24 Nov


Daddy prepares for another day at the office....


                Once again, at some ungodly hour, I drag my sorry arse out of bed to go and clean somebody else’s windows. When I’m not working to help create faster stronger leaner devices that add more colors to Game-Boy or give a technology hungry public G-4 instead of G3, I advertise my services as a professional window washer. I know a really great job for a nosey parker; George Formby was spot on.

 (Does anybody truly know what the difference is between G3 and G4, or whether or not an Apple I-phone #1 is less worthy than a spanking new shiny Apple #4; would somebody please let me know?)

                I have worked in the semiconductor industry since 1992 and have seen and enjoyed the changes that technology has brought to daily life. Technology has moved so fast that we are now at the point that the best we can do is produce devices that make bombs ever so slightly smarter and wash machines a shade greener. As a society we have truly failed. The computer chips we are making at this stage should be going to space technology, time travel, resolving the salt to saline water issue, or here’s a good one, generating western food wealth in starving third world nations. But I digress…………….

Window cleaning has been lucrative and has added a dimension to my family which has been fantastic. It’s what pays for life’s little extras. The vacations, the skiing holidays, the new cars, the extra presents at Christmas time. However it still entails one getting out of bed, loading the truck and racing to some stranger’s house to crawl around life endangering tiled roofs and submit to the most banal of client requests. Would I mind going over that window one more time as there is a non-existent, non-visible mark which only the lady of the house can see? Seeing as how the purveyor of my wages is determined to compare the girth of her incredibly sized appendage to my own, I acquiesce and fulfill her wishes.


Why do I do this? What is it that makes a person bend and cringe to the whim of an octogenarian with failing eye sight and a poor taste in window cleaners? Money of course! Isn’t that the thing we are all chasing; running for our lives, sprinting after the Yankee dollar? Realistically and returning to earth I understand that this is the medium, on this planet at least, that allows us to enjoy our 21st century lifestyles. Consequently I grab my running spikes and join the human race for a chance at wealth, cash, and ultimately a star-studded magazine-advertised lifestyle.

So the wife and I arrive at the house which is on the far west of Phoenix, just north of the Nuclear power plant. Not exactly L.A however if one squinted then one could just about make out the lights of the suburbs glinting in the distance. Nice enough house, however like I said on the outer limits of what one can barely call Phoenix. (For those in the know it was 233rd Avenue!) The house was a bank repossession that had been repainted and refurbished after the former owner had decided to destroy everything before handing the keys back to the bank. The walls had been daubed with graffiti, windows smashed, and everything that had once been attached to the walls had been thrown into the bottom of the swimming pool. Clearly the former owner was slightly pissed off!

The new owner was a good bloke, a working lad from Detroit who had spent the last forty years slaving for G.E. His career had taken him around the world, and we spoke about his time in Germany and his brief visits to the orient. His time had finally come and he had pooled all his cash and decided to retire; something which in today’s economic climate is something we can only aspire too. The lot on which his house was built was probably two acres of desert dust. No grass, no trees and only a small area of greenery around the more-trouble- than-its-worth swimming pool. At the end of the garden you could see the steam clouds rising up from the Nuclear power station; quite beautiful against the blue of the Arizona sky. Hanging over this slice of paradise were the high tension power cables which one could hear buzzing as they carried off their power to desperate distant households in Phoenix. Much needed energy to power televisions and computers; enabling the indolent masses to watch Dancing with the Stars or to compare themselves to the Biggest Loser whilst shoveling down yet another pack of Cheetos. As if this wasn’t bad enough one of the massive steel legs protruded onto his property; the carcinogenic giant casting its long gruesome shadow across his young daughter (a Christmas miracle) cycling circles alone in the dust.


He told me with a smile on his face that he had left Detroit and that this was meant to be his retirement home. Of course I smiled and congratulated him on his purchase and his life’s achievement.

I looked at the house, looked at the squeegee in my bucket, and then looked at the check in my hand and then asked myself the question.

Is this what it’s all about; is this all you get for your bloody money?

Another day of dancing; another day closer to college...


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