Informação do seu jeito
O deputado Carlos Alberto Leréia (PSDB-GO) foi acusado hoje de racismo praticado dentro do Congresso. A Polícia do Senado vai investigar a ocorrência, que teve como alvo um servidor público. O…Continuar
Started 16 Mar, 2012
Ivan de Oliveira ainda não recebeu nenhum presente
March 24th 2:45 A.M.
The entire staff crowds into a small room located only a few steps away from the laundry. There were two tables, a few chairs and a seat taken from a van to serve as a couch. Exactly, at 2:50 a.m. the annoyed supervisor arrives. She enters the room greeting everybody with good morning, they answered in unison, looking at her with forced admiration and wonder. Immediately a few employees, speculating what would happen today, positioned themselves in a row facing the time clock. Once punched in they were still required to sign into the control book. Everyone then walks over to the laundry where the "Chief" awaits. The supervisor, whose name was Augusta, was a very tall and skinny northeastern Brazilian, about 49 years of age. She had received the order from the Housekeeping Department to organize and manage the laundry, which was previously overseen by a Mexican woman who failed to perform her duties up to standard. The laundry was equipped with five washers, six dryers, one folding machine and two large ironing mechanisms. A team of seven people per shift worked seven hours each day to accommodate the hotel’s four hundred and fifty suites, two large restaurants and nightclub.
Augusta begins the meeting by looking each staff member in the eyes, making clear that she was not there to play games. Her attitude was not that of supervisor, but rather a prison inspector conducting a shakedown following an unruly chain of events. She begins roll call:
"Luis Cesar, Nestor, Valdomira, Lupita, Obdulia, Anthony and Minervina."
As each person’s name is called they acknowledge with a gentle shake of their name tags penned neatly upon their chests. Augusta knew everyone's name from her long time working as an ordinary housekeeper. Once finished with the roll call she faces Anthony, who was helping himself to a snack and beverage, with hardness in her eyes.
"Anthony, you know that it is not permitted to eat and drink in this facility!"
Anthony was a genuine American, calm and always in excellent humor. Like the majority of the Americans, Anthony was accustomed to a morning cup of pick-me-up, taking careful sips of his coffee as he prepared himself both mentally and physically to work. To add insult to injury, it was previously acceptable for employees to enjoy a steamy cup of coffee before shifts. Calmly, Anthony walks to the sink and pours every drop of his morning joe down the drain. I can only imagine the cultural violation he must have felt. Augusta concludes the meeting by giving some warnings to the small group of workers, specifically regarding the production standards and frequent accidents during the workday. Then she directed her attention to me.
“Luis Cesar…” Perking up I looked in anticipation. “What is "The value of the day?" Thinking that I have to think quickly I answer;
“To keep our inventiveness and always have a smile for our guests.”
"Perfect!" She astutely states with a smirk upon her face.
“Augusta, I was not sure about my answer. Fortunately it was accepted. However, how will I know what the value of the day will be moving forward?” She laughs and walks away without responding.
The housekeeping department’s director arrives. Maria Julia was a bilingual woman of a hardship character, a Central America Indian of good education. She greets everybody with a straight forward "Good morning." Pacing back and forth she quickly scans the area then summons Augusta to her office. She then extends an invitation to me to join them as well. I am not like the many Latinos who immigrated to the United States and I didn’t stop in front of the clock to absorb the culture of this country. I arrived to her office on time, unsure of why I was there in the first place. As soon as I enter the office she instructs me to take a seat, no eye contact is given. I sat down the way the supervisor had taught us. I started to inquire as to what all the ethical principles are, so I could try to obey and please the management team.
"Luis, I called you here to let you know that you are not producing according to the company's demand. Look at the last quarterly report. You can see that in July you had a 25% drop in productivity."
Productivity decreasing, what is she talking about?
“As you know, there are five washers that I operate and one has been broken for the last fifteen days.”
"Since we are supplying the washer parts that need to be replaced, there is no justification for the decrease in your productivity."
Interesting! For her, the broken washer does not justify the reduction in the productivity. Bitch! She pretends not to understand what I mean.
“Will you explain to me, what I have to do to achieve the company's expectations?”
“For one thing, you should not be waiting until the washer finishes the cycle, but have the next load weighed and waiting to load. Be quick and leave everything set up. Luis, if you miss three minutes in between each load of laundry on every machine, at the end of your shift, you will have lost one and half hours daily”
“Maria Julia, your count is not right.”
