Less drama, more stress

The window washer is working his way through my building, and this is his approach. He’s less dramatic than the fellow RaspberryJefe found last week. He’s thin and wiry, missing a few teeth, with gray and thinning hair and a worried look. I asked him if he ever rappels down the outsides of buildings and he said, “Sure, but that’s only efficient when you have large panes of glass and no window screens. In this building, where you’re expected to clean both sides of the glass, this is faster.” He left his bucket in the hallway, came in with a rag, a sponge, a spray bottle, and a squeegee, and he was in and out in 12 minutes, including the removal and reattachment of the screens. “I’m losing my ass on this contract because the damn painters left a mess and I’m expected to clean it up. This is my last year before I retire, and it can’t go fast enough for me.” He didn’t want his face in the photograph, so I give you his back, his ponytail, and to the left of it, the beautiful stained-glass star Blast gave me when Sue and I visited the UK in 2015. As he left, I thought with sympathy of his stress--the need to work quickly, the fear of losing his profit-margin, his irritation at the sloppy painters he never met, his weariness, his longing for retirement.

I’m grateful to all the invisible unsung workers who maintain our cities: they paint, clean windows and hallways, deliver packages, power-wash and sand-blast, haul wood, dig, lay pipe, drive machinery, fix broken elevators, replace sewer pipes or electric wires, and generally do the tedious, often strenuous and thankless jobs that keep us functioning. 

I’m also grateful to all of you. Thank you for your hearts and stars for the portraits Sue and I made of each other. Thank you. 

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