The Cleaning Lady Tells All

I often have a smoke and chat with a cleaning lady while we wait for our bus together. I really like her. She has this habit where she talks with her mouth nearly closed, which may be a cultural thing, or it may be because of the crooked and partially rotten teeth in the front of her mouth. This habit of hers makes it difficult for me to hear her, because I am a bit of a lip reader. No, I am not deaf, at least that I know of. Ever since I was a little kid, whenever I took off my glasses, I couldn’t hear as well. My father told me that studies had shown that near-sighted people tended to lip read when they listened to people talk, but they didn’t know exactly why. My reliance on lip reading has become much more pronounced over the years, and now I find myself constantly asking people to repeat themselves if they don’t move their lips enough when they talk or if they have their mouth hidden somehow (if their head is turned away or looking down).

I really like this woman, though, so I feel awfully bad that I don’t know her name. I remember asking for it on two different occasions when we first met. The first time, I didn’t catch it, and the second time it flew right through the sometime empty space between my ears. Since then, I have tried to think of a way to bring up what her name is, but I always think that I will come off sounding like a ginormous boob. What’s really bad is that I remember her friend’s name clearly, and she doesn’t even catch the bus with us anymore.

The point of this whole thing is not at all the fact that this woman talks with her mouth closed or that I cannot remember her name. The point is actually the weird food things she has come across while cleaning up after students when they move out of the dorms that she cleans. I have been very, very poor at times in the past and have had to come up with creative means to feed myself, but these people took it just a little too far.

One time, she had to call up a student over Christmas break because the student’s pet birds were not allowed in the dorm. It turns out that the birds weren’t pets. This student had caught a pair of garden-variety, city pigeons and was keeping them in his room for their eggs. He had been eating pigeon eggs for most of the term and was quite put out that he was not allowed to keep them.

Then, a few months ago, she was cleaning out a room after a student moved out, and when she looked in the garbage she caught sight of what looked like fur. When she took a second tentative peek, its furness was unmistakable. She moved it around with a stick for a bit, but her curiosity got the better of her and she lifted it out of the trash can. It was a rabbit skin fairly fresh from the corpse. It wasn’t one of those wild jackrabbits that run around here either but the skin from a black and white spotted cottontail. The cottontails around the university are offspring from some lab rabbits that were freed at the university a few years ago, so I doubt that they make for incredibly safe eating. I can't help but wonder if the student actually skinned the thing in his room. Ew and extra ew.

The third strange thing my friend had to relate to me has nothing to do with strange eating habits and more to do with the ew feeling. An adult man much older than your average dorm resident had snuck in an extra roommate, which is against the rules. Usually, if your other roommates are cool with it, then no one will say anything, but in this instance they complained. At first, everything was cool, because the new secret roommate was this adult man’s teenage daughter, but before too long the fact that the two were sharing a single bed, and probably not in a socially accepted familial way, became apparent. Ew. The weird thing is that the university kicked out the daughter and not the father.

I just about forgot to put in this picture of a red truck! I took it with my camera, and I like it very much. (Excuse the lack of clarity due to my downsizing the original in Photoshop and then enlarging it).

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