i wake up. i look at alarm clock. i pull a pillow close to me and roll over to sleep another ten minutes.
bang-bang-bang! someone's at my door. shit. the building's on fire. it's the irs. i'm late for rehearsal. i missed the bus for school. i've slept through the holocaust.
"where am i?" my brain thinks. wait. stop. i'm staying in a small boutique hotel in milwaukee, wisconsin and someone is not knocking but banging on my door at ten in the morning. okay, thank god it's not the irs.
i peek out the eye hole. hmm. tool belt. dirty bluejeans. looks genuine enough. i open. "window man!" the guy exclaims. he's tall, skinny, 60. big old gray mustache. like mr. mcfeely has come to clean my windows. he doesn't look too excited to see me in my new wild animal boxers.
i ask him if he can come back. i'm still asleep. i need to wake up before i let someone touch my windows. i need to have all my faculties running on high. i need to have at least a sip of coffee.
"okeeee," he says kindly. "i've got a couple other apartments i could, let me see..." and he pulls out a ratty slip of paper. "yup, i can come back, in about how long?" he asks me. i don't know, how long does it take to do two other apartments?
"how about half an hour or so?" i say. enough time to make coffee. and remove the putty from the corners of my eyes.
bang-bang-bang! he's back. i open the door. he stays outside. "is it okay?" i think he expected me to dress up or something.
my room faces a tiny courtyard. the next apartment's windows are about ten feet away (just like home.) there's nothing high-tech about this window cleaning. mcfeely removed all the storm windows and screens, put them on the bed, and CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW. he's perched on the ledges outside my room right now. like a senior citizen spiderman. i'm not gonna even think about him falling. but i hope that when i'm his age, i'll be climbing around like that. maybe not outside of people's windows, but...you know. active.
i'm taking a better look at mcfeely, and he's actually much more sam elliott.
i think he's nervous. i think he feels the tension in the room. there's no small talk, just sam doing his job and doing it well. and me in my boxers, watching t.v. and taking pictures of him.
i wonder if he needs my help? i could wipe the windows dry after he washes them. i wonder if he's a democrat? there's political talk coming from the television (surprise.) i wonder if he's rolling his eyes, thinking "why doesn't this asshole turn on fox news?"
maybe he'd rather be watching "the view". i'm gonna change the channel and see what happens.
if you're in milwaukee and you know what channel "the view" is on, call me.
i hate "the view". okay, hate is a strong word. reserved for conservative talk show clowns and leaders of the free world. i don't hate "the view". but sometimes, it's really annoying.
mcfeely (i was right the first time) is back at the center windows. this is taking forever. i wish he would go so i could...well. i just woke up and i just had some coffee, okay? i can't do...much...while he's with me in this small room.
this is boring even me.
we're having a nice little conversation now, about climbing around outside the windows.
11:00 and thirty-two seconds p.m.
what if that actually said 11:01 p.m.? what if the window guy was actually here until 11:00 tonight? wouldn't that be strange?
i've accidentally turned on the last hour of the today show, with kathy lee gifford. i haven't eaten, there's about a half a cup of coffee in my otherwise empty stomach, and i've yet to...you know. that and kathy lee gifford on the t.v. is a recipe for disaster.
okay, it's 11:06 a.m. and he's gone.
"the place is yours," he says as he heads out. sweet old mr. mcfeely. sweet old window washin' guy. sure, i've got clean windows now, but i'll miss him.