Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moved to Speak.

“When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.”

~Rodney Dangerfield

Its the 13th week of The Plan (formerly known as training). I was set on the all great calendar of pain to swim 3000 this morning, not a very big deal considering I swam 3000 last week already. I have been feeling remarkably strong in the pool. This morning was no exception and I surfed my way to 2800 comfortable and finished with 3200 uncomfortable. I pushed myself hard the last 1000 and it was worth it to feel that emptiness afterward when I stand up on deck for the first time and wobble my way back to shower.

The left knee is holding up nicely since I gave it a mini break from running.

Note to self--

Unsupportive Running Shoes
Bad Bike Fit
Crazy-ass skiing

This morning I came in and saw a man sweeping stuff out into the hallway from our lab corridor. The door was open wide and he had his big, wide, floor sweeper/duster PILED with crap from our floor. It was obscene how much crap he had swept up. He was a pleasant enough guy-- a big, older mexican guy--who moved for me so I could get past and to my desk.

I came around the corner to my desk and saw that he had piled my nasty, dirty cords and stuff from the floor up onto the surface of the desk. I felt a little miffed that he had forgotten to put them down (its gross that they were there, anyway, but I figure I would have rather just not known at that point) again when he was finished. I look around and saw that the floor was remarkably clean. There was virtually no dust around. I was in awe. He had only dusted/swept, and our lab floor looked better than I had seen it look in years. So I told him that.

He explained our normal cleaning lady (oops, Custodial Technician) had been hurt on the job and that is why we have had different people in here every morning. He thought that our floor "looks neglected" and he "doesn't want it to get any farther behind" so he was scrubbing it this morning.

I don't think I could thank him enough, or more profusely.

My perspective changed. I took the cords and opened one of the drawers where I keep the computer overnight. I left the drawer partway open and propped the cords up on it. I returned to my desk and realized how shortsighted I had been-- he was leaving those cords up there so he could continue mopping. Duh, Aaron. So Smawt.

I moved some other things around and helped him by moving some waste containers while he mopped. Then he went to get a big scrubby pad and proceeded to hand scrub our floor. Amazing. This is amazing, I told him. It felt like Christmas. He laughed and we talked for a bit. I shared with him my history of employment, a significant percentage of which included scrubbing Golds Gym floors and bathrooms, and how much I appreciated just for myself seeing it be clean. My new amigo then went to get the big autoscrubber machine and is now scrubbing the heckfire out of our nasty floor.

It looks amazing. It smells clean. He takes pride in making it look nice just for the satisfaction of making it cleaner than it was when he got here. He isn't complaining about the time, the effort, or his lack of pay. He hasn't mentioned unions once. He hasn't stopped chatting with me or smiling or being polite.

I just sent his supervisor an email explaining how wonderful this man is.

He reminds me that regardless of what it is you do, you should take pride in it.


Jan said...

Wow. On so many levels, wow.

Wow that I have a hard time motivating myself when I have a cushy job that really is only here to help and motivate others. I should be embarrassed.

Wow that he takes that much pride in what he does.

Wow that he doesn't take the easy way out, that he is not lazy and doing a half-assed job at something he could easily feel is mundane or unappreciated.

Wow that understanding context and perspective can make such a difference in how we see little things.

Wow that you were able to connect with another human being and help. You probably made his day.

Jan said...

Oh, and on a side note, when I got back to my "office" from swimming, there was no one scrubbing my floor. But, I let her out of the garage and she got to work licking. She also takes pride in her work and will not rest until every last scent of something residual has been scoured from the floor.

But it never smells that clean...

Aaron said...

Oh thats my floor too. Gross. And now everyone knows our secret.

melanie said...

wednesday, 3 june, 2009 19:00 MAT

ironman is nearly here. good luck, my friend ! you deserve a great finish.

,` )