Around this time in the afternoon, as I wind down the last hour of my shift as a Traffic Reporter, I hear the whir of a vacuum. From my work station I can see through the 12×12″ square window in the door out into the hallway where Benjamin and Carmen are performing their cleaning rituals. Benjamin wears the vacuum on his back like a Ghostbuster, while Carmen mostly takes care of cleaning the common bathroom and the 3 kitchenettes on this 7th floor, as I am sure they do on most — if not all — of the other floors of this 10-story building.
Carmen and Benjamin are always smiling, and I always greet them by name. They know my name as well, and always seem happy to see me. Sometimes, if he catches me between reports, Benjamin will ask if it’s a good time to give the floor in my studio a going-over.
Because they speak little English, and I know virtually only three brief phrases in Spanish, our conversations are almost non-existent; but that greeting we present to each other everyday is sincere and warm, and behind our smiles we are saying, “Here we are again, glad to be here, grateful to have a job, and most of all, how nice it is to see you.”
I work with a handful of radio people who complain about what we do. For the most part, they get to talk on the radio for a living, yet they still find stuff to complain about, whether it be overwhelmed, over-worked, taken advantage of, or pissed at something someone did to make their job harder. These types who always seem to have an ax to grind are the people I choose to keep at arm’s length.
I prefer to let the positive souls into my world, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. The Carmens, the Benjamins; they get it.