Rejuvenated

Writing Challenge: Aug 17, 2017

Prompt: Write about how you feel after taking a shower.

I work in the glamorous world of professional cleaning. In other words, I am a custodian. My boss takes offense to the word “janitor”, believing that it has a negative connotation, but no matter what we’re called we scrub toilets and vacuum floors for a living. It’s not a hard job. I work on a university campus and each building has a team of 4-10 custodians. In our uniforms we are the invisible, largely unappreciated caretakers. While the work isn’t mentally demanding, for a full-time custodian it can be physically draining. We work an 8-hour shift hauling, bending, lifting, scrubbing, and just generally moving. By the end of the night (we start at 4:30 pm and leave at 1:15 am) we are hot, sweaty, and tired. Most of us immediately take a shower when we finally make it home. If the aching muscles and sweaty skin wasn’t enough- there’s the endless amounts of dust that makes it way into your clothes and on your arms, never to leave, like a custodian’s glitter-bomb and the array of chemicals always seem to somehow coat your hