The bell rang and the class spilled out into the hall, ready to ditch their books and pick up their rain gear. Ordinarily Eli was out the door and on his way home to grab a snack, and check on his computer for the latest. But because today his dad was picking him up, he leaned on the wall at the door to be on watch. So far…. no dad.
He seldom checked the entrance message board, for lack of interest in most of the postings. But today, he was there with time to burn. At the top right hand of the board was an especially colorful post with the headline; ” Waiting for extra cash until you grow old? WHY NOT HAVE IT NOW!”
Eli had not been holding his breath until someone made an offer. He had been responding to the, now and then, chances that popped up in the neighborhood,,,, not really looking for jobs……until this year, when he found a girl friend or two, and dating became a problem. Well, they were not big time….. but movies and gas were expensive.
This issue, and others ( given the fact that his parents refused to pick up the tab for everything) caused him to read further, The posting was sponsored by a non-profit outfit called “Independence Now”. Their next meeting was at the library nest Tuesday .
Eli showed up with Bobby (somewhat under protest) who said; ‘This must be some kind of scam”,,,,,,,, but, the guy at at the head of it made the case for their desire to find part time. jobs for young boys…. No strings attached.
There were actual jobs they promoted with hourly rates that staggered them . Bobby was quick to say; “See what I mean… there is no way.”
Eli reviewed the list and stopped at the one that had surprising appeal.
It read “Window washer, Part time Generous pay per window”_
It was offered by St. Luke’s Hospital. Eli’s first response was; “What do you know; This was where I was born!”
He made a note of the hospital contact and talked to Sister Magdalene; Head of Housekeeping. She described the work, and said they had all of the equipment and supplies that were needed.
In short, depending on window size, the pay would be $!.00- $2.25 per window, depending on size. You could operate on your own schedule. There were three floors (finish the last one and start all over again). He said he wold get back to her after he talked with “Manhood” about it., He could see himself doing inside windows, but outside on the 3rd floor?
He decided. after talking with his mom and dad, that he might do it. It was only when he saw the temporary maintenance man in action that he said; “Man, that’s cool…. sign me up!” He followed with; “Bobby will do the inside, and I’ll do the outside.”
Amazingly, they gave the O.K. and the training began. While there were reservations about 16 year old boys, they were pretty big guys and they would wait and see… given as persuasive and mature as the seemed to be.
The day came for venturing out the window… to hang there with two buckets of water strapped to his waist belt, while standing on stirrups on the outside wall and clamped over the inside sill.
Obviously, the first exercise was on the first floor, with a 5 ft. drop to the ground. Bobby with the came gear, less stirrups, used a ladder when needed inside.
Eli quickly concluded; “This is a piece of cake” and did about 20 windows .,,,,, Comfortable, even weeks later, as he worked his way to the third floor where it was 30 ft. to the ground.
As was always the case, he first introduced himself to the patient, opened the window, stepped out in the stirrups, then closed the window down on the belt and sill. Settling in, he brushed the window with cleansing water, then clear, And, as he reached for his squeegee; he saw through the blur of water on the pane, that the patient had gotten up and was making wild gestures at him as she moved toward him.
What would you do if this happened to you?,,,,,, I know, you wouldn’t be standing 30 ft. in the air washing a dumb window in the first place!
As he reached to raise the window to jump to safety; Bobby, as was often the case, entered the doorway to do his inside job, and saw what was going on, and he stepped in front of the obviously frazzled woman.
Eli leaped back in, spilling both buckets of water on the floor, saying: “Bobby you were right… this is a complete scam !” ……back to the list. I’d rather have the one in the Broccoli Plant, picking out the bugs on the conveyor belt.” And, they surly did … right through the summer at $1.00 an hour, when at last they both became supervisors.
Bobby, the constant source of reason and wisdom, looked up from their position at the end of the belt, with the summary; “Well. do we really know now what a real job looks like?
Crediting him with that observation , Eli added; ” Yeah, back to the paper route and lawnmowers”.
“I’ll just cut down on Girls… and Movies!”
Actually, he did cut way down on movies And, enjoyed only a slight increase in girls.
And, fortunately, they gained a tremendous increase in perspective!