Sunday, 21 February 2010

BETTY WRIGHT: "Clean Up Woman"

I step into the gents of one the shopping malls along Orchard road. I watch the wall in front of me, carelessly, while I surrender to the solution that Mother Nature invented for a man to get rid of his excess liquid intake. Only then I notice the cleaning lady who’s brushing the floor a few metres away from me. For a second, I am confused, as I fear that I may have taken the wrong door and ended up in the ladies in stead of the gents. In Singapore, cleaning teams will generally be split-up by gender. So a male cleaner will clean the male toilets only, while female toilets will be taken care of by a female cleaner. I start to laugh, almost loudly, when I dismiss my silly thought almost immediately: I’ve never seen any woman in the same standing up position like me now, at least not doing what I am doing at this very moment. So the urinals mounted on the wall are no construction error. The lady shambles out of the door.

I conclude my ritual washing my hands and see her standing near the door as I step out. “You should have gone inside into one of the seating toilets”, she says with a smile. “I am a lady, you know”. As if hadn’t noticed that part… But it made me understand what she was hinting at. “Oh, I am not shy, don’t worry”, I smile wittily. “And you could have put a signboard outside, so that nobody would enter while you do your cleaning.” I turned my head a bit and nodded at the typical yellow signboard, jobless and unfolded a bit further on the floor. “Hmm…OK, maybe you are right”, she said. “But it’s very quiet here at this time of the day, so I didn’t expect anyone to enter.” “Oh, but this was really a case of emergency”. I try to look like an innocent toddler, who just peed in his pants and believes that he can get forgiveness from his angry parents by looking as much guilty as he possible can (How ever to outperform Puss in Boots in the Shrek movies?). “Yes, yes, it always is…”, she sighs from under her headscarf.
“Anyway, it’s OK, I go now. Have a nice day!”, I exclaimed cheerfully, as I headed back to the mall. Until now, I am still not sure if effectively I committed a sin against general etiquette, or if another cleaner would not have bothered at all.


Sheron said...

Eeww..that's embarassing for you but funny for yur reader! :))

Chasing-Thoth said...

Ya, humour can be a bit cruel sometimes...