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The Window Cleaner

“Is that sparkling, or what! There’s nothing like this moment.”

Tim attacks nail salon!
Tim attacks nail salon!

He’s looking at himself in the window mirror. His arms flail around like the Navy guy who guides planes into landings on a carrier. But what he’s actually doing is wiping the final water away from his attack on a once-grimy display window.

“Is that sparkling, or what!” says Timothy. “There’s nothing like this moment.”

I’ve met him here in Palm Plaza, near Otay Valley Regional Park. Tim has a phalanx of Palm Plaza shop windows still to clean today. But he’s happy to have the contract. Windows are his business. “I thought of advertising with the line ‘Your panes are my pleasure,’ but then I thought there’d be a few people saying ‘Is he into sado-masochism?’”

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Timothy

You might believe that in his middle-plus stage of life this jolly elf of a man might be becoming sado-masochistic on himself. There’s an awful lot of vertical massaging of windows in the job he has chosen, a lot of climbing ladders, a ton of leaning and kneeling. “Specially in private houses where they have benches in front of windows, kneeling for each of them can be tough. By the time I’ve finished some of them, I can hardly walk. And it’s ‘Why are you going so slow, just from kneeling down?’ I want to say ‘My knees are shot!’ But what can you do?”

What can you do but laugh? And, to his great credit, he does.

Actually Tim has taken to wearing copper compression socks, along with suspenders. “The copper socks really help. My legs feel a lot better.”

And the suspenders? He’s wearing a pair of wide brown ones today. What do they cure? “Plumber’s Butt,” he says. “You’re leaning over a bucket and the nail salon lady’s looking down. Gotta protect the Great Divide.”

Tim used to work in pubs. Until he got fired. “I was working at Hooley’s Irish pub in Rancho San Diego for years. When they fired me, I went to my lawyer friend and said ‘What am I going to do? I’m 67 years old and they fired me!’ He said ‘Bullshit, man. Sue them for your unemployment!’ I did, and I won. He said ‘It’s about money, Tim, the insurance. You cost them more. Your premiums go up when you turn 65.’ ”

He also won an ageism suit. “Walked away with $1500. But no job.”

So he threw himself into setting up a window-cleaning business. “There’s quite a science to it. For instance, surface tension: first you’ve got to wet the glass. You’ve got to squeegee on the top edge. If you don’t wipe it first, take the tension off the water’s surface, the water won’t pull along with the squeegee. Then sometimes there’s something on the blade, and as you pull down, now there’s water behind it, and it makes a little streak line. And I’ll notice a little bead of dried water. And the customer will say, ‘I don’t see it.’ But I see it. Shit. Shit! So then I have to go back and do it the other way. It’s just the way I am.”

He dollops one, two, three, four generous capfuls of EasyGlide glass cleaner into the now-empty bucket, plus one for the bucket. “I always have too much soap in there. Deliberately. A pinch to grow an inch. It’s just the way I am.”

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Tim attacks nail salon!
Tim attacks nail salon!

He’s looking at himself in the window mirror. His arms flail around like the Navy guy who guides planes into landings on a carrier. But what he’s actually doing is wiping the final water away from his attack on a once-grimy display window.

“Is that sparkling, or what!” says Timothy. “There’s nothing like this moment.”

I’ve met him here in Palm Plaza, near Otay Valley Regional Park. Tim has a phalanx of Palm Plaza shop windows still to clean today. But he’s happy to have the contract. Windows are his business. “I thought of advertising with the line ‘Your panes are my pleasure,’ but then I thought there’d be a few people saying ‘Is he into sado-masochism?’”

Sponsored
Sponsored
Timothy

You might believe that in his middle-plus stage of life this jolly elf of a man might be becoming sado-masochistic on himself. There’s an awful lot of vertical massaging of windows in the job he has chosen, a lot of climbing ladders, a ton of leaning and kneeling. “Specially in private houses where they have benches in front of windows, kneeling for each of them can be tough. By the time I’ve finished some of them, I can hardly walk. And it’s ‘Why are you going so slow, just from kneeling down?’ I want to say ‘My knees are shot!’ But what can you do?”

What can you do but laugh? And, to his great credit, he does.

Actually Tim has taken to wearing copper compression socks, along with suspenders. “The copper socks really help. My legs feel a lot better.”

And the suspenders? He’s wearing a pair of wide brown ones today. What do they cure? “Plumber’s Butt,” he says. “You’re leaning over a bucket and the nail salon lady’s looking down. Gotta protect the Great Divide.”

Tim used to work in pubs. Until he got fired. “I was working at Hooley’s Irish pub in Rancho San Diego for years. When they fired me, I went to my lawyer friend and said ‘What am I going to do? I’m 67 years old and they fired me!’ He said ‘Bullshit, man. Sue them for your unemployment!’ I did, and I won. He said ‘It’s about money, Tim, the insurance. You cost them more. Your premiums go up when you turn 65.’ ”

He also won an ageism suit. “Walked away with $1500. But no job.”

So he threw himself into setting up a window-cleaning business. “There’s quite a science to it. For instance, surface tension: first you’ve got to wet the glass. You’ve got to squeegee on the top edge. If you don’t wipe it first, take the tension off the water’s surface, the water won’t pull along with the squeegee. Then sometimes there’s something on the blade, and as you pull down, now there’s water behind it, and it makes a little streak line. And I’ll notice a little bead of dried water. And the customer will say, ‘I don’t see it.’ But I see it. Shit. Shit! So then I have to go back and do it the other way. It’s just the way I am.”

He dollops one, two, three, four generous capfuls of EasyGlide glass cleaner into the now-empty bucket, plus one for the bucket. “I always have too much soap in there. Deliberately. A pinch to grow an inch. It’s just the way I am.”

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The discreet charms of Secret Sister

The South Park sourdough bakery dabbles in the unfamiliar
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