly brightened my day. 

As a cleaner I am used to being taken for granted. I’m supposed to get in there and do my job with a minimum of fuss and fanfare. The only time a cleaner is usually noticed is when they get it wrong. 

But the young man at the housing complex noticed I had mopped his doorstep and he thought he should say thank you – so he did. And the next time someone does something for me – even if it is just part of their job, I will remember to say ‘thank you’, and to let them know that their efforts are appreciated. 
©Lyn Murphy 2010

1 comment:

trevellerlina said...

I always believed in the kindness of strangers...
And powerful women like you.
I came across your blog through cynthia occelli's blog.
Keep up the good work.
a fellow strong (and at times weak) greek woman.