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Crossing the thin line – the Cleaner

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, a professional cleaner. She cleans apartments where some employees of a big company live in. The employees are in their twenties or so.

For sure, the rooms and common facilities are always very dirty. She knows that and tolerates it. But yesterday she’s found a used condom in one of the room, together with some toilet paper, right beside the bed, clearly visible.

She now refuses to go back in that apartment, saying that the boys know when she comes to clean and that was not only filthy but totally disrespectful of her person.

Now, I have nothing against condoms, I think they do save lives, and I am glad this guy used it.

But still, I wonder: why was she not bothered too much – after all – by the rubbish on the kitchen floor, the mould on the food leftovers on the dirty plates, by the poo staining the wc, then? Why did that condom made her take the decision to talk to her employer and to refuse to go in that apartment again? Was it simply too much?

I thought about that and I actually think that there is something more to it. It has to do with the fact that, ok, you can be messy – and it’s her job to clean. But if you leave to her your used condom it means: “I do whatever I want to – and you clean” and that is different. She didnt feel considered as a person – but just as a “human vacuum cleaner”, she felt she was not respected. That guy’s action simply was on the other side of the line she couldnt cross, otherwise she would have felt too bad.

She had the chance to speak with the guy living there. He justified himself saying that he didnt think she was the person going there to clean, he thought she just coordinated the cleaning but wasnt the person actually doing it. Exactly. In the end “I dont know you, I may as well not respect you”.

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