Growing up, my household boasted cleaning ladies. At one time there was a cleaning man. We harassed him like we would harass our own parents. For example, our kindergarden/preschool selves to him: "Are you a woman? You must be a cleaning lady. Only cleaning ladies clean houses." This probably upset him as much as when we were in Thailand last year and a five-year-old tow-headed girl and her little brother asked my female friend, "Are you a boy?" Her response, "No. Are you a boy?" to which the little girl replied, "You look like a boy." My friend told her, "You look like a boy," walked to me and inquired if she did resemble a male. Regardless of her knee-length camouflage pants, wife beater, hair pulled back, and no make-up, I assured her she looked like a female. The little girl later sent her brother to ask my friend if she was a boy. She answered, "No, I'm not a boy! Are you a girl?" He accused her of looking like a boy, she accused him of looking like a girl. My friend and I appraised each other, and I could detect duplicate desires to bitch-slap the tiny adorable blonde boy. And girl. Like the cleaning man left his sanitation position with my family, we left the Thai store, my friend making a face at the young ones as we exited.
As a result of cleaning ladies, my sole knowledge of maintaining a household with a Mr. Clean aroma was making my bed, running the dishwasher/ washing machine, cleaning dishes, and flushing the toilet. Until I entered college. Four years expired before I cleaned a toilet. But I scrubbed floors with the intensity of Michael Phelps. Growing up, the cleaning ladies got blamed for throwing away my stuffed animals, misplacing my $14 ring, and hiding my favorite sweatshirt. Years passed before I accepted that those were my fault. However, in high school I was bewildered to return from school to find my toothbrush brush-down in my hairbrush's bristles multiple times. Week 2 I hid them separately in bathroom drawers only to discover the same outcome. Week 3 I even wrote a note in my expert Espanol: "No ponga cepillo de dientes en el cepillo. Por favor. Mantenga aparte." Week 4 I hid my toothbrush in my closet.
Last week I returned home to ascertain my favorite pillow absconded. After a comprehensive house-search, it was still as absent as Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease 2. My sister located it five days later. It was on my brother's bed in the same pillowcase as another pillow. This week, my friend's phone charger has disappeared like Casper the Ghost. I told him I was sorry, couldn't find it, but was almost certain the cleaning ladies were responsible for mislaying it. His response, "Maybe they hid it, like your pillow. I don't really understand their humor and am not sure I would enjoy staying in their country of origin." Me: "What are you taking about? They're from Mexico. We've been there!"