Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Art of Waxing

I'm not sure whether I want to tell Isaac the truth or not. He seems just wavy-gravy enough to take it well, like the old dude on the bus. I don't know if you remember him from a previous post (all two of you), but the old dude, besides telling me never to work for a contractor (guilty on two counts now, I'm afraid), also urged me to enjoy my trips a bit more. For him, experience was quality in and of itself. A lout might ask if getting kicked in the nuts is quality. To you, I say, read the My New Superpower post. I remember Isaac's speech about teenagers, and the similarities strike me. The old dude didn't wish his fate on others and so gave advice freely, drawing from past mistakes. Isaac shared his teenager avoidance manoeuvres when we first met. He too didn't want me to suffer as he had. So, I'm standing here watching Isaac teach me the subtleties of floor waxing, and his enthusiasm and perfectionism are a true sight to behold. I'm pretty sure he'd have no problem with it at all.

“Waxing a brand new floor is the best, of course, because you get it right the first time. But man, there is just something about restoring a beat up ol' floor and making it look like new. It's a true test of skill and imagination, you know?. No floor is the same to begin with, but you throw in a decade or two of different janitors using different techniques, all of them flawed, and sometimes you have a real challenge there. It's almost like antique restoration: patience and subtleness. You can't just strip the floor bare and start on naked tile! You'll get two days of shine and it'll go duller than PBS. The floor'll never be the same. Never.”

All of this while he waxes, happily enough, a brand new classroom tile floor. We are in our sock feet and Isaac is cool enough to let me help him despite my inexperience. Just enough wax on the broom, smooth, even strokes that leave a uniform coat that dries almost instantly. Rather than throw on one sloppy coat of wax, we will leave perhaps 7-10 thin ones on top of 3 similar coats of tile sealer. His monologue has left me calm and confident. I find myself admiring the transformation of the floor. Brilliant. I will say this: I am not willing to swallow Isaac's janitorial art thesis just yet, but I'll let him spoonfeed me some.

But is he cool enough to let me keep waxing if I suddenly say “You know Isaac, this might shock you quite a bit, but sometimes I accidentally travel through time. I just wanted to warn you in advance in case it happens again. You might have to finish my half of the classroom.”

Maybe some other time.

By the way, I just wanted to let you know that Diane died a few weeks ago. At least she's dead to me. Do you hear that Diane? You are DEAD TO ME! You know why, don't make me repeat it to my loyal readers! And I want my watch back. Enough of your twisted head games, just give me the watch and this whole sordid affair will be over!.