The Powers That Be, in their infinite wisdom, decided that The Night Manager, before he can manage the night, must work with the cleaning staff for a few days in order to get a proper understanding of the hostel’s inner workings. The Night Manager has never been scared of manual labor, and was excited by the prospect of working with the cutie Filipina who occupied the bunk across the aisle in the staff dorm.
The Night Manager-to-be should have been more cautious.
She had a shrill voice that immediately reduced me to a stuttering school boy. Suddenly, this rather attractive young Filipina miss reminded me of Mrs. Battle, my 70 year old 8th grade Spanish teacher. She was one tough broad. The feeling of anxiety and despair was the direct result of my inability to properly tuck-in the corners of the hostel bed we were making together. Filipina miss did not appreciate my bed making efforts.
Though she slept on the bunk directly across from mine, all thoughts of sexual activities were forgotten as she shrieked, “No Good. Do it again!” And then she ripped the freshly made bedding off the mattress. I glared at her. I shouldn’t have. She was not impressed.
“Don’t look at me with bad eye. Not my fault you can’t make bed right.” She stood, hands on hips, with a glare that rivaled the fire of a thousand suns combined with a history of colonial oppression. All four foot, eleven inches, ninety-five pounds of her. I lowered my head in shame and repeated the process.
The center pressed line of the bottom sheet goes along the center of the bed. It doesn’t matter that the sheet isn’t necessarily pressed in the middle, and the ‘center line’ could be quite a ways off. When she said, “Center line goes in middle,” she meant, “Fuck you white boy, you put that fucking folded line in the center of that fucking bed.” Everything else centers off that pressed line, so it simply must be in the middle of the bed. White boy.
Then comes the top sheet and the duvet, both centered off that fucking pressed line, there’s nothing particularly complicated about it. Except for folding in the corners. Perhaps the most important part of the bed making process is folding in the corners. The trick is to tuck under the back side, place your hand around the fold, wrap the side around your hand, and then tuck the whole side under. This creates a clean tidy corner, very professional, very nice. Acceptable.
Tiny Boss Lady could do the whole process in less than a second, in one clean motion. It took me considerably longer. Nor were my motions necessarily clean. Clumsy, inept, awkward. Each of those adjectives would make more accurate descriptions. But I repeated, and repeated. I used brute strength in place of technique, and I made sure that fucking corner looked clean. I may have used a staple gun when she wasn’t looking. At each corner I finished, she would stare, lean close and peer, study the fold with the trained eye of a master craftsman. Which, in a way, she was. Finally, at the absolute most perfect fold that my clumsy pale hands were capable of making, I was rewarded with, “Not bad.”
She then tore the sheets off the bed with more violence than her tiny body seemed capable of producing, looked up at me with just the hint of a smile and said, “Do again, for practice.” Hot.