Basking in Conformity: The Slave
They paraded through the breakfast room one after the next, like automatons with their uniforms on, but with a slight swagger in their steps. Harrumphing through their eggs and freshly squeezed Florida orange juice, back-slapping and guzzling away at what appeared to be their last meal ever, they all looked, sounded, and acted like they were auditioning for the same role. They sped out to the golf course together in their speeding carts, the piss-bottles hanging from a nifty rack across the back. Men basking in conformity and oh-so-pleased with themselves for fitting in so perfectly well.
I see you every morning in this room and you are all the same. You make no eye contact. Our interaction is as personal as if you entered your breakfast order into a machine. I am not a machine.
You elevate your voice when you speak to me, as if my accented English indicates I am hard of hearing. That you do not even look at me to bark your orders doesn’t help clarify the communication. I can understand what you are saying even when you whisper to your buddies at the table. I can hear you when you quietly comment about my ass. And I can also hear you when you not-so-quietly comment about my tits.
That you don’t say thank-you when I fill your coffee cup doesn’t phase me. That you can’t look at me when I’m pouring it makes interacting with you enormously difficult. You only look at me when you or your friends make a joke out of pronouncing my name, when you finally decide collectively that it is ok to mark me as your target. It is not a hard name to pronounce in English, so it’s woefully insulting when you deliberately mispronounce it in a sorry attempt at denigration. You are actually proud that your names are all monosyllabic. Mike, Tom, Bill, Bob, Ted, Phil, Jon, Rich, Jim, and Steve. What a phenomenon, that you masters of the golf club feign ignorance in the name of group laughter. I am not hurt; you embarrass yourselves more than you know.
I sweep the golf cart path as you whiz by. I manicure the landscaping so it’s easy on your eyes. You don’t speak to me even when I stop the hose so you can walk by unencumbered by the sprinkle.
I watch you cheat all throughout your golf game. You cheat with each other, you cheat behind each other’s backs. You lie. You get frustrated and angry and behave like impetuous children. You laugh, you joke, you back-slap and clap. You compete fiercely. You look at one another for approval after making a joke, nasty comment or brutal attack. You are shameless in your treatment of one another. You complain about your wives, not uncommon or terribly mean. But then you use it as an excuse to gloat about your affairs, and the adulation you received at the strip club last night…as if you didn’t pay for it.
You return to the hotel from your steak dinners, after multiple mojitos or whiskeys, and you don’t even tip me for helping you out of the car and into your room. You don’t say thank you or come seek me out the next day to apologize for slobbering all over me. You throw up all over your room. I clean your puke while you are still passed out on the bed, naked, bloated, and stinking. You see me the next morning and give no nod of acknowledgement; you don’t even hang your head in shame. You are shamless, when you are with your pack. You are arrogant and frightened, like an animal cornered by shotguns, when you are alone.
It’s another day of pouring coffee, cleaning half-eaten buffet plates into the trash. It’s another glorious, beautiful, palm-strewn day with you clamoring for attention from your client or boss, hoping you don’t stand out too much, safely suited in your uniforms. You are afraid of being different. You are terrified of thinking differently or saying something unexpected, so you don’t converse with me even when we make eye contact inadvertently.
You will not look at me. So I stare at you, steering my gaze to penetrate your false armor. I lean over you and reach to deliver your egg white omelet and touch your shoulder with my chest. My perfume lingers on you for hours. You want to fuck me. You excuse yourself to the men’s room to ejaculate. You imagine me, voluptuous, sensual, brown-skinned Latina with thick lips and dark eyes, on my hands and knees looking back at you. You have me positioned like you’ve never had your wife. You own me.
I am on my hands and knees to scrub your floor.