Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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The dude at the window

Posted by Oli on Monday 10th September, 2007

I’m in an advanced state of “how to deal with the dude at the window?”.

For reasons un-bloggable, the living room is currently out of bounds, so I’m holed-up, not unhappily, in the study, surfing the ‘net a little to catch up on some of my favourite, but not every-day sites.  Whilst I browse, the familiar clinking bang hits the wall and the half-creak, half-screech of a man climbing a ladder grows ever louder in my ear.

Sure enough, miliseconds later, armed with cloth and long wipey thing which has no discernable purpose beyond making it look like they’re actually doing something, a man appears at the window.

So now I’m stuck in that awkward zoo-like state of strangeness wherein you don’t know if it’s appropriate to turn and acknowledge him or just to ignore him.  You’re perfectly well aware that he’s there and he knows that you’re aware of it, too.  But where do you look once you’ve turned to look at him?

If you do acknowledge him, in what way and for how long?  Obviously, being in a first-floor flat, opening the window for a quick “how do you do?” isn’t going to be a warmly welcomed idea, and communicating through double glazing is hard enough when you can wave and shout and point at things, but given his donkey-on-a-pole status with buckets, chamois and wipeys everywhere seems a likely impossibility.

Is it rude to ignore someone who’s closer to you than it’s natural for one man to be to another if they’re not considering amourous relations or celebrating a sporting triumph?  Does the pane of clear sheeting between you justify the pretense of ignorance?

I figure that most people opt not to acknowledge their window cleaners if they have something sufficiently distracting to legitimately hold their attention away from the window (say, writing a blog or performing micro-surgery on a wasp unlucky enough to die slap-bang in the middle of the desk).  This conclusion leads me to believe that if I, being so occupied, were in fact to turn to acknowledge the presence of the ladderman, I would in fact so startle him as to risk his ability to maintain his balance and thus his position some 3 metres off the ground.  Not wishing him to become too prematurely re-aquainted with the earth, I decide on grounds of health and safety to ignore him completely and settle back, contented with my  caring and considered manner in dealing with the problem, into constructing my witticisms.

For some reason, though, I can’t escape the feeling that he’s just climbed down and moved on the next window whilst muttering to his mate, “That miserable git up there has nothing better to do than pull the wings off flies and yet he can’t even muster up a wave while I clean his bleedin’ windows.”


9 Responses to “The dude at the window”

  1. Jac said

    Bizarrely I had a whole series of posts on my blog regarding my inappropriate behaviour when window cleaners are around. If you get bored, the first installment is the second post ever in my blog archive.

    I have yet to learn the best thing to do when they come round – generally speaking I just leave all the blinds shut until midday so I can’t see them 😉

    Hope your ivs are working 🙂

  2. Bruce said


    After much laughing and discussion, I’d like to say, on behalf of Elaine and myself:


    *hugs all round*

    And that Elaine hugs tight.


  3. elaine said

    I second that 🙂

    and yes, yes i do, i have arms like a gorilla, they have to be good for something.


  4. Emily said

    I was about to mention Jac’s escepades too but she got their first! My flat at uni was the worst, bloody windows were full length. One time I stared at the TV with great concentration before it slowly dawned on me he could probably see the screen and the fact that it was blank…x

  5. suzie said

    I look them straight in the face with a non expression and they usually nod, I nod back and head for cover. Its not nice.

    Hope the IV’s are kicking in chuck.

  6. Jacqui said

    Made me Laugh Out Loud.


  7. nick and mel said

    Dear hum now you are part of the family and have been for a while, you can act like one of us. In situations like yours you can be ignorant or stupid. Always go for stupid and stand up to walk out of the room and as you leave moon him. Steiny would be proud
    Nick and Mel x

  8. Bruce said

    Oh, and.

    Paper rounds are the same.

    Number 2, Ivy Close.

    Always the same old guy in an armchair, directly across from the window.

    Do you smile at him?

    Do you hold up a paper?

    Do you run?

    Or has he died with his eyes open, explaining the fact that he never seems to change position?


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