Not everybody goes on holiday. The cleaning lady comes in and cleans. It feels like a holiday to her because there are no people to work around. Usually they get in the way of actually doing a good job, but on a public holiday she gets every corner cleaned and when the hoards return she breathes a sigh of relief in the knowledge of this fact.

She comes into the building and works from the left to the right in each hallway. She goes into each office, dusts the desks, window sills, corners of the walls and the puts the duster down, picks up her duct cleaning in Melbourne. She plugs in the hose at the duct in the wall and whisks it around the room and under the table, sometimes even on top of the table, if there is no paperwork in the way. This takes all but five minutes for each office.

It always amazes her how much faster she can work when then is nobody in the building. The convenience of ducted cleaning allows her to do her job efficiently with no mess or fuss. The hose easily plugs into the duct without any electric cords to work around. There is also no dust pouch that has to be emptied. This means no sneezing for her either. 

It’s wonderful to think that a single cleaning lady can sufficiently clean an entire four-story building, and still be able to go home early.

The ease of the job stuns her 6-year-old daughter who comes with her on occasion to keep her company. “Wow, Mom, you did that so fast. Can I give it a try?” And her daughter does.

It’s also a wonder for her to pick up little trinkets that people have in their offices from holidays abroad. The best trinket she’s seen was a green baby elephant, painted in fine Indian detail and decorated with gold as a saddle and a lead. By looking at them she gets the sense that she herself has traveled and explored these far off lands. Another man had a magnificent painting of blue crane with it’s wings outstretched flying over a wetland.

These are things she never gets to appreciate on an ordinary day. Public holidays become extraordinary when she can clean and have the time leftover to admire these trinkets, additionally.

It somehow makes her feel closer to people who barely notice that she’s there. A way to get to know them even if they don’t want to know her.