Wishy Washy...

I've been more than a little stressed out lately: I ended up taking off work yesterday to dash home and be with my mother for the day when it was discovered that she wasn't supposed to be alone for 24 hours following a hand surgery she was undergoing. Caesar, our dog, is very sick, and needs an echocardiogram. My insurance company and my therapist parted ways, and now I can't afford to see him anymore. I've been trying to plan a visit for Katherine to come to Chicago at the end of the month, but it's been beset by complications at every turn. My lunch bag got stolen. My CTA Chicago Card account got screwed up somehow, and I've been paying out of pocket to get to work for the past five business days while the computer system sorts everything out. Literally, it's been one thing after another, big and small.

However, one thing that never fails to cheer me up is the silly emails that come from the museum's Director of Properties, Jay (he's in charge of facilities management, more or less). Whereas most of my interoffice email is very efficient and businesslike, Jay's emails are usually long, whimsical affairs that require a couple readings to glean their purpose. Jay used to be a priest, so I think he's diverted the energy he once used to address his congregation into sending feel-good messages to the staff here at the museum.

Back in February, when he was emailing us to notify us about building closures during the blizzard, we were privy to the following thoughts:

We value everyone here and wish everyone to be safe during this storm. It is in times like these that Chicagoans really shine in helping each other. I plan on shoveling some older person’s parking space in front of their home just to stick a lawn chair in it and claim it for him or her. Maybe I’ll grab on to a squad-car’s bumper and do some street-skiing. That’s always fun! I hope to look back at this as a crisis averted and maybe gain a silly story to tell. Be safe and stay warm. Thank you!

Then today, I was greeted by the following email in my inbox, which I think is by far the pièce de résistance of his entire body of work:
Spring is here
Although cold dulls the cheer
But hearts fill with love
To the window washers above.

As they gracefully descend
Upon our windows they attend
So if you see one outside your space
Make sure a smile is upon your face.

By helping our museum take in light
We feel they are part of the good fight
But in all efforts to be safe
By all means do not make them wave!
I might still be on edge, and counting down the days until the weekend so I can bury my head in the sand and sleep for a dozen consecutive hours, but Jay's ridiculous poem brought a much-needed smile to my face. I'm a firm believer that we need to look for joy wherever we can find it and then cling to it, and Jay's silly emails are a bottomless source of joy in an otherwise mundane work day. Thanks Jay!

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