One school (work) day down, one hundred and seventy-nine to go

Today was back to school day.  What does “back to school” mean for a janitor?  Well, for this janitor, It means not getting home from work until close to midnight.  Blah!  It means never seeing my partner (other than seeing her sleeping) during the work week.  This will be new.  Previously, she had mornings free too and worked later shifts.  It’s going to be a big relationship-pattern change.  So far we’ve been talking on the phone in the evenings, but, not the same!  It also means doing the exact same thing, every single day, 180 times, until next summer.  I’d be hard pressed to think of another job that is as isolating and routine-oriented as this one.  Mail carrier, trash collector, …what else?

I’m grateful at least we have 2 months every summer where things get changed up.  We get to work normal hours.  (Well, close.  It’s 6:30am till 3:00pm.)  We get to work all together, as a team.  And there’s all sorts of different, exciting things to get done.  Scrubbing desks and chairs, getting the old wax up off floors and re-waxing, shampooing carpeting, lifting heavy things, moving and organizing stuff.  At least it’s something different every day.  And sometimes there are donuts!

During the school year though, we’re all on our own.  I tend to be kind of rigid naturally, so I go through my work exactly the same way every day.  I really think I need to challenge myself on this before it feels too mentally heavy.  Things can get really heavy…  Bleak, repetitive, draining, scary, lonely…  Usually I listen to my iPod, and I read during break time, try to keep my mind active.  I talk to my co-worker a little bit, but basically, I am alone.  I’m kind of used to it by now, but also I want to preemptively plan ahead before things get really bad, in my head.

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