She then becomes very angry with a frown upon her face and blows up at me.
“Luis Cesar! I hired you to wash clothes. Did you forget that?”
August 10, 5:50 A.M.
Our new staff member approached the time clock. He punched his card and then shyly joins with the crew. Up to that time, the supervisor had not arrived and nobody had been notified.
The man was disoriented and didn't know whom to appeal to. The machines began working and each moment someone gave a curious look at him. Then Nestor approached the new man and greeted him.
"Mucho gusto carnal"!
The man looked at Nestor with embarrassment, even though he answered him.
"Nice to meet you!"
It left Nestor startled, because he answered him in English.
"Dime en Espanol!"
Being stuck with the communication problem between them, Nestor calls on me.
"Luis Cesar! “Échame una mano aqui con el Ingles.”
How may I help you?
“La senora Maria Julia sent me “ese muchacho to me to train him”, but he doesn’t speak Español.
The problem is because you don’t speak English. Now tell me how may I help you?
The fool Nestor continued pressuring me to translate for him.
"Traducir para me!"
With my sense of humor, I continued to laugh.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Luis Cesar and yours?
"Nice to meet you Luis Cesar. I’m Edward Garcia."
Nestor, "Dime que debo traducir?"
After an explanation to Edward Garcia about the job, I returned to continue my work. Oh no! One of the washers finished the last cycle and it will result in ten-minutes of lost time again. As Maria Julia entered the door to the laundry, her eyes rotated in my direction.
"Luis Cesar, I have received many reports that all the soiled clothes are in the hallway obstructing the passage."
“The reason for my delay is because I spent 17 minutes helping to translate between Nestor and Edward.”
"You should have called someone at the D.H.R. office. You know that translating is not in your job description."
“I know Maria Julia, but I am obliged to translate daily. Look around me, no one here speaks a second language besides my supervisor. Even so, she does not speak in her first language to me.”
The little woman would not give up.
"Luis Cesar, you had better accelerate your work pace to compensate for the lost time."
“I will do all that is possible.”
Maria Julia is exploiting the people. She promised her supervising manager excellent production results, but not by increasing the number of staff. Instead she cut the 40 hour work week and we are barely getting 36 hours. All this work and we receive a miserable salary. I have increased my output and now every machine is efficiently running.
Hurrah, it is break time. On my way to the smoking area, Edward touches me on my shoulder.
"Hey! How are you doing buddy? "
“I am feeling awful today.”
"I hear you. So how long have you worked here?"
"Do you like this job?"
Are you kidding me, what do you think?
"Where you from?"
“I’m from Brazil. Where are you from?”
"My parents are Mexican but I was born in Arizona."
“Our fifteen minute break flew by and it was now time to go back to work.”
“Do not forget to sign in the time that you began your 15 minute break and the time that you're returning to work.”
8 P.M. Supper Time.
I went to the brake room I did not be hungry just went there to read the newspaper. There were a lot people, has dinner; the banquet service, department of maintenance, and some other temporary workers. Jackson approached to my table, and caught a newspaper session. He sat down next to me. Sasha was situated in another table laughing loud with among others people. Someone called her on the radio. She answered on the following way: Ok Juanita, I am going to send Luis Cesar to bring the broom for you. Idiot, knowing that I am on my dinnertime.
“Luis Cesar, can you take the broom, for Juanita? She is in the third floor.”
I even not raised my head to answer while, she insisted.
“Yes, I can do that I after punch my card.”
“She needs the broom right now.”
The mother fucken woman! I raised calm, went close to her and screamed
“Leave me alone! Are you crazy?”
“I barely ask you favor, beside, no necessary squeak.”
“Look Sasha, I’ll teach you a thing; never ask favors like that. Listen to me, if you keep bother me, I won't follow your orders. Do you understand now?”
The rest of the night I worked without her supervision
10 P.M. New Shift
Mathew arrives at, saying the same thing. He asked if is there a lot to do, so he heard from Sasha that now too much. He remained in the break room talking to his buddies. He excited tells stories about the boxing fighter legendary Mohammed Ali gesticulated to revival the unforgettable super star best fight. Mathew does not conceal his fanaticism for the boxer. Who imitated the legendary, being watched by the crowded break room auditory; it composed by the bored workers for the long shift each one venerating their start boxing fighter and Jackson for Brazilian the Arcelino Popo.
