day job: washing windows
it’s an occupational hazard, or at least this week it was. i’ve been spritzing, rubbing, wiping streaks from windows all around.
my glass, egad, so streakless, poor pigeon crashed beak-first into what it thought was sky. (fear not, i went in search of him, poor feather-fallen thing, but he was nowhere to be found, which means i can assume that his neck remained intact; by the way, i promptly scotch-taped cutout bird to prevent another crash. did you know that window crashes kill a billion birds a year? someone counted.)
but back to window wiping.
all this wild-eyed doing away with smudge and splot, the goo that’s left from winter, it has nothing to do with me going nuts with newfound vernal light. and it’s not, i promise, from inhaling ammonia fumes.
no no, you see, in the latest wrinkle of my investigative life, i am testing cleaners. green cleaners to be precise. trying to determine if saving the sweet earth might mean giving up some sheen.
it is, i suppose, spring cleaning under duress.
were it not for story deadline, would i be spritzing up a storm?
truly, probably not. but fact of the matter is i do appreciate the leap on clean that it inspired.
oh no, here we go again. me and my fixation on making messes clean. no no, i do protest, it’s not the messes i detest (though they do get under my skin, make me kind of antsy, remind me i’m a slob at heart, just one pile away from giving in to inner pigpen), it’s the dirt.
ah yes, it’s doing away with dirt that gets my juices bubbling.
i was i love lucy, all except the rag tied ‘round my head, madly sudsing up this house.
the more you ditch the dirt, i find, the more determined you become. what starts out as surface cleaning quickly takes a dive. you find yourself quite suddenly excavating grime. there you are in cracks and shadows mining shmutz of origin unknown.
i was reading of the jewish ritual of cleaning house for passover, the bread-free springtime festival that hovers around easter, and i kid you not the sisterhood recommended toothpicks and q-tips for getting into crevices. that is armament the likes of which this catholic girl has rarely seen.
and then, as if the toothpicks aren’t enough, the night before the eve of passover, the whole family ventures through the house, in search of furtive crumb that might be clinging to a crack. this time armed with feather, spoon and candle, papa leads the way. any crumb that’s confiscated will be burned in ritual offering the next morning. all this spelled out in the holy book.
and that wouldn’t be a guide to springtime cleaning.
though it could be.
what is it, i wonder, that has us as a species so finely wired that when the clock ticks march, we are stirred to shake the rugs? to grab the feather duster? all right, at least to dial up the kleen brigade, and make a date for superkleen with extra wax?
maybe it’s got something to do with all the pure new light, the angle that it slants, how it catches on the dust fields in ways it never did in winter.
or maybe there’s some chemical that surges when the daylight savings time clicks in, and suddenly all over, we feel the need to shake the feathers from our nest.
speaking of feathers, it seems i was not the only one under this shingled roof who got into the nesting groove this week.
seems that mama sparrow has been sizing up my house, looking high and low for a place to call her own. spied herself a little cove, she did, right above the woodwork that surrounds the new front door. the very one, of course, where i’ve been madly cleaning glass.
my mama saw her darting in and out. i saw her picking sticks, like she was bargain hunting in the basement of filene’s, i tell you, sifting through the racks of sticks, deciding just which one. plucking this stick, wiggling it around, dropping stick back to the ground. maybe she didn’t like the way it looked against her feathers.
my mama, ever full of common sense and what lurks around the corner, pointed out that if mrs. sparrow and her brood spend their hatching days right above my door, well, i’ll be wiping lots of springtime goo from panes of glass.
this springtime cleaning thing might take me through to summer.
anyone else out there doing the feather-duster dance?
I have started this annual rite.
However, for me, before the cleaning comes the clearing.
Piles have gathered on every flat surface – piles of magazines (the mindless kind – voyeuristic peeks into the homes and lives of others that belong at bottom of the pile); piles of New Yorkers which definitely cannot be tossed or recycled until their stories have be been read, piles of statements from paid bills awaiting to be filed; folders of articles torn or clipped from newspaper articles deemed essential to keep ready for quick reference…..list goes on.
So, spring cleaning for me is first – clearing away and letting go of my piles so the flat surfaces can breathe and make contact with the feather duster.
Saturday, March 24, 2007 – 11:00 AM