Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cleanliness is one step closer to god(liness)

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
That's what Helen Keller said. But you know, she was deaf and blind already.  She didn't have all that much to lose. 

The Saigonese are like Helen Keller.  And I know, when I think rationally about it that this bold and fearless attitude is a by-product of the fatalism that is predominant in many Asian cultures.  The idea that all life is suffering, and suffering cannot be avoided, and that when death wants to appear it will, and it cannot be prevented.  And also I know that I am putting a positive spin on it when I call it 'bold and fearless'. 

Behold the view from my balcony.  

Look at all those 2 and 3 storey high rooftops

Isn't is lovely?  All the rooftops glistening in the sunshine. We are on the 5th floor.  But it's probably closer to 7 storeys up, given that you have to go up a flight of steps to get to the ground floor, and that this building uses British counting - level 1 is Ground, level 2 is First etc.  So,we're on 5th, but it's really level 6.   Quite high up, right?

This is the view down between the railings.  See how tiny the motorbikes are?

So, imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw the maid here:

She was perched on the rail, cleaning it.  With a bucket and a rag and no fear at all.

You know, even my brother Joseph at 6 years old had more sense.  He is famous for climbing the pear tree in our back yard with a rope tied around his waist "for safety" - he said.  The rope dangled below him like a monkey's tail and wasn't attached to anything, but at least he thought about safety. 

Now, I'm not really down with having dead maids to deal with.  Just in case you were wondering. 

(And this all happened about 20 minutes ago, so I'm still kind of shocked.) 

I didn't want to startle her, so I didn't say anything to her while she was up there. But the handyman appeared (who knows why?  My apartment is like a train station of handypersons.  And suicidal maids.) and I made a horror face at him and gestured wildly.  And he laughed at me.

And then he spoke to the maid and I think he might have told her to get down, or to be careful or something because then she arranged her face into a very grimly determined expression and reached to ever more dangerous reaches.  And they all laughed at me, because the whole reason I came to this country was to provide entertainment for the Vietnamese. 

This little guy also climbs my balcony railings.  I am sure he was laughing too. 

Hahaha! The fat white lady is afraid!

What do you all think I should do about this?  Maids on balcony railings is apparently of no concern to the locals.  Or at least, it is of less concern than dust on the balcony railings. I considered a soft approach - maybe if I purchased a safety harness? But they wouldn't use it, would they? I'm sure that if I complained, that the maids wouldn't go up there while I was looking. But they would still go there when I'm not looking.  Or not home.  And anyway - there are like, at least 8 other balconies in this building.  And they all get dusty.

Sweet William thinks harnesses are for pussies

1 comment:

  1. Your ordeals with the maids are certainly keeping me entertained, as well!

    I think you'll find that they're going to do whatever they think is best for you, regardless of what you think. Intervene and you risk being labeled "That lady that won't let her maids climb about the railings"!