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Luxury Hotel Housekeeper For a Day

Martha Camarillo Removing a dining service.

Photo: Martha Camarillo

And I did improve! You wouldn’t believe how much more carefully I watched Gjuner clean room No. 1623. It was so inspiring I almost offered to help put the new supply of chocolates in the candy dish (six dark, six milk). But I was too exhausted. “Would it be rude of me to sit down?” I asked Gjuner, wretched at having interrupted her while she was making the bed. Gjuner removed the duvet from the just-vacuumed chair (we room attendants never put linens on the floor!) and suggested I help myself to some chocolate.

Help myself?That constitutes work, doesn’t it?And yet, as our shift ended, and Gjuner noticed the $20 tip on the table by the door and insisted that I take half, I graciously declined. “To see a job well done,” I told her, “is payment enough.”

When I mention to friends that I learned how to be a housekeeper at the St. Regis, they ask for cleaning tips. “Don’t hire me,” I say. “No, really,” they say. “Is your apartment cleaner now?” I do not tell them, but in fact, at this moment, it is dirtier. Last night, in an effort to emulate Gjuner, I swept the floor of my kitchen. So far, so good. And then I dropped the Dustbuster on my foot. My foot has not recovered, I now own a busted Dustbuster, and how am I supposed to clean up all that grit and junk?I’d ask Gjuner, but she’s busy.

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