In the heart of slow season, there is a lot of down time during which I like to bond with Elida the maid. Well, it isn’t as much bonding as me trying to think of useful things for her to do during the six hours she’s scheduled to work everyday.
She hands out the print edition of my website www.thepanamareport.com to various upscale restaurants in the neighborhood which is extremely helpful. She cleans all the dirty laundry and washes all the dishes which is crucial. But beyond those daily tasks, if the hotel is empty, Elida is left pretty bored so I try to come up with entertaining tasks.
This week, for example, I taught her how to make my famous tuna sandwiches, sans mayo of course. She enjoyed the recipe and will probably make it again some time.
When she’s at a loss for something to do, Elida will sometimes propose an idea. “Maybe I clean books today” she once said. I didn’t even know you could clean books, but OK. She must’ve spent twenty minutes on my dictionary alone! This was great!
I’ve also started to trust her with phone calls as well. “Yes this Elida calling for Senor Matt Landau” she started off with. I like how she uses Senor which suggests that I am old and experienced, while usually I’m sitting beside her giggling. “Yes Senor Matt like to ask you no to send him more advertisement emails.” She paused and I made the hand signal movie producers do when they want the actors to improvise a bit. Go on I implied. “Yes we no have time for no emails anymore. Please stop. Thank you for thinking.” And then she hung up.
It was brilliant.
I’ll send her to pick things up and drop things off because she’s reliable as a groundhog. At one point, the guy making my business cards refused to deliver them. “Yes I here for business cards from Senor Matt Landau” she said, “and for next time, you come to my office for to drop it off.”
In other down time, Elida will iron my T-shirts or wash my shoes; all of which has a very cleansing effect on my wellbeing. When you live in a clean environment, you tend to think more clearly and when I first told Elida this, she took it as a challenge, gong of on a cleaning rampage; performing the equivalent of a full cavity search of the office only to find several loose coins and an old granola bar that’d become affixed to the warm power strip.
Elida Mendoza is making a case for person of the year. She’s grown out of the role of cleaning woman and into that of personal saint, helping me literally and figuratively anywhere in my life that needs the aid. I plan on officially writing her a promotion one of these days. Then again, maybe I’ll have her do it.