"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

I went couch shopping with The Wife a few weeks ago and came away with this–I would never want to be a furniture salesman. Especially the guys up on the ninth floor at Macy’s. Man, it was depressing. But I’d sell couches any day before washing windows high in the sky. Now, there’s a tough job.

[Photo Via: Inge Morath  and Eye Heart New York]


1 Ben   ~  Apr 22, 2013 1:03 pm

F that. I once worked with a guy on a rooftop garden. He was up on the parapit wall, 17 floors up, joking around. He kept going, look Ben, whoa, what if I fell, and let go on his grip for a second, his body would start to fall but he'd resnatch his grip in plenty of time. He was fine. Never slipped. And he laughed at me as I grabbed onto his belt buckle, white knuckles, until he got down and quit it. I'll never forgive that guy. I was pretty carefree about heights before that. Can't even cross the brooklyn bridge now without getting freaked out.

As for cleaning windows...

2 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 22, 2013 2:18 pm

Some years back I used to install and service satellite dishes for a regional satellite service provider; often times I would have to climb on the roof of a house to reach the dish and the typical roof in Westchester has a rather steep incline. I would see guys walking on that type of roof like it was second nature, but I often had to climb on my belly (if at all). I couldn't go more than 20 feet on a ladder before I would get nervous.

The worst time was when I had to climb onto a roof that was 25 feet from the ground and my ladder just barely reached the ledge. The customers volunteered to stand by while I ascended the ladder because it was drizzling and I was not going to go up; they desperately wanted TV and had waited weeks for a service person. But as soon as I climbed to the roof, the customers disappeared; the rain came harder and half of my equipment slid off the roof. I carefully got back down and left without a word; called by supervisor and told them they could fire me if they wished, but I would never jeopardize myself like that for people who didn't give a shyt.

I was not reprimanded for it, but months later I resigned after getting a long string of assignments that were undoable because of ice and snow on the roof of the houses to which I was dispatched; homeowners are told it is their responsibility to clean the equipment and the region in which they are to work, but they never did. And being an independent contractor meant I was at the mercy of the company and the customer.

These days, I am certified with aerial lifts and booms; I climb scaffolds fifty feet in the air to lay or connect heavy electric cables and set lamps for movie sets without thinking about how high I go; I'm required to wear harnesses if I work above six feet. OSHA makes a big, big difference in many things about this kind of work...

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver