I think it’s safe to assume that at this point in human history, what with a global recession, the end of capitalism, overpopulation and a proliferation of extreme bullshittery (see: the existence of doggie butt covers),
that everyone will end up working at least one job that they really don’t give a rat’s ass (cover) about. For a lot of us, especially those with college degrees in the arts, they will probably be the only “real” jobs we ever have. I’ve been working jobs like this ever since I was 15, when I interviewed for a position as a cashier at a chain grocery store and the new manager–a transplant from Alabama named Woody, who was married to a woman named Candy–asked me if I saw myself having a career in the grocery business. And, like anyone who was looking forward to a career as a maybe-successful-but-ultimately-still-starving-artist, I said, “Yes,” because I knew it was the first of many, many times I would have to pretend to care more about a job than I actually do.
Today, however, I almost stopped pretending entirely, and would have probably been fired on the spot for it. It’s because my manager, and the owner of the restaurant/bar at which I currently work, compared her slightly dirty restaurant to a “shithole.”
Picture this: You walk into a bar. The staff–good-looking girls, all–greets you immediately. You sit at the bar, or at a table, and within seconds you have a drink in front of you and have ordered food. This place seems pretty chill: cool artwork on the walls, fun music, the staff is friendly and everything seems pretty clea–ho. ly. shit. What the HELL is THAT?! Is that a fucking FRENCH FRY on the FLOOR? What kind of place IS this? Who the HELL runs this SHITHOLE?!
I can only imagine this is what my manager assumes runs through the minds of customers who come in after our lunch rush, before we’ve had a chance to sweep the floor, and causes them to determine right then and there to never come back to this heinous insult to the hospitality industry again. A single stray fry was enough for her to tell us that customers don’t want to come back to a place that looks like a “shithole,” so we really need to up our game and keep the place clean.
It took all my self-control not to burst out laughing, because I have seen shitholes, my friends. Literal holes into which piles of shit have collected. Toilets in rural Haiti that I had to stand over because cockroaches were crawling out of them. Holes through which I shat while maggots matured in the feces below.
Seriously, this place is clean. I don’t care where you’re reading this right now–you could be reading this in Aaron’s room (which really isn’t as messy as he makes it out to be) and it still does not merit the term “shithole.” There are places in the world much, much dirtier than anywhere in the United States (save those cities that our national conscience has decided to forget), and guess what? People still live there. Yeah, they do. They even thrive there. You know why? Because our standards for cleanliness are, honestly, way too fucking high. At the risk of sounding like a dirty hippie: Do you need to shower everyday? If you’re sweaty, if you’re covered in dirt, if you threw up on yourself because of that last Jagerbomb, then you should probably at least give yourself a good rinsing. But showering everyday is a luxury, granted to those of us with consistent access to clean water. Sanitizing our floors and washing our windows three times a day (again, something I have to do at this job) are luxuries granted by the affordability of cleaning products and the fact that we don’t need to think about chemical runoff from such products getting into our groundwater.
So, America: get over being clean, please. And please tell my manager that, when I arrived at work today, I hadn’t washed my hair in about a week.