There’s an old Hollywood trope which holds that if you visit an office building in the middle of the night, the people you are most likely to encounter are the cleaning crew. I call this a Hollywood trope because, in my experience, it is in fact something which is true only in the movies. I see the cleaning crew at my office building during normal, daylight business hours pretty much all the time.
And sometimes they kind of drive me nuts. I can see a certain wisdom in going around mid-morning to empty every cubicle’s wastebasket, I guess, but closing the men’s room for cleaning at 10 a.m.? That is some pretty prime post-morning-coffee time right there, isn’t it? There’s also frequent afternoon vacuuming in my particular cube farm, which rankles me beyond all reason. It only affects me to the extent of messing with my concentration and being generally annoying, but on behalf of my co-workers who actually have to interact with other people face-to-face or on the phone, and who end up raising their voices above the motor sounds (or giving up entirely until the vacuumer passes by) I take umbrage. I think everyone should be entitled to make a decent living with dignity and have a good life, and I get how part of that is working during the working part of the day insofar as that’s possible, but surely the vacuuming part of the housekeeping job can wait until after 5 p.m.
But funny enough I saw a member of the cleaning crew today with the industrial vacuum canister strapped to his back, and I smiled. Because, this past Saturday night, I took the kids over to their mother’s clinic after hours for a quick visit since she would be staying late to set up for Open House. As I mentioned yesterday, a thorough cleaning of the premises was part of the set-up agenda, and given how busy they are on a regular basis they really had no choice but to wait until after the doors were closed and locked for the night. At that point, out came the spray bottles and rags … and the industrial vacuum with canister backpack.
Nobody was using the vacuum cleaner while we were there, so it was simply leaned against a counter where it eventually caught the attention of the little guy, who wandered over to check it out up close. I asked him what it was, and he informed me that it was “a hot dog pump”. He then proceeded to show me how the hot dogs were made in the main cylinder and then pumped out through the attached hose, all explained without the slightest hesitation or doubt.
So of course now I very much want a hot dog pump for our house because I believe that would be incredibly useful. But barring that, at least I’m more amused than usual when I see the cleaning crew at work roaring my way.