We had two jobs today, one in Burlingame & one in Millbrae. The Burlingame job went by in a flash. To top it off, the client was nice--never a given. One can seemingly gauge how nice a Burlingame client will be based on how close his or her house is to the super busy boulevard that cuts through town. -the closer, the nicer. Houses around this area, while costing well over a million a pop, aren't super palatial like the digs just up the hill. The last 'up the hill' property we worked on had not only a pool house, a guest house, a small tennis court, but also a detached wine cellar/house. The lady of the compound, in her one interaction with me, said that I had 'forgotten' to clean a window. Actually, I hadn't yet done it, but whatever.
The Millbrae job was at the top of hill near the 280 freeway. The back deck boasted a pretty cool view of SFO, a huge swath of the East Bay, and, of course, the bay itself. The day was unseasonably overcast so the usual view of San Francisco to the north was obscured.
We were met at the door by a very friendly gentleman who, at almost 90 years of age, was not really worse for the wear. His wife, only slightly younger, was on the sofa sleeping. We avoided cleaning the living room until she woke up. At one point both husband and wife were sitting nearby as I cleaned the large, bay windows. I asked the wife how she and her husband met. It was the late 40s & they were set up by a mutual friend. They'd gone to a dance hall. Apparently, she had to teach him how to Foxtrot, Waltz, and Tango. I guess he proved himself to be a decent dancer as they've been together ever since. The husband mostly looked on, smiling, as his wife spoke. He'd occasionally chime in with corrections and additions to the stories. They seemed like a really sweet couple. The subject then switched to travel. She told me she had taken her last plane ride last year. Chronic back trouble makes sitting for long stretches uncomfortable. I asked the wife where she and her husband traveled when she was more mobile. They'd toured Western Europe a couple of times. -Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland. I told her I'd lived in Zurich. That prompted her to mention Munich (as if the two were in the same country). I love Munich, so I asked her how she liked it. They'd taken the train. They'd walked around. -nothing fancy.
But then she told me this: And then a Chinaman sneezed in my face & I was sick for a week.
She then repeated the story to her husband. As in: Do you remember the time when...? I think she said the word 'Chinaman' a total of three times. I was flabbergasted & responded with something lame like: People should really cover their mouths. It was awkward.
If you have to hear a funky, outdated slur at all, you want that sort of thing to be the punchline to a crap joke told by someone who knows that they are being inappropriate. Then you want to groan, tell the person to STFU and move on.
This woman was serious.