19 June 2012

What must the Mexicans think?

I'm about to dive right in some politically sensitive waters. Immigration. (And #firstworldproblems)

I work at a truck stop. We have employees called porters whose sole job is to keep the place clean. Our porters are all Mexican. I am not stereotyping or making assumptions. I've talked to them. They're Mexican.

They do a job none of us fine American citizens want to do. They clean up after us fine American citizens as we wander the highways of this great nation in our fine foreign cars and oversized American SUVs. These porters clean the parking lot of the travel stop after we pull up to get our gas and leave our fast food, soda bottles, and candy wrappers where ever they land. These porters clean the spills our undisciplined children leave as they traipse through the convenience store with their 44 ounce slushees and oversized paper boats filled with chili-cheese nachos. These porters clean the showers the truck drivers use to stay clean while moving all our consumer goods across the country. These porters empty the trash cans inside and outside of the truck stop.

And these porters clean the bathrooms.

Yesterday, I could have cried (mostly from trying not to laugh at our head porter's reaction) when I came out of the ladies' bathroom and told him it needed cleaning because it was a fucking mess. (OK, so the literal translation of what I told him was "it's fucked", but whatever.)

Saying the bathroom was fucked was being polite. It was fucking disgusting. There was toilet paper strewn everywhere like someone had rolled the ladies' bathroom. There was piss on all of the toilet seats. There was soap on the counters, floor, and mirrors. And there were feminine hygiene products and wrappers in the floor.

Women are some nasty creatures. That's all I have to say about it.

It gets better. Not two hours later, I tried to go to the bathroom again.

I didn't have the heart to tell our head porter it was fucked again. I made my supervisor do it. I told her I would and could do a lot of things, but telling the head porter that the ladies' bathroom was fucking trashed again already was just something I refused to do.

I shudder to imagine what these porters (and other immigrants who come to America looking for a better life) must think of Americans. I mean, many of them come from very impoverished areas. And then they get here, and what must they think of us?

We have such luxury here. (No shit, the ladies' bathroom in our travel stop has a motherfucking hot tub in it.) And how do we act? How do we treat these wonderful things we have?

We literally piss all over it.

Hey, I'm not lying. You know I'm not. Go check out the bathrooms in any public place. Tell me there isn't piss on the toilet seats.

No wonder the rest of the world hates us. We complain when the water isn't the right temperature when we go to drink it. So many places don't even have clean water.

We complain when the air conditioner isn't cooling the space enough for us. Many places don't have electricity, much less air conditioning.

We throw away perfectly good food and clothing and furniture and shoes and dishes and appliances and electronics and...well, you get the point. So many people in so many places have so little and we treat our fine things as if they mean nothing, as if they have no value once we are bored with them.

What must the Mexicans think of us when they come from poverty (and lately, horrific violence) and see how we live, how we act, how ungrateful we are?

It makes me appreciate how good life is. It makes me want to live more simply rather than be just another arrogant American. It makes me appreciate how silly our #firstworldproblems are. It makes me grateful for how fucking good I have it here in my magic bus, with its tiny little fridge that doesn't self-defrost, its tiny little shower that's barely big enough to hold Sunshine's massive shoulders, and its itsy-bitsy bedroom that doesn't leave me room to make the bed without having to bend under cabinets full of cashmere sweaters.

What must the Mexicans think?


  1. I've spent the past few Fridays out and about taking photos and having lunch with friends. It's almost unbelievable how disgusting and dirty the public bathrooms are in the most expensive areas of Center City Philadelphia.

    I spilled my coffee in Starbucks last Friday. I made a huge mess and I cleaned it up save for the floor needing to be mopped. The guy at the table next to mine sat there glaring at me annoyed that I was going from my table to the napkins so I could clean up my table. Not once did he offer to help but instead sighed loudly at the annoyance I was causing him.

    I will never understand inconsiderate unhelpful people. It only takes a minute of your time to wipe the seat or offer to help someone.

    1. Photos. interesting idea. it would drive home my point (and yours) that we are inconsiderate.

  2. This is a brilliant and thoughtful post. Brilliant. (And I said that on The Stumble. It needs to be said.

  3. I cna't tell you what a relief it is to know that someone else sees this issue in its larger more global context. I agree with you, CLW; people are gross, and the worst thing is, they're especially gross when someone else has to clena it up, which means they're not only filthy, they're assholes.

    I work in one of Chicago's tallest buildings, a landmark building, and the women's room has a stupid layout where the sinks are along one one wall and the towel dispenser along another. All you have to do is shake your hands off in the sink and walk a few steps to the towels. Should be easy; but no. Women wash their hands, turn and just shake them all over the floor. ALL OVER THE FLOOR. And it;s all I can do to hold my tongue rather then tell these bitches that all the professional mani-pedis in the world don't change the fact that they're trashy pieces of work.

    And Mexicans? Tons of 'em here in Chi-town. I freaking love them. Work ethic, devotion to family; they humble me.

    1. "they're not only filthy, they're assholes". EXACTLY! Well said.

  4. Oh, and when I lived in London in the 80s one of the main newspapers had an annual contest where readers wrote in to name their favorite public toilet. Aside from the fact that Londoners in the 80's didn't have much else to do aside from watching trains and the destruction of Socialism, I thought this charming. People were very passionate about their favorites, and supplied photos.

  5. I am always surprised at how disgusting and disrespectful people are.

    1. It's become so commonplace, you'd think we'd quit being surprised. That you are not says you are civilized and #thisiswhyiloveyou