From an observer’s standpoint I hope it is relayed the sense of romance I feel for my profession and the quality of days it affords me. How many other skills allow a man such a singular direction as does cleaning a window?
Van Morrison’s song “Cleaning Windows” does communicate this laid-back quality. As for the workday, one can literally drop what he’s doing and head to a coffee shop. The break can be valuable. After the following ordeal I did just that.
I’ve worked in uptight environments that are like zoos for desperate back stabbers and I vowed to never return to that. Even happy creatives can take on that misery. Artist types are easy to buy off because they’re poor to start with. Their passion gets taken advantage of. You should see what happens in an ad agency. Especially susceptible are they to the caged lunacy and I, myself, chose to keep it more simple.
I work hard for myself but at my very own pace. I’m fortunate. “Work smarter, not harder” is the saying. I aspire to that. The greatest test of will is in being self employed. Hello Mr. Sorg, it’s nice to finally meet you. Shall we dance? Let’s spar instead. It’s hard to call a winner. Is it the lazy libertine or the slave driver? Both are me.
At the old Joseph Storm house a giant storm window was one of many which had been added on to modernize and soundproof from the traffic of W. Washington St. This one was on the west wall and it had me scared. It was heavy, crushing my finger under it once I unattached its fasteners. My finger was propping up the glass off the rock ledge windowsill. I was off to a bad start. The weight was real and it was intimidating. The weight was enough to turn me away like a whimpering amateur but personal will and pride kept me there fighting. Johnny Appleseed is my totem animal and his angle is always honesty. Do the job I’m paid for. This large sheet of glass must be cleaned.
Glass is scary because it’s fragile. I have a major scar to illustrate this point. I’m lucky my childhood injury was only on my knee. Glass’ slice can prove fatal.
This storm window from the Storm house had to come down 8 feet and this job was mine to complete. I would need to make it happen, I’m the window cleaner. Simple as that.
I grabbed that glass from three different sides. I was trying to understand how I’d be able to hold it and at the same time descend to the ground, navigating my ladder, because there were no other options. Finally my head told me the answer would have to come from use of a taller ladder. I’d add a section on so it became taller than this window, 15 feet or so up the brick wall. The window was 6 feet tall. I would now be centered above it. The weight of that glass would hang below me until it descended to my 4 foot ladder ready to accept it at my feet like a halfway resting point. From trust in the wind’s calmness and quick direct action I finalized the ordeal. It happened.
I can’t underestimate the strain of clinched appendages. My muscles ached for two days. At this writing I have the pane’s elevation event to look forward to but I’m working at polishing my confidence. I had found myself mumbling “I can’t do this” and I decided right then I would never again tell myself that because we prove our words correct don’t we. Walking myself mentally back out of that doubt I observed my fear felt physically in the flesh of my arms and legs and back like a toxic rinse.
Tonight the muscles are telling me they have enough rest to feel replenished for a total onslaught. I will put this glass back in its place tomorrow. I’m not afraid because I can see it happening. I know everything I need to know and my imagination has already led me to victory. Calm will prevail.
Appleseed Window Cleaning LLC
Chad Sorg, Fort Wayne, IN
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