Written by Ken Carman
She sang softly as she dusted off the old phone booth that had been dismantled from its location in England and brought back to the office she was cleaning. Her thoughts were pleasant, casual, although she knew…
“So much to do today. Must not think about it now. Just relax. Ah, this booth is a pain. Professors are so eccentric. A phone booth in an office. How odd. How interesting. But this job would be easier if this booth wasn’t here.”
Dust here. Dust there. She was really good at cleaning. She knew all too well that professors needed things to be spotless so when they come back from class they could mindlessly dump papers to grade on their desks. It annoyed her a bit that well dusted, wiped, ordered papers on the desk, tables, shelves, now immaculate old books, pictures, awards, degrees on the wall would soon be a mess again. Then, next morning, she would once more do her duty and get it ready to be made messy again. Such was the job of being “housekeeper.” A professor can’t be as perfect when it comes to being “clean” as she could be.
Everyone has their place, she knew. Her job now: the housekeeper; and there was a lot to do. This office was more home to a professor than the professor’s actual home. There was even a well-slept on couch in the office and cooking plate.
She remembered long ago, long before she came to this college, she had been a maid, a secretary: even pumped gas as an attendant. She was a student once herself and graduated college. Yet she didn’t mind being the housekeeper, not one bit. Her job now, though some academics might claim it demeaning, gave her great pleasure, despite constantly cleaning up after a messy professor.
“Professors deal in the abstract with metaphors, or complicated formulas. They often don’t have time to appreciate the simple things like just cleaning and bringing order to a professor’s office,” she thought.
So, whistling and humming to herself, she cleaned, and cleaned, cleaned and when she was done she sighed, contented.
“OK, time to put on my super suit.”
She stepped into the old phone booth and changed into her super suit for everyone to see. Then she walked across the quad to her first class…
…as the professor.
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