Carmoleta has been our bookstore's cleaning lady for the past five years. She's the typical Mexican stereotype: short, full-figured, broken English and a heart of gold. Her family owns a custodial business, and her particular franchise services many Barnes & Nobles within the Chicago area - including my own.
I like Carmoleta a lot. Her work ethic goes above & beyond daily sweeping, mopping, and dusting...and she occasionally brings us homemade tamales. She washes our breakroom dishes (not her job). If her crew finishes early, she has them dust the bookfloor shelves (also not her job). And on the all-too-frequent occasion when a customer has a "code brown" in the restroom, Carmoleta has no qualms cleaning shit off the toilet. Or the walls. Or occasionally, the ceiling.
Now, please understand, I didn't ask Carmoleta to do this. I did tell her about the cell phone when she came in, but I also told her that I didn't want her to unclog it, herself…I'd call a plumber. But there must have been a communication gap...or, Carmoleta was feeling especially nice. In either case, she removed the phone with an expertise of having done it many times before. I couldn't help but wonder what else she'd dislodged from toilets - with nothing but her hands.
At times, reeeeeeeeeally gross.
And it's worse when their grossness is completely unintentional, because its part of their culture, or job-related desensitization.
Tonight I learned that Carmoleta feels the same way about poop as a plumber, a nurse, or the guy who cleans out Port-O-Potties: an "eh," followed by shrugged shoulders. Apparently, fecal matter is a common enough work hazard that she doesn't even bother to wear gloves when near it. Like a gardener around dirt. Or a chef around cornmeal.
In that sense, I guess it makes sense for a Carmoleta to have both cooking & cleaning supplies.
I just hope she keeps them in different buckets.