Saturday, April 14, 2007

Memoirs of a Cleaning Lady

Or, Things I Think About While I’m Scrubbing Toilets

By day, I’m an author. I speak at schools about writing, I lead a young writers group, I teach writing workshops at conferences, and I sign books. At night, however, I enter a different world. I’m a cleaning lady. I wear mismatched shorts and shirts and dirty tennis shoes. I scrub toilets and salon sinks full of hair. I take out the garbage and mop floors. It’s kind of a reverse Cinderella thing.

Now I’ve noticed a slight disparity between my two worlds. Often, as I clean offices, I’ve run into several corporate employees. Their reactions to me as a cleaning lady are much different than others reactions to me as an author. Some try to avoid looking me in the eyes, and they often look embarrassed when our eyes meet. Others raise their eyebrows and look down on me. I’ve run into a couple people who know me, and they react with a shocked, “What are you doing here?” I guess they never expected to see a National Merit Finalist who graduated cum laude with a degree in accounting mopping floors. At night, I’m just an uneducated cleaning lady—not an author. I shouldn’t even be speaking English according to the prejudices of the day.

What’s even more interesting is my reaction to being seen as a cleaning lady. Quite honestly, it’s one of embarrassment. I actually did my best to hide (successfully) from a former high school classmate-turned-lawyer who was on the high school Mock Trial team with me. In my mind, I would have died if he knew that the girl who wanted to be the first woman attorney general of the United States (pre-Janet Reno) was cleaning his office. The truth is: I simply don’t want people to see me as a cleaning lady. I want them to see me as an author. I guess I’m just as prejudiced as everyone else. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t care what other people thought. I guess if I fully understood the love God has for each of us, I would see that jobs, education, and social status do not determine a person’s worth. I’m going to have to work on that.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

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