The Cleaning Lady

by Philip Farruggio

She works hard for her money, as the song relates. She’s the cleaning lady, the one who gets on her knees and scrubs your toilet of all the things that none of us would ever wish to look at, let alone touch. She mops and dusts and vacuums your house for $40-$50 bucks, then hurries off to her next job, if she’s so lucky.

She does this 5 days a week, pulling in anywhere from $400 -$500, minus her supplies and gas, and sweat and aches. Then she has to factor in the nanny who watches her boy so she can work at all. That’s another $150 off the top. Even still, her 2-year college degree could never get her that much in some white collar job–not with today’s economy. So, she’s the "cleaning lady", trading in respectability for some green.

She’s got a husband and a baby boy. The husband works too; the baby laughs and cries a lot. Sometimes her husband cries about not having health insurance. He’s a craftsman, skilled enough to pull in the same as his wife; not skilled enough to get his boss to pay for health insurance for the crew. Not too many craftsman jobs out there now, so his bargaining power is reduced to a whimper. Like most Florida businesses, its a non- union shop, so the benefits are one week a year paid vacation, and a few sick days and holidays, and that’s it.

The cleaning lady joins her husband in having no health insurance. Simply cannot afford $400 a month for decent coverage. They did get some for the baby, thank goodness. She, however, was not so lucky. Had a stomach attack a few months back. Between the emergency room, the tests and the specialist, cost her $1,500 bucks, money she did not have. She pays it off, the bill, a little each month, and curses a system that does not look out for the little people, the one’s who clean our toilets.

The other day, one of her clients told her some startling information. She could not believe it, until she saw it right there in the Business Week magazine. It said that, on average, top executives in U.S. corporations earn over 500 times more than their lowest paid full-time employee! 500 times! She could not comprehend how someone could make that much money, and not care that she and her husband could not afford health coverage. She wondered if rich people could even go to church and worship a Jesus who spoke of sharing one’s wealth, not hoarding it. "Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to go to heaven!"

It was getting late. She had to get to the sitter and pick up the kid, go to Publix and grab something for dinner. Mustn’t forget the Pampers too. Then she began to laugh, the laugh one creates to push aside the anger, and the frustration. This was Tuesday, cleaning day. She never got to do her house. It would simply have to wait, like everything else it seemed.

Philip Farruggio, son of a longshoreman, is "Blue Collar Brooklyn" born, raised and educated (Brooklyn College, Class of ’74). A former progressive talk show host, he runs a mfg. rep. business and writes for many publications. He lives in Port Orange, FL. You can contact Mr. Farruggio at e-mail: brooklynphilly@aol.com.


 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”