When I work on the new South Park Drawbridge here in Seattle, one of my duties is to wash the tower windows inside and out once a month. Given that the building looks similar to an air traffic control tower and has large windows all around its perimeter, this not a trifling endeavor. But needless to say, bridge operators need to be able to see what they’re doing, so it’s got to be done.
I did it today and got into a sort of Zen state. I kept thinking of Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid saying, “Wax on, wax off.” Patience. Calm. Focus. Control. Don’t forget to breathe.
Not that what I was doing was difficult. But the best way to turn routine into tedium is to have a piss poor attitude about it, and I’d kind of like to avoid that. So I concentrated on being the best window washer on the face of the earth, if only for that particular moment in time. My goal became to make the windows so clear that they became invisible. When the weather is nice you can see Mount Rainier from here, and I want people to see every rock and crevice of that beautiful mountain thanks to me.
When you strive for excellence and really tune in, routines are less of a chore and more of a comfort. My life has been anything but routine of late, so I’m happy to have any sort of habitual task, and look forward to building up more of them over time. I’m grateful to have this job. I’m excited about the life it will afford me. I love that it allows me to live in this wondrous place. Because of that, I’d gladly wash these windows every single day of the week if need be. Bring it on.