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Maid in Spain

Clinical Miniseries · Possible Cameo with Login
ESTIMATE 6-MINUTE READ

EPISODE 1 – POLARITY

A wealthy female Spaniard wants to peer into the lives of domestic workers for first-hand experience as research for her new book.

Empathy

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Consuela del Carmen is a wealthy Spaniard from non-humble beginnings. Living within a Barcelona villa, she recalls how badly her parents and extended family treated servants when she was a child.

After inheriting the estate, she vowed to do better. Instead of work­ing one servant for 12 hours per day, she can afford to hire more so they work 6-hour shifts and have time for their personal activities.

Under the guise of cleaning, duties of maids can migrate to those of caregivers and nannies. Window washing, car washing, cooking, tutoring, animal care, and childcare responsibilities are all up for grabs. Workdays lengthen as assign­ments pile up.

Complaints about too much work for too little pay diverge into two paths: termination or live-in role. Though becoming a full-time nanny comes with the benefit of residing in a beautiful home rent-free, there is usually a reduction in pay for the privilege. Many work 12 to 18 hours per day for a monthly wage that is comparable to one third of that earned by commuting workers.

Those who carry out domestic duties bravely contend with devalued worth, belittlement, groping, and other abuses. The workforce largely consists of high school dropouts and undocumented immigrants with little knowledge of the local language or legal system. To earn a living, independent maids must juggle multiple clients. Sometimes children assist their parents with heavy workloads.

Improving employment situations within one mansion will not raise awareness or elevate conditions among the domestic worker population. Consuela wants to write a book about it. First she interviews her own workers. This results in an artificial presentation of the injustices they face because she treats them better than most employers.

Consuela decides to go undercover as a maid for the wealthy in Spain. Three or four weeks should provide sufficient research for her book. It will be demean­ing and some­times dangerous. Some clients have youth and arrogance. Others have poor health that money cannot cure.

First Client

Señor Thomas de la Vega in Barcelona is a socialite that entertains nearly every Saturday evening at his beachfront estate. This requires a great deal of house prep prior to events with considerable cleanup afterwards.

Thomas also has two pedigree Galgos Español dogs that require daily feeding, brushing, and walking. Live-in servants are stretched to their limits so Thomas de la Vega is seeking someone to care for the dogs and assist with cleanup after his parties end.

Despite being neighbors, she never attends his soirees. His condescending arrogance is evident during the interview when he tells Consuela that his dogs are worth more than her family.

Second Client

Señora Grace Ramirez in Tarragona wants someone to prepare meals and serve them to her in her bedroom. She desires occasional massages.

Her daughter, Señorita Victoria Ramirez, is an actress between roles who enjoys brag­ging about her nightly escapades. She wants someone to replace melted candles, pick up champaign bottles, vacuum glitter or rose petals, and listen to her boasts of stardom. Lying around in lingerie, she always seems to be posing for a salacious magazine.

Third Client

Señor Marco Garcia, also in Tarragona, cannot talk without touching people. His hand is on a listener’s shoulder, back, and sometimes a thigh when sitting. He violates everyone’s personal space, not just domestic workers. Though trying to appear vivacious, a dozen prescriptions fill his medicine cabinet.

Single-parent Marco needs someone to pick up his three children after school, serve them a snack when they get home and oversee completion of their home­work. The children also require shuttling around in a Range Rover. One child has ballet practice, two have soccer practice, and the girl also has piano lessons in the home twice weekly.

Scheduling

Consuela is attracted to the diverse range of job descriptions as research for her book. At first glance, the schedules conflict. Recognizing that, like her, the wealthy can hire multiple people to handle a role, she plans time slots for each employer.

Day

De la Vega

Ramirez

Garcia

Monday

8–10:00 dog care

12–14:30 caregiver

15–18:30 childcare

Tuesday

8–10:00 dog care

12–14:30 caregiver

15–18:30 childcare

Wednesday

8–10:00 dog care

12–14:30 caregiver

15–18:30 childcare

Thursday

8–10:00 dog care

12–14:30 caregiver

15–18:30 childcare

Friday

8–10:00 dog care

12–14:30 caregiver

15–18:30 childcare

Saturday

8–10:00 dog care

12–14:30 caregiver

personal

Sunday

8–10:00 clean­up

12–18:00 meals prep

personal

Her weekly schedule depicts De la Vega, mornings from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Ramirez, noon to 2:30 PM (except Sunday). Garcia, 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM with weekends afternoons off.

With these three clients, Consuela will work seven days per week. She has only Saturday and Sunday afternoons off for personal matters. Señor De la Vega pays 150 euros weekly. Señora Ramirez pays 400 euros weekly. Señor Garcia pays 300 euros weekly. So Consuela can gross nearly 3500 euros per month.

From her wages, she has food costs for Señora Ramirez and transportation expenses. To get a true sense of the experience, Consuela uses public transportation, even though she has a half dozen luxury vehicles. Señor Garcia is a short walk from Señora Ramirez.

Looking at her schedule, Consuela decides to shop for and prep her own weekly lunches along with those of Señora Ramirez on Sundays. On the metro between jobs, she can eat her lunch. Fortunately, Consuela has chefs to prepare and serve her own late dinners.

Consuela mentally estsblishes boundaries for the handsy Señor Garcia. For the sake of research, she will tolerate a gentle hand on her shoulder, a pat on the back, and even an infre­quent light tap on the bum. The duration of each should only be momentary. She will shove away an embrace and slap him if he grabs her breast, inner thighs, or buttocks.

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