Coming from a family that was more poor than rich, I rarely received money from my dad while in college. Therefore, I worked a number of jobs in order to have beer money. In my senior year, one of my jobs involved the cleaning of the Student Union pub on Sunday mornings.
So here is how it went down. On a typical January morning, I would awaken at 5 a.m. in the girls dormitory. I would reluctantly crawl out of the cozy lovenest, usually after about 2 hours sleep. I would dress, and plow forward from the dorm to the student union, often head first into a snowstorm.
Now, there isn’t a straight man alive who wants to leave a woman’s dorm at 5 a.m. in the cold weather, but I had no choice-my job awaited.
When I got to the Student Union, I would grumpily say hello to my fellow workmate, Yirgu, an Ethiopian transfer student.
We would change into work clothes, and head out into the pub area. It was absolutely filthy. Beer spilled all over the floor. Plastic cups everywhere. Pizza boxes, and an occasional pair of women’s panties. So in silence, we would sweep the entire floor area, clean the table tops, and finish off by mopping the floor. How we hated it.
One week, we tried something a little different. Just before we started mopping, I went to the jukebox and checked out the selections. One of the songs was The World is a Ghetto by War.
I tossed in a quarter, and the music started playing. Because the room was empty, the sound was insanely loud.
After a minute, I look up, and Yirgu is dancing with his mop to the beat of the music. So I dance with my mop.
And it was immense fun.
So the song ends. And I play it again.
Yirgu and I twirl and dip with our ‘dates’, finishing our mopping gleefully.
We walk to the changing room with giant smiles on our faces.
So now what used to be drudgery is now fun.
In succeeding weeks we continued the mop dance to the song. At this point in time, we couldn’t wait!
Then, one Sunday, the song was missing from the jukebox. We tried different songs, but it just didn’t work.
Sadly , mopping once again became drudgery.
But every time I hear The World is a Ghetto, I smile.