Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Venn Is Now

It's a very long time since I have been part of someone's domestic staff.  I think the last time was about 1983 when I was a self-employed babysitter and one of my families also hired a nanny.  She had the misfortune to live in.  (I was a grown up, lived out, and paid my own taxes and NI.)  Misfortune, because the gentleman of the house would contrive to walk in on her while dressing.  Even now it makes me shudder.  He once offered me a shoulder-rub one night, while his wife was in hospital just having given birth. 

Anyway.  At my morning job there is a cleaner.  I cannot remember where she is from but she speaks perfect English and it is likely she is capable of more than cleaning.  I feel really uncomfortable when she is there because I seem to be slightly up the domestic scale.  I am permitted to help myself to Nespresso, and food from the fridge.  If the Boy is sleeping when we come back from our walk, I entertain myself by reading shiny magazines.  The Cleaner hoovers aggressively.  She does seem quite nice, although she pointedly said "So he's still not talking, then?", as though it might be my fault.  Actually he says five recognisable words now, none of which count as swearing.  It is still mainly a one-sided conversation, but I can talk for hours about nothing.  As is probably fairly obvious...

It feels like we are a Venn diagram.  She does her domestic thing; I do mine.  I try and keep us out of her tornado path.  And then there is the intersection where we kind of do the same thing.  We both clean in the kitchen, we both tidy a bit (though I tidy better).  And she sometimes tells me when the Boy has woken up, as she hoovers aggressively and I read the shiny magazines.  I feel guilty then. 

You would think that both being domestics there would be a certain camaraderie, but perhaps this is what it was like in service - a kind of suspicion of each other, an odd feeling of being resented for having Nespresso privileges.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really interesting observation...I wonder if she has thought about it too. Brilliantly observed and written usual. J