Guest Lecturer Accommodations

I promised a while back to write about the guest lecturer accommodations. I previously wrote about G, one of our guest lecturers, and that her accommodations were quite special.

G arrived on the island as one of our guest lecturers. She was there for a month. The first week she was there I hardly spoke to her. I was the Dean and I am nothing but the consummate professional. I would be unseemly for a married man to be too friendly with a single woman half his age. Then I went on the terrible, from a personal and business standpoint, trip to Africa.

The trip to Africa was what really changed my whole attitude toward my job, my boss, and formed my opinion about the unlikely long term success of the school.

When I got back from Africa we started talking. Mostly over coffee in the morning. It was during these conversations that I learned that she had not done much other than work while on the island. She also told me about how unsatisfactory her first accommodations were. Typical of the school the accommodations were cheap. This meant that they were dirty.

Cleanliness was a continuing problem with our guest lecturers, they were not given enough time to adjust to the standards of the island. I, once I adjusted, never really found things dirty. Most of the problem was related to construction methods. Everything was constructed with concrete. Every surface was porous. This made everything look dirty, when in fact it was all quite acceptable. The island was quite dusty too. For example, if the they were burning off the sugar cane fields in my neighborhood I would return from work and find everything my apartment coated in dust if I’d left the windows open. I quickly learned not to leave the windows open.

G, after complaining about her first apartment, was moved to the Managing Director’s (MD) home since he was out of town. She shared his place, a three bedroom, two bath house with another employee of the school. Let’s call this employee Jagdish. Jagdish was both our network/computer specialist for the school and the MD’s houseboy. He’s about 25 years old. He’s from India. Typical of devout Hindu males from the Indian sub-continent, he’s had little experience around women. (There is a whole book to be written on this topic. I haven’t looked but there are probably hundreds of books already written on this topic already.) G told me that while watching television in the evenings, Jagdish would ask her all sorts of questions that would be more proper coming from a boy rather than a young man. Jagdish asked G why she didn’t have hair on her legs since he had hair on his. “Don’t women have hair on their legs?” There were other questions of a similar nature. It made for a strange environment for G. She worked all day with our lousy students and then had to go home to a house that had Jagdish in it. She went from one effed up environment to another.

The MD was due back on the island for G’s last week with us. This was going to create, for me anyway, a very humorous situation. The MD is another devout Hindu. He was going to be very uncomfortable having a single woman in his house. There were only two bathrooms in the house, so G was going to have to share a bathroom with one of these two men. G told me this made her uncomfortable as one of the bathrooms was in the master suite, so G would either have to share that bath with the MD (by entering the bath through his bedroom) or she was going to have to share the hall bath with Jagdish. According to several people who should know, the cleaning ladies in particular, Jagdish is a disgusting mess. G and the cleaning ladies all told me he was a filthy pig. G wanted no part of sharing a bath with Jagdish. The MD wanted no part of sharing his house, let alone his bath, with a single woman. I don’t think G was too thrilled with any of it at all. It was to be perfect sitcom episode material.

While I could have let all of this discomfort on the part of my boss and co-workers unfold, I offered up one of my spare bedrooms and the spare bath to G. After thinking about her two options, stay with the MD and his houseboy, or go to the apartment of the Dean, the old married guy, she decided to take me up on the offer of my spare room. The MD expressed his relief to one of my peers, telling him that he was going to accept G staying in his house, but he was very uncomfortable with the whole idea. He was very relieved to learn that I had cleared G staying in my apartment with my wife.

Note: Through none of this did the school, of which I was an executive, offer to pay for decent accommodations for G. I offered my spare bedroom because I knew we had no money (this was in the middle of my not being paid episode). It was my assumption that G thought we were all crazy. (It turns out the G knew more about our dis-functional condition than I did.)

I went to the MD’s house to pick up G the day the MD came back to the island. She had left work a little early to go pack for the little move. I entered the MD’s house for the first time, now remember this was my boss, and was confronted by the worst smell imaginable. The whole house smelled as if we were all standing inside a litter box that had not been cleaned for a few months. I gagged on the smell. I could not get out of there fast enough. The MD, for the first time after my having worked for him for six months, offered me a drink. I felt obliged to accept the offer but was cringing about it as I just knew the glass was going to be coated in fecal matter given the way the house smelled.

I finished my drink as quickly as I could reasonably get away with. I was offered a second drink, but lied, saying I had an appointment to get to. I needed out of that pig sty as fast as possible!

This all worked out to my advantage in an unimaginable fashion. G appeared to be so grateful to get out of that house that she even fixed dinner!

Like I said in the previous post, G turned out to be one of the finest people I’ve ever met. It was very nice to have her company while I was going through the whole Not Getting Paid episode.

I would like to think it was just my charming nature that made G fix my dinner. I bet it was more out of pity. When she left a few days later, I woke up to find that she had left money behind in my apartment. I couldn’t believe it. But at the same time, I needed the money. I used it to buy groceries.

Comments are closed.