Recently we hired a cleaning lady for our apartment since the amount of filth that piles up around here in a matter of days is simply incredible. Dust coats everything in record time and if one so much as sneezes in the vicinity of the white tile floor, it instantly turns brown, the moist droplets propelled out of the nasal cavity attracting every dust particle within a ten yard radius before becoming permanently attached to the ground. Keeping the place clean would be a full time job, and since none of us brought our mothers (just kidding) or our roombas with us, it was necessary to find a solution. Having maids in Cairo is very common for upper class families I think, and though we are not necessarily upper class, we are certainly a family so we thought on that basis we might as well try the culture out.
Our cleaning lady, who I will call Nancy, was wonderful. The two times she has come, the apartment feels like it sparkles after she leaves if ratty carpets, embroidered artwork, and Louis the XIV style furniture could sparkle. But something strange happened last week: Nancy didn’t come. We waited for her knock at the door, but heard nothing. We called her cell phone and she didn’t pick up. In fact, it was turned off. We waited a little bit longer, but still no Nancy. Then we began to worry.
She had become like family to us, kind of, like one of those family members you don’t really talk to that much. Like a family member that asks to be paid in return for cleaning your entire apartment. Like a family member you can’t really communicate with because they speak a different language and are busy most of the time they’re around. Like a family member that randomly disappears and doesn’t call to let you know that they’re okay but not going to be able to make it to the apartment because of an emergency on the other side of the family. Like a family member that you thought was really reliable and then turns out they sometimes just don’t show up to their expected appointments even though there hadn’t been any change of plans.
In other words, she was almost a sister to us. She is supposed to come tomorrow, and we are all holding our collective breath and crossing our fingers that she makes it and not only for the sake of our apartment’s level of cleanliness. We really do hope everything is okay with her. If not, then not only will I have to spend hours wondering what happened to her, but we’ll have to find another family member to replace her, and that’s never easy.