A Texan in Yaletown

Mother of pearl am I sore today. And it isn’t all Charlie’s fault. Though the thought of seeing him tomorrow at Cross Fit frightens me a little.


Today, I cleaned the smallest apartment I’ve ever cleaned with a rather significant Texan trying to live there. I will call this client Tex. Tex is terribly incongruent in this Yaletown one bedroom designed for a teacup poodle who fits inside the tiny Gucci purse of a tiny Tokyo fashionista. Tex should be in a sprawling rancher, horses, cattle, fields of oil. Tex has a voice strong enough to yell over two sections of land to converse with the neighbor. Tex is a generous garrulous go-get-‘er person by nature, I can tell. But the brow furrows when cramped into such a tiny space. How does Tex even squish past the little swish white plastic “breakfast nook” stools to get into that little corner to watch the television? How does Tex get out of either side of the bed without tripping over a chord, banging an appendage on the dresser, falling back, smashing through the floor to ceiling window and plummet to an untimely death?


Tex had many complaints. It wasn’t that the apartment wasn’t nice, it was very chic. It wasn’t that the maid before me was that bad, it’s just hard to clean such a cramped space. It wasn’t even that Tex was upset about any of it really, I could just tell Tex was tired of having to walk sideways to get down the hall without knocking a picture off the wall. Tex was tired of dealing with Canadian funny money and the beggars on the street and Chinese food that actually tasted like food from China.


I thought, “Oh crap, I’m never going to get out of here. I’m never going to make this person happy. I hate it when the client is home. And Tex wants me to use those little sanitary wipes instead of my own cloth and environmentally friendly cleaner?! Terrible! Gross! Impossible!”


I look over at Tex who is trying to make business calls while eating hamburger helper off some kind of high tech TV tray. “With the dust in this apartment, the last thing we need  is to catch a cold. Those wipes are for you to use.”


I sigh. Is that what Tex really needs? Clorox wipes? No. Tex needs a little Canadian hospitality.


I wipe down the outside of the kitchen cupboards with those diaper wet ones to satisfy Tex and then I sneak around with my own stuff the rest of the way through.


I scrub and I scrub and I do all the extras like clean out the dust in the fan and wipe out the fridge. Tex raises an eyebrow and asks, “Lucia, is that Italian?” “Yup.” I get down on my hands and knees and wipe all the edging and hand clean all the floors, even under the furniture. Tex watches me out of the corner of an eye. “I’m in the film industry…” “Oh yeah?” We chit chat a bit about BC’s shitty lack of tax break and how the film business is going out of Vancouver, out of Canada, out of North America even. I take the vacuum hose to the sofa.


Tex says, “But I do love Canada. Don’t get me wrong. And this location is great. And I love the view of the mountains…” Warming up.


I wipe out the inside of the cupboards and clean the glass table tops with precision.


“And the people in Canada are real friendly…” Adds Tex.


And I grab a note pad and I write down http://wildricebc.ca – a local fusion Asian restaurant Tex is sure to like. And also http://lataqueria.ca/gallery/cambie/ the closest we might get to a decent taco. Tex is so glad, “I’m going to go and then I’ll blog about it” Tex says. I want to add, “Oh yeah, I blog too!” But decided against it, knowing Tex would probably be my subject matter for today.


By the time I leave I have spent over an hour longer than I’m paid to, but I feel very proud of the work. And Tex has gone from being a cramped little crumpet to an expansive American once again.


“How are the schools here in Canada? Are they much different from the States? If one was to bring their family?”


The first thing that comes to my mind is “Yes, we don’t have mass murderers running around with machine guns killing the students”. But I decide against it. I simply talk a bit about our public system, French immersion and Montessori.


I pack up my things, offer to recycle for Tex and head out the door.


I dare say Tex strolls – ambles – sashays – over to me – suddenly feeling more space – and stuffs a twenty in my pocket and thanks me ever so much.


Now that was a satisfying day.

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