UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Doing the dirty work…or not
A friend came to our apartment the other day and said “Wow, your place is always so clean!”
I looked at her. “Well, I pay someone,” I said. “Duh.”
Until we moved to Abu Dhabi, I’d never had someone clean my house. I didn’t grow up with “help,” although I imagine my mother sometimes felt like the underpaid scullery maid. I went to a friend’s house for a holiday weekend once, in college, and when we got there, her mother said that if I needed something ironed, I should just leave it out “for the girl”. I was confused: the only other woman in the house was a middle-aged African American woman. I wore a wrinkled shirt to the party.
All of which is to say, until
I hit forty-seven recently, I was my own domestic help.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to re-hash The Help; instead I’m writing about how strange — and dangerously seductive — it is to live suddenly in a world where “help” – and lots of it – is readily available, even to people like me, who in the scheme of things don’t make that much money. (more…)