B Street (not its real name) is a large Public Housing Complex. It caters mostly to those on Welfare payments, and those in very low paying employment.
Many of the residents have problems with substance abuse; have prison records and anti social behaviours that render them undesirable in the private rental market.
We were the common area cleaners at B Street for four-days-a-week over a period of more than four years. We cleaned up after drunken parties and fights – the broken bottles and the blood smeared on the doors and walls. We cleaned up the kitchens after the late night efforts to cook up a feast while horribly inebriated. And we cleaned up the bathrooms decorated with all manner of bodily fluids.
We choked on the fine powder from fire extinguishers deliberately discharged in fits of rage. We glanced anxiously over our shoulders as we heard the sounds of breaking furniture and voices raised in anger.
We were threatened and abused. We called ambulances for seizures and drug overdoses. We saw the Police rush in to attend to domestic violence reports, and we witnessed people escorted off the premises in handcuffs.
How incredibly glad we were when we had an offer of another job - a job where we would be cleaning offices – nice, clean, quiet, civilized offices. Our last day at B Street was a great cause for celebration. We handed over the keys to the new cleaner and heaved a massive sigh of relief. No more B Street, we told each other. How wonderful.
Life is full of disappointments. We found out that our marvellous new job was about to end unexpectedly.
For a day or two we reeled from the blow. But then we got right down to the business of seeking alternative employment. We put ads in the paper. We contacted the company for which we had previously done sub contract work. and we put the word around in general that we were back in the job market.
Then today I got the call. They are tentatively offering us B Street again. It’s certainly not a done deal as yet, but, considering the circumstances, I just know it soon will be.
I should be breathing a sigh of relief. We are not going to be out on the street after all. But how can I rejoice at the thought of going back to that???
If you’re a praying person, please pray that our newspaper ads and our private enquiries bear fruit. Even if you don’t pray – please just send heaps of positive thoughts our way. We won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If it is our lot to be back cleaning B Street, then we will accept it and be grateful.
But oh to have another option?
©Lyn Murphy 2011