I wanted to write about what once it had been like to tap into the energy that can be me----the purposeful mental singing, the quick turn of phrase, the spark of light and life that caused quick turn of heads, once, once.
A crew of window washers arrived two days ago, and they brought such energy in their wake. They all seemed to like the job, the satisfying before and after of a task completed and the results so obvious. What must that feel like? I cannot even imagine what I could do right now that would compare to such an instant gratifying result.
I turned on music for them, played DJ., picking for the first song Wrecking Ball, which only now do I see as funny. Very quickly after putting on the music, I heard a crash. What broke was not something cherished--and I quickly assured Josh that I wasn't upset; it was a glass lampshade, one that had balanced tenuously, a Goodwill purchase. He'd cried out as if caught at a game of tag—I did it I did it, he called to the house full of washers.
Josh has told me that he’s worked for Paul, the owner of North Adams Window Washing service, for twenty-six years. He looks around thirty, but I figured he'd started while in high school--so I would be twenty years older. As we picked up the shards, he told me that in all those years he had only broken one other thing. That was such a remarkable statement, such an astounding fact that I couldn’t think of a response. Because I have MS, I drop things constantly; often things roll away after dropped and when I’m on all fours searching for the thing then I sometimes knock over a table and break other things.
After we swept up the glass, I went back to music selection. Music to Wash Windows By….. I played Alabama Shakes, Bruce Springsteen, a few songs from Beast of the Southern Wild soundtrack—which I realized right away was not a window washers' favorite. There was a palpable group deflate.
Josh looked around the room where I sat with the computer in my lap.
This is voodoo stuff? All this? Right? As he asked he swept his hand across the room where there are what I call altars, or sometimes I speak of them as shrines—wooden constructions filled with all sorts of stuff—toys, cut-outs, twigs, ribbons, feathers, mirrors.
Yes, I said, I’m from Louisiana.
Cool, cool, he said, and then said he'd never been many places, that he’d been outside of New York City—for Yankees games-- once or twice--but was nervous about going into New York. I wasn’t surprised. I’ve been told by several people in Williamstown—a three-hour drive to NYC—that they’ve never been, don’t want to go.
I can’t imagine.
I tried to think about why this young man would not want to venture out further afield.
Suddenly—and to my complete, honest to god surprise—I wanted to kiss him.
He must have felt some shift in the atmosphere because he said his girlfriend liked to go out, get dressed up and do things she saw on reality tv.
Like what? I wanted to know.
Like nice dinners, he said. She watches The Kardashians, he said.
He watches The Game of Thrones.
Take her to a nice restaurant, I said. Please take her, I begged, surprised at my passionate plea. I was overcome with the need to convince him to romance this woman, court her, take her to hear music, take her to art galleries and movies, to restaurants overlooking mountains, restaurants where strange appetizers are served.
As he wiped down another window, I played Wrecking Ball again, closed my eyes and sang along with Miley for a bit. I came in like a wrecking ball/ Yeah I just closed my eyes and swung/ Left me crashing in a blazing fall......
Later as he was packing up his glass cleaning equipment, he said, You've got some spirit to you.
I saw you, he said. I saw you moving to that music. Then as his boots sounded on the stairs like a pony in full flight, he said, You must have been something else in your day.
I was, I called down from my perch. I really was.