Finally Mathew distribute the work task between his team therefore his disappeared but I know where he inserted to appear two hours before ends his shift. Well, it is time to go to home. I punched my time card and in thirty minutes I got in my home: Message!
“Call mi mi amor”.
“Holá mi amor!”
“Holá!” my life!”
“Tell me, how are you doing?”
Love! I am tired.
“I know you work too much; in the future I won't let you work hard. Now go to bed "Mi amor.”
Even so, I have to work.
“And I’ll do the best to help you mi amor.”
“I am sure; you are the woman of my life.”
“Go get some rest "Mi Luizito". I wish I was there to sleep with you, to kiss all over your body.”
April 16, 2:20 P.M.
I arrived 10 minutes before, and I noticed that, Jennifer was in the storeroom distributing the weekly work schedule when I checked for my work and days off as well, oh! Something is wrong in this schedule, why Mathew is not on the list? I asked to Jennifer:
“Luis, we all are said, our friend Mathew got fired.”
“The supervisor caught him sleeping inside Cindy’s office, during his shift it happened around 2 in the morning. I feel sorry about him, but he supposed to give a good example, to the rest of the employee.”
“Anyway, what is going on today?”
“The news is Griselda start as the team leader, and you know she has not experience in this so, please be patient about her.”
“Sure, I will.”
“It would be nice if you go over Cindy’s office, she is there talk to her.
I’ll do that and talk to you later bye.”
“Funny, how can I help a team leader?”
I opened the office door and did not surprise me; there was Griselda seated down on Cindy’s armchair with her arms on the desk and holding a pen. She reminded an old friend who likes to pronounce pretty words even do not know sure the meanings. As it not be enough to, he, always boasted a golden pen color in the shirt pocket.
Welcome to Pennsylvania
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful!
I can't believe I have made it this far.
Suddenly, a giant yellow light flashed across the horizon in front of my car. In an instinctive moment I pulled out of my pocket the medal that the Goddess Neit had given me to keep. The immense light transformed it into the image of a big panel that was designed in an elegant Helvetica lettering. He disappeared leaving lights flashing around my car. Incredible! I am seeing an amazing and gigantic and monumental City. It looks like a cathedral. I took a moment to release the pent up tension and emotions I was feeling. “The man of the Battles” was holding a long sword aiming it up and to the direction of the town just ahead! I continued driving on the I-81 for over 5 hours. It's getting dark and I don't see Pennsylvania license plates on the cars any more. Where am I? I can't be in New York already, can I? I drove for at least three hours and saw no cities, not even a small town. I couldn't even find a place to buy something to eat. Well at least the road is quiet. The time is 9 o'clock already. Finally I saw a couple traffics signs up ahead.
Syracuse And Long Island; 10 Miles Ahead!
Now there were lights, and cars, and noises everywhere. Many cars were entering onto the freeway. I must keep going until I am able to get out of all this traffic. Finally, Syracuse was behind me and no more towns were ahead, nothing but woods in sight. I am so tired, again I experience some moments of panic. I have been driving for too many hours. However, now there is no town or service station to stop at. The road seems like it is never ending! I continued driving seeing nothing on this very dark route, with the exception of this infinite road that I could see through the headlights of my vehicle. My Lord, please help me! As I got off the freeway at the top of the ramp, I saw a gas station; thank you my Lord. Still tense, I filled the gas up and bought some cigarettes. I wasn't hungry but needed to eat something, because my stomach was empty. I looked around on the shelves and I chose Turkey sandwich and a bottle of orange juice.
I saw a sign for Canada; 70 miles! I don't remember the name of the city, but it wasn't far from Waterford Town. My hands were shaking because I was nervous, and I needed to calm myself down. I needed to smoke a cigarette. I should stop and ask to make sure that I am on the right road. There was a man just leaving the gas station, going toward his delivery truck.
“Excuse me sir, could you please tell me how I can get to the freeway that goes to Canada? And also how many more miles it will be until I can cross the border?”
The truck driver turned and smiled at me because I had just got off the freeway, but after all the miles I had come so far I didn't want to be going the wrong direction now.
“You are about one and half hour to the US-Canadian border. Are you going to try to drive that tonight?”
“Yes sir, I want to get to Canada. I have driven all the way from California, and I am anxious to complete my journey.”
