So the adventures with Mrs. Brazilian continue: Click here to read Part 1 of this, er.. “adventure.”
Last night, Mrs. Brazilian caught me on my way back to my room from the bathroom. She asked, “How are you doing? I wanted to chat a minute.”
“Sure,” I replied. “I’m working but we can chat for a minute.”
“Oh no, I don’t want to bother you if you’re working, we can chat later.”
“No, no, I’ve been working all day, I can take a break. We can chat now.”
“Okay, let’s go in your room and have a seat.”
I honestly had no idea what she was going to say to me at this point, but if I had known any better I would have had the sense to be wary. Instead I just thought it would be something totally benign. What else could it possibly be?
She took a seat at my desk while I sat on the edge of my bed, and began.
“So I’ve been thinking that I need to have this mattress in here cleaned, since it likely has ácaros.”
“What are ácaros?”
“You can look it up.”
I pulled my computer over to me from the other side of the bed and opened up wordreference.com. “Ácaro” is portuguese for “mite.” As in, the insect.
Meanwhile, she went on.
“So I want to take this mattress and hang it up so that it can air out. This room doesn’t get that much sun, and even though there’s a window, there’s this big wall over here between the window and the bed.. So anyway I have this man coming to clean tomorrow. I’m not strong enough, but he’s strong, even though he’s small.. He’s a small man! But he has strength, and he cleans so well. I had to let the other cleaning woman go, it was too bad.. But anyway, he’s going to come tomorrow and clean the whole house.
After we take the mattress out of this room, you can sleep in my daughter’s room next door. I’ve already spoken to her, she knows, she’ll sleep on the sofa-bed in the living room, where I normally sleep, where I spend all of my days, in that tiny little corner.. but Laura has been informed. You can move all your things into her room, she’ll make some space for you — “
“Okay, wait, so it sounds like you’d like me to move into your daughter’s room. ..Since I’ve already paid rent for this month, there isn’t a way for me to stay in this room just for the next 2 weeks until I move out?”
“Well you could, but there won’t be a mattress in here.”
“And there’s no way that you can wait to air out the mattress in 2 weeks from now?”
“No! My friend Jean from France is coming next Friday and needs a place to stay. Rio is expensive! The last time he came here, poor man, he had to stay in a simple little hotel in Lapa! He couldn’t even stay in Copacabana! It’s so expensive, especially here in Copacabana. You’ve noticed that right? Jean is coming next Friday so I need to air the mattress out right away for him — “
“I’m sorry, I just want to make sure I understand correctly. I paid upfront for April, May, and June, though I am no longer staying for June, as we’ve discussed. Not only are you only returning a portion of rent money to me for the month of June, you would now like for me to move out this room 2 weeks before the month is up..?”
“Look – I am much older and more experienced. I’ve lived on this earth for much longer than you have. I have seen the world. An you? You are so young and inexperienced. What do you know? Nobody returns rent money after it has already been paid. You’re making a big deal out of something that is so clear. I am a respectful, well-mannered, genteel woman. I am doing you right in every way – “
“I’m sorry, it’s just that in the States, when you pay for a place, you have the right to stay there until your payment has run out — “
“This is Brazil. I am doing the right thing. I am offering you another room. You can take it or leave it, whatever. But you can either take that room until the end of this month, and I will give you some money back for July, or you can stay here until the end of July and then I won’t have to return any money to you. I don’t care, the latter would be easier for me anyway.”
(For the record, the reason she and I originally agreed in mid-May that I would not stay here in July was because, though she originally promised me I could use the kitchen, it turned out that she didn’t like how often I was using it. So we mutually decided that, if I were to find another place, she would give me back some of my rent money. I already tried to convince her to give me the full month’s rent, but she wouldn’t budge, and seemed to think that I was actually at fault for going back on my 3-month “contract.” You can read more in my initial post about why I’m moving out in my previous post. But anyway.)
“Fine,” I replied, weary of our argument. “It sounds like I only have 2 options. And since I cannot stay here for July, my only real option is to move into your daughter’s room. What do you need me to do?”
“Great. The cleaning man will be here tomorrow morning at 8am to clean and take the mattress — but oh I guess that’s a bit early, I don’t want you to have to wake up so early… Don’t worry about it. I’ll have him clean the living room first, before he does your room. You don’t need to get up at 8am when he first arrives.”
“Fabulous. So we’re all set! Everything’s confirmed.”
And with that, she got up to go, closing my bedroom door behind her. The look of pleasure on her face as she left made me feel a little sick.
..Fast forward to this morning.
At 8:40am, I wake up, dreaming that Mrs. Brazilian is saying my name through the bedroom door. I open my eyes, sit up in bed, and listen.
Nothing at first.. Then, I hear the door handle being turned a few times. I have purposefully been locking my door at night because one time her cat pushed my door open and came in, and another time Mrs. Brazilian opened the door without knocking to see if I was in the room (I was).
I can feel myself getting really annoyed that she is actually trying to get IN the room. I decide to ignore her and go back to sleep until, a few minutes later, I hear her say my name through the door again.
I get up out of bed and open the door.
“My cleaning man cleans so fast!,” Mrs. Brazilian says, smiling. “He got here at 8am and is nearly done cleaning the living room and the bathroom, so he’ll be cleaning your room next. Don’t worry, there’s still a little bit of time before he’ll be ready for your room.”
I close the door. “Don’t worry, she says,” I repeat to myself. This is the closest I’ve come to feeling angry in years I think. (Yeah, it takes a lot.) I get dressed, put everything that’s sitting out in the open into the closet so that the guy can clean. I go to the bathroom to wash up —
Oh, no wait. I can’t use the bathroom because he’s cleaning it.
Eventually, he starts cleaning my room, and I leave the house to get some breakfast.
“He won’t be done until 12:30pm,” Mrs. Brazilian reminds me.
Right, thanks for the reminder.
Some good news: I’ve figured out a way to kill all the fleas that have been eating me alive in this house.
Here’s a shot of some dead ones:
Recipe for Killing Fleas:
- Wait for them to jump on you (tip: put your bare feet on the ground as bait!).
- Pinch that motherfucker between your fingers. But be fast because once they start jumping, they’re real hard to catch.
- Once you’ve got one, dip your pinched fingers in a cup of water to drown that motherfucker.
- Watch in morbid curiosity to see how long it takes for it to stop struggling.
- Cackle loudly at having reasserted your rightful place in the food chain.