Once upon a time I was a domestic engineer, in other words I was a cleaner!
Cleaning wasn’t the most glamorous job I’d envisioned having, but it paid some bills and put food on the table. I joined a company and they gave me the job of cleaning a warehouse, (mainly offices and bogs), by myself! So, er, go me!
Apologies if you don’t like the word ‘bog’ but in this case it’s apt. Particularly for the Gents!
I was issued with a tabard, (a most unsexy uniform worn by workers in the catering, cleaning and healthcare industries, in case you didn’t know), pleas for a protective suit and face mask went unheeded, though my supervisor did grant me extra air fresheners and rubber gloves.
The worst part of cleaning is the toilets. It’s a SHIT job, literally!
I had a big sign made up so the Neanderthals would know when the toilets were out of bounds because I, the FEMALE cleaner, was in there cleaning…obvs! Mostly they obeyed the sign which allowed me time to do my thing with the mop and VAT of disinfectant.
But it was in this latrine most foul that my eyes were opened to the depravity of the male species.
Being a sister, wife and mother meant that I had loads of experience with unidentifiable organic life-forms and general man-pong but this was in a different league altogether. We’re talking Biohazard level 3!
Arming myself with two cans of Pine Fresh, (one in each hand), I’d walk up to the Gent’s door, kick it open with a swift boot from my size 4 slip-on and call out..
“YOOOO-HOOOOO, ANYBODY IN HERE”?
Occasionally someone would fart, (man-code for yes), so I’d hover outside wafting a duster about until they exited the room. Then I’d slap the “DO NOT ENTER, CLEANING IN PROGRESS” sign on the door and wade in blasting both cans of air freshener simultaneously, a bit like Lara Croft (if Lara Croft was like Nora Batty)
This ritual was necessary for me to be able to work in that room without falling into a stench induced coma. For those of you who have never cleaned professionally, (specifically toilets), but who do have teenage sons..well, you know that smell when you walk into their bedroom first thing in the morning and you nearly die from the fumes? Well multiply it by, ooh erm, a million and you might get the idea.
Monday was the worst day to clean the Gents because they’d all been on the lash the night before with maybe a curry or a dodgy kebab on the way back from the pub….OK, I’ll leave it there! The graphics are burned into my memory but I’ll spare you!
Removing The Sun, (open at page 3), or the Daily Sport, (open at any page), from at least one of the cubicles was a daily occurrence. There were normally copius amounts of bog roll strewn on the floor, chocolate wrappers and half-eaten pies. Yes PIES!!!
Who the hell eats a PIE on the toilet???
On one occasion I prodded open a cubical door with my mop and saw a vending machine cup on the floor and next to it was a page 3 lady with large breasticles pouting at me.
WARNING!! IT GETS EWWWWWY!!
On closer inspection, the cup was a third full of some transparent liquid and what looked to be a PUBE, floating in it. I’ve seen some sinister looking stuff drop out of the vending machine but never that!
By now you have probably exceeded the maximum on your Vom-o-meter and I apologise but I exceeded mine on day one of the job.
Mums, if you have little boys at home, take a good long look at their innocent little faces. Hold them close to your bosom and savour the moment because in a few years, they too will turn into creatures capable of such foul deeds. I’m warning you, as is my duty.
Then there was the time when the door burst open and in strutted a young man who proceeded to whip Mr Winky-Dinky-Do out into the urinals.
The sign was clearly on the door and I was standing in the middle of the room… I’m small but I’m not a Borrower!
Standing there leaning on my mop, I said, “Oi, didn’t you see the sign on the door?”
He winked at me, (with the eye on his face), and said “Yeeeah, I don’t mind if you don’t, I’m bustin!”
I think I’d been flashed…
Didn’t quite know what to do with that so I Iaughed at him, which was possibly not the reaction he was after!
Nope, this kind of cleaning isn’t for the faint-hearted. You need a certain kind of attitude (or the ability to develop one) and it helps enormously if you have no sense of smell.
My claim to fame is that I came across some graffiti one day that said “I’d sh*g the cleaner”! It’s not everybody who can claim fame on the loo wall. Well classy!
Of course they could have been referring to the previous cleaner who was about 60. And male.
If you see a miserable cleaner, you now know the reason why. Pity them because they’ve seen some bad stuff, you know? If you see a smiling cleaner, they’ll most likely be high on a concoction of tranqs and disinfectant!
“Golly, I just love cleaning toilets”. Said no cleaning lady ever.
This post is dedicated to Sheerie, as promised. xXx