I'd like to call on a moment of respect for all the hardworking cleaners out there.
My newfound appreciation stems from the experience I've had working as a cleaner in the past couple of months. My parents recently bought a cleaning business and I've had to kiss goodbye a fair few days in order to help them clean out entire houses, and to help maintain a contract with a huge three-part caravan park, cleaning three sets of bathrooms and 3-7 park homes everyday.
Today we worked on the latter, and let me tell you, I am knackered.
Bleaching and scrubbing toilets, wiping filthy mirrors and sinks, and getting stubborn marks off walls are just a few examples of what these jobs involve.
The worst part is the unmentionable states of some of the toilets I come across - and not only in the men's toilets, interestingly enough.
I have to admit, back before this business happened, I believed a cleaner was a lazy person who chose not to study and instead ended up scrubbing toilets for a living. I thought it was easy, simple, like a job at Maccas. Wrong. The jobs that we have to do actually require a whole lot of dedication. You can zone out a little and let your mind rest, but your body is constantly mopping, scrubbing, and sweeping, and your muscles soon cry out for a break! But you have to be time-efficient. In the caravan park, for example, each of the toilet blocks are scheduled at a specific time in which no one is allowed to shower, so you can't be late, or else people get grumpy.
The other week... and I'm going to be real pleasant here... Tom and I were approached by the park owner who told us that there had been an outbreak of gastro in one of the park areas. He requested that we use a strong eucalyptus disinfectant and go over absolutely EVERYTHING, taking an extra two hours on top of the usual time the job takes. Needless to say, I barely let myself breathe in while dealing with those toilets.
I've helped work on public holidays - including Australia Day, and Easter - to save Mum having to pay other workers $50 an hour. While people are barbequing by day, I'm in there wiping away their greasy marks. When people spend their nights vomiting out all the celebratory alcohol.... yeah enough said hey.
It all sounds horrible, but actually, sometimes I have fun. On one occasion, my stepdad Ondy, made me laugh by casually stating something along the lines of, 'I feel really good about this. Here we are, on a public holiday, and we're wiping away diseases. People won't get aids and other things because of us. Cleaners! Saving the world, one toilet at a time!'
"Cleaners!", I yelled, punching my cleaning rag into the air.
So I just wanted to say, next time you see those daggy looking people wheeling a trolley full of cleaning gear, and you feel like ignoring them, don't. Smile, look them in the eyes, and don't hesitate to thank them for keeping the place clean. They work damn hard to keep your hygiene standards satisfied, and I think they deserve a good high five for their efforts.