April 24, 2009

The Tale of the maid from hell

Maid from hell
Image from: Crunchyroll

Did I ever tell you about the maid from hell? No, not that one. A different one. I searched and I didn't find any mention so here goes:

This maid had an terrible attitude from the very beginning. She seemed to forget who was the dueña and who was the worker. She argued about everything. I knew that was a bad sign. I've seen how maids act around their Honduran bosses and I knew it was NOT like this.

Hey, I'm nice, I'm reasonable, I'm tranquila. Really I am. I don't yell or call anyone stupid. I'm patient. I'm grateful for the help so I treat people like I would want to be treated. I generally let the workers do their own thing at their own pace, within reason as long it is isn't going to damage our things. El Jefe tells me that I'm too nice and too friendly. But this girl had Attitude.

After a generally unpleasant morning, the girl was washing dishes. Bang! Bang! Clunk! Clatter! Clunk! I've never heard such a noise from washing dishes. She was tossing them into the sink for rinsing and then piling them up precariously to dry, where if one thing slipped, they would all go crashing.

I asked her to be careful so as not to break anything. She said, "No, I'm not going to break anything." I tried to show her how to stack the dishes neatly on the racks so they wouldn't slip and break. "No, they are fine." I explained how stacking the heavy pots on top of the delicate things wasn't a good idea. "No, don't worry. This is how I always do it." "But this is how I want it done." In response: Bang, bang, clatter!, as she tossed a few more dishes into the sink.

Finally, I started rearranging the dishes myself and found a big chunk broken out of one of the bowls. "Look," I calmly said. "This is what happens when you aren't careful with the dishes." Rather than an apology or at least a little embarrassment, I got yelled at. "No! I didn't do that! It was already there! You must have done it!"

Ooh-ooh-oooh. I was dumbfounded. I felt my ears turning red and my hair standing on end. If there is one thing I can't stand, it is chipped dishes so if it had been chipped before it would have been burned into my brain. I would have noticed it at lunch. It was also the third time that a maid had ruined something and tried to blame it on me! Can you imagine the stupidity of that?

There are only two people living in this house and we don't lie to each other or blame our mistakes on others. I know that bleach poured straight on my sheets will burn holes in them. I know that a brillo pad will ruin non-stick pans. I know how to turn on something without breaking the handle off, and what is more, El Jefe knows that I know these things! But somehow these maids think that El Jefe will believe them, a complete stranger, over me. It's crazy.

I thought for just a few seconds and realized that if we were off to such a bad start on the very first morning, it would only be downhill from there, and a waste of time to try to reason with her. I don't like confrontation, but I looked her in the eyes and said ....

"Leave my house." She stared at me in disbelief. "Get your purse and get out of my house!", I clarified. "But you wanted me to work!" she argued again. "I'm not going to have anyone in MY house who breaks my things and then lies about it." "But, I didn't do it! But, but....." "Out! I'll get your pay. I don't want you here." And out she went.

So much for being tranquila. I have to say that it felt good. I enjoyed it. Heheheh! Nobody is going to push around La Gringa anymore. I'd like to say that I hoped that the girl learned a lesson, but I really doubt that.

There is another side to this story. El Jefe had been working outside that day with a long time worker Carlos. Carlos was very aware of the problems we've had with undependable and thieving maids and had even warned us a couple of times. El Jefe had been in and out of the house a few times and had heard some of the conversations. I had also been outside to get his advice about the best Honduran way to handle her disagreeableness, so they both knew a little about the difficulties we were having.

It seems that they had a bet going. El Jefe said that the maid would only last a week. Carlos only gave her two days. So when we both came storming out the front door, barely after lunchtime on the first day, with me shoving some money into her hands, they both burst out laughing.

The maid made one last parting plea to El Jefe, but he told her, "She's the boss."
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