The driver having driven the route before knew that it was not wise for me to make the trip tonight, when I was already so tired.
“Which city are you going to?”
“From the border to Quebec, you have another three and half-hours.”
“I know that is a long distance to travel, but I need to get there tonight.”
“Take my advice. For your safety, you should spend the night here and continue in the morning after you are rested.”
I checked my watch and saw that it was already passed midnight. I thanked the gentleman and got back to the dark I-81. He said the US-Canadian Border was only 10 miles. I was going to at least make the border tonight! A new sign caught my attention: "Caution, lower speed to 25 MPH; be prepared to stop. "No other vehicles were behind me. I am very close, let me check the time and see. It is 12:14 a.m. Another sign;
Slow Down; Canadian Border. Crossing, 1 Mile Ahead.
The Big Banner Read “Welcome To Canada”
I was never as glad to see any sign, as I was to see that one. I reduced my speed and stopped at the next booth.
"What is the purpose for your trip to Canada, and how long do you intend to stay sir?"
“I am on my vacation time, and I am planning to stay about 60 days.”
"What is your citizenship, sir?”
“I am Brazilian.”
"Let me see your passport please. Everything looks in order. So, you are a legal American resident, correct?”
“Yes sir, I am.”
"In what city in Quebec are you planning on staying?"
“I only know I am going to Quebec, I do not know the city I will select at this time. I will stay in a hotel when I decide.”
Tuesday 8 A.M.
"Do you know how to clean a room?"
No, I never did that kind of job before.
"No problem, I'll train you, just pay attention."
Ok. I learn quickly.
Tolentino cleaned the room in two minutes and I thought to myself; is this kind of work that I am going to do? In the next room the guy called me to the toilet. Oh no, they don't expect me to clean that! Human feces all over. Tolentino just got out the cleansers and brushes and started cleaning. There were some pieces of underware and panties thrown all over the floor. He gathered all the clothes and made a pile next to the sink. He then vacuumed the carpet, and the suite was irreproachably clean and spotless. The quiet man stood close to me and then asked me: "Do you think you will like doing this job? Did you pay attention to all I showed you to do?" The bitter faced man looked at me calmly and waited for me to answer him.
Yes, I was paying attention and I will do the job to the best of my ability.
What is the matter? You look upset.
Oh! I am fine.
"Good, then let's go to the next suite and you will do the cleaning"
He opened the door to suite #224. Another huge mess was waiting for us.
Tolentino, do you like your job?
The little man looked at me like he wanted to know why I would ask such a question.
"Of course I like my job! By the way, you do not like it?'
Well, I will have to like it too.
The man seemed surprised because of my answer. He then asked me if I was married.
Yes, I am still married. I am in the divorce process.
"Is your wife a Brazilian like you?"
No, she is American.
"Is she white or Black?"
She is White.
"Do you rent or own a house?"
I am renting an apartment right now.
"It is lunch time. Let's go, I will show you the way to the break room"
I did not bring lunch.
"What are you going to do without eating until 5:30 p.m.?"
I can manage until I get home.
"Come with me, I'll share my lunch with you today."
No thank you, I will be fine. Thanks for the offer.
Tolentino insisted on sharing his lunch, and I did not want to offend on my first day here.
"You must come with me, because the Philippine people do not like to see anyone be hungry."
Alright, if you insist. I will come eat with you.
The break room was full. Most of the employees were Philippines. Inside the break room, I had the sensation that I was the Tower of Babel. Some were speaking Spanish, the others English and Tagalog. Tolentino removed two big lunch boxes from the refrigerator which contained rice, fish, bananas, and another little box contained some meat prepared with "Xuxu", little potatoes, carrots and etc. In Brazil we have a meal like that we call beef stew with vegetables. He had brought enough food for four other people, plus the other Philippine people on the other side of the table, offered some of their food as well. While we ate, the nosy people kept asking me more questions. "Are you married, divorced, American citizen?" etc. They were all asking me similar questions, all at the same time. Finally lunch was over so we went back up the stairs to continue our work. On the long hallway we met the room supervisor; a tall, skinny woman called Felicita. Over lunch I had heard the people say unkind things about her. Her nickname given her by the other housekeepers was “La Calaca”, and it certainly fit on her. Felicita was a demanding person. According to some of the employees who knew about her career at the Ambassador Suites Hotel, she would do any kind of job to get the boss's attention.