The "Special Effects" Edition
As you may have gleaned from reading other stories I’ve told (R.I.P. Adele Bildersee), I am impressed with and inspired by people who are excellent at their job, no matter the job, no matter the industry. I am sometimes in awe of the pride I see that people can take in their work and the mastery they possess of their domain.
This week, our window washer came to our house. It sits on the four natural axes of sand, wind, salt, and bird poop. Not only do the exteriors of the windows seem to catch whatever they can, whatever they miss handily gets sucked into the micro-mesh of the screens, traveling straight into the house and up to the ceiling fan blades.
Every year, by the time Tisha B’Av rolls around, our windows (and screens and fans and also floors and furniture surfaces, btw) are like one of those cars with tinted back seat windows. It’s like we’re wearing sunglasses inside the house. So, once a summer, I text Frankie (names are changed to protect the squeegee-cent) who gives a wholly unspecific, yet wildly enthusiastic, date and time. Sooner or later he shows up. Arriving on his bicycle (no cars here) with seemingly few tools and nary a bucket in sight, he avails himself of the neighbor network of outdoor sheds and under-house stowage which makes all kinds of hoses, ladders, scrubbers, brushes and the like appear.
He does bring a number of special products he uses. I am not the Edward Snowden of the window washer intelligence network so I am not going to reveal these trade secrets. But I have seen the alchemist at work and I can certify that these are proprietary formulas, not available in stores.
During the workday we have robust conversation, too! We were talking — ironically, given his line of work vis a vis office attendance? — about young folks and whether they will ever want to return to in-person office work. He said that in his opinion they were missing a lot of opportunities for “networking and getting ‘up there’ (see: iconic Bethenny/Kelly hand gesture scene).” In fact Frankie mentioned that all the young people who go to fancy colleges, including his niece who went to an Ivy League school on an athletic scholarship (he volunteered) start out “pretty normal” and then turn “so liberal I mean it’s crazy what they say.” BTW I kind of agree with him! But then again maybe not really because a) he did not get the memo (from the Libs) that ‘normal’ is #canceled and also, from what I gather from prior years’ discussions regarding things like vaccines the presidential election of 2020, my friend Frankie is a little right of Goldwater, as my father used to say.
Well, cut to ~7 hours (!) later. He was packing up to go (aka returning things to the neighbors’ sheds) but he noticed one streak on one impossible-to-get-to dormer window was really driving him nuts! He made the (neighbor’s?) ladder reappear, re-attached the (other neighbor’s?) long hose, and cleaned it all over again, missing the 7:40pm ferry in the process. I said “Wow, I feel bad you have to take the next boat!” and he said “hey, I’m a 55-year old window washer, I can handle it—there’s always another boat!” And with that, I gave him a (neighbor’s?) wheelbarrow worth of cash and two beers and he was on his merry way.
I mentor so many people at various points in their career, which is something that I love. When people ask for help in work trajectory, I guess I relate the basic fact of what can be taken from the story of the window washer: do the job right and take pride in doing it well. If it doesn’t work out, there’s always another ferry.
In the meantime, my windows (for at least another day or so until the next seagull has his revenge on us) are so clear it’s a miracle if tonight’s dinner party guests won’t walk straight into them after their two drinks.
It is also crystal clear that I think this is a fun edition of the LZ Sunday Paper. It is beyond chock full of important news by, for, and about women, delivered straight to your inbox. Politics, Pop Culture and everything in between. Every Sunday.
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