Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The working life: The impressionable cleaning boy‏

This is a situation I have never faced before.

What do you do when the young man who cleans your hotel room develops (apparently) a crush on you? A harmless crush (I hope), but a crush nonetheless, one that involves leaving a mash note and a rose?

I want to discourage any further action on his part, not only because I am not interested in a 22-year-old cleaning guy, although there is a lot to find attractive about a man who knows how to and will clean a bathroom and who fluffs the pillows just right, but also because I am sure that this kind of behavior would not be looked upon kindly by his employer and he might find them to be his former employer.

It all started on Sunday after I had returned from my exploring trip through town, a trip that included a visit to Carrefour to look for Pringles flavors that are not available at home. SH and I have found some amazing Pringles flavors abroad: The Thai Pepper flavor we found at the Costco in England remains one of our favorites.

But the only exotic flavors to be found at Carrefour were ketchup. I guess that's "flavor to be found was ketchup." And really, I don't consider ketchup to be exotic. A ketchup-flavored potato chip held no appeal.

Then I spied the flavored pappadams in a can. Pappadams, not potatoes. Black pepper, cumin, and one other flavor I can't remember. I got one of each and carried them back to the hotel, where I realized that they all sounded like they had been reduced to crumbs, which makes me think that the great achievement of the P&G engineers is designing a package that protects the chips, not in designing something that tastes fabulous.

Perhaps the pappadam engineers have created a delicious, if fragmented, chip. We'll find out when I get them home.

Anyhow. I was back at the hotel and had removed the cans from the shopping bag. I had them on the desk. Someone knocked on the door. I opened it - it was a young man holding a towel. 

"I had to get another towel to finish your room," he explained. "May I come in?"

I stepped aside. He pushed the door open and made sure that it would stay open. He walked quickly into the bathroom, put the towel away, and walked back out. On his way out, he spied the cans of pappadams. 

"You like pappadams?" he asked.

I explained that I had not tried these - that they were for my husband in lieu of Pringles.

He shook his head. "Homemade are better. Tomorrow, I bring you homemade. Your husband will like them."

He continued to chat and I smiled and nodded and thought, "OK, this conversation should be over by now," but he was sincere that I didn't have the heart to shut him down.

The next day, he phoned my room. Unfortuunately, he phoned at 6:35 p.m., two hours into my afternoon nap that I had not intended to end until 7:00 p.m., when I had to get up for a mandatory dinner with a client. I was not happy to get an unsolicited wake-up call.

He asked if he could bring the pappadams to my room. Sure, whatever, I yawned.

He brought a huge bag full of raw pappadams from the grocery store.

Technically, these would not qualify as "home made." But it was still sweet, although I was not happy that someone who makes as little money as he probably does was spending money on me. It was about five dollars worth of pappadams and to that point, I had tipped him only four dollars.

He explained how to cook them. I thanked him, yawned, and closed the door.

This morning, I had to run back up to my room at 10:00 a.m. because the customer who was supposed to pick me up at 9:15 still hadn't appeared. I sent an email and waited for a reply. 

I heard a knock at the door.

It was the cleaning guy again. "I ask my mother how to make the pappadams," he beamed. "Just a little oil. That's all."

I thanked him again and told him that I was sure my husband would like them.

I closed the door. Went on about my business. Had my meetings. Came back to the hotel at 5:30 p.m. to discover the note and the rose on the desk.

My first thought was, "Sweet."

My second thought was, "Creepy."

My third thought was, "If I tell the hotel management, he will be fired."

My fourth thought was, "Why would anyone do something so stupid?"

I heard a knock at the door. "Housekeeping."

I froze.

Now this was getting way more creepy. I didn't open the door. I had already put the latch on.

I am writing a note to him to tell him never to do this kind of thing again.


MomQueenBee said...

Creepy, creepy, creepy. If he'd awakened me during my nap there would have been no further problem because I would have pushed his cold, lifeless body under the bed with my toe. (Of course, this is coming from a woman who threatened to smother her elderly mother-in-law with a pillow if she ever called again on a Sunday afternoon.)

Evelynne said...

I am ... nonplussed.

You keep mentioning your husband, and he's mentioning your husband AND his mother. Is there some sort of cultural difference here? Is this level of flirting with hot foreign ladies perfectly appropriate in this country? Because technically that note just acknowledges your sweetness and beauty, right? How confusing.

Class factotum said...

MQB, nobody should disturb a person's nap. Your reaction was the proper one.

Evelynne - I didn't get it at all. Maybe I reminded him of his mother?

Anonymous said...

Disturbing your nap wasn't right, but in that neck of the woods, I'm confident in saying that he was probably not trying to pick you up.

There is a very high value put on hospitality and generosity there, and I always found the locals (and people from other Muslim countries working in the hotels) to be very sweet and quite innocent. So while you read his note as inappropriate, it was probably not his intention.

Still makes a great story, though!

Jen on the Edge said...

It's creepy, but as Rubiatonta said, there could be cultural norms at work.