I was at the Southern California Writers Conference this weekend. Always fun, always hectic trying to cram so much into a short space of time. By lunchtime on Saturday I needed a break and sloped off to my room for a rest. Great, I thought, when I got there. The maid was still in my room. Inclined to be irritated, I watched her for a second while she stopped scrubbing the sink and apologized for the intrusion in her broken English. Immediately I felt guilty, and deflected it by asking her for extra coffee for the room. The few seconds she took to get it from her cart, outside my door, gave me chance to think about life in her shoes. When she returned, I thanked her, gave her a tip, and asked her about her day. She looked surprised, then relieved. Maybe she wanted to talk, or someone to show the tiniest amount of interest in her as a person instead of just a maid. She told me she cleans 14 hotel rooms a day, then goes home to clean her own house and take care of her family. I can’t imagine cleaning one hotel room every day. Backbreaking work. Throughout the brief conversation, she stayed cheerful, upbeat, and never once complained. She acted as though she enjoys her job. Thirty minutes later, I went back to the conference, thankful not to be in her shoes, but glad I took a few minutes to try them on. By the way, this picture has nothing to do with this post, I just like it!