If you’ve read my bio, you know that I’m a professional window cleaner, and truthfully, sometimes window cleaning doesn’t feel very glamorous. But usually it does.
As a window cleaner, you are the master of a universe. Your brain surgeon client probably knows more about brains and surgery than you do, but when it comes to his windows, he’s like a newborn fawn. He’s totally dependent on you, and that’s a wonderful feeling; for you. But not for him. It leaves him feeling helpless and foolish and envious.
Sure, just like any profession, window cleaning has its drawbacks. First, you get tan and your muscles develop a decathlete’s tone and there’s no way around it. Second, you have to hang out in fancy houses with rich, awesome people, which eventually turns you into a sophisticated snob with expensive tastes. Third, you become accustomed to having access to cold, refreshing water from a hose at any given moment. Fourth, you get paid Benjamins twice a day instead of twice a month.
At this point you probably think window cleaning is all glory and no guts. It’s not. Maybe the following scenario will convince you:
Imagine you’re cleaning Chick-fil-A’s windows on a balmy afternoon. You’re up on a ladder firing off quick, graceful movements that have become instinctual. Your grey polo is form-fitting (you may or may not have bought them that way because they help land the ‘rich widow’ clientele that is so ardently sought after by every window magnate) and you know your bum cheeks flex a little when you reach for the top of the window, making them appear more shapely than they otherwise do. You’re getting things done and having a ball doing it. You feel like a million dollars, but you sense something awry. You realize that the casual spectators behind you are burning holes in your uniform with their judgmental retinas. People are making assumptions about you, the “window washer,” based on nothing more than 5 seconds of bored observation and a life’s worth of ignorance. You can almost hear their thoughts:
“He’s so lucky. I bet he doesn’t have any problems.”
“Sheesh. I bet that dude has a hot wife.”
“That guy is probably from a rich family and his dad owns this business.”
“It’s easy for him because he’s around 7 feet tall.”
Oh, I’m sorry, did I give you permission to tell me who I am and that I’m perfect and don’t have any problems? My wife is hot, but for your information, my family is upper middle class but not rich, and I’m only 6’4.
So yes, window cleaning is rad. But it comes with a burden. I remember reading of Marilyn Monroe telling her therapist how hard it was that men had all these unrealistic expectations of her. At the end of the day, under the patina of perfection, she knew that she was just a woman. And I am just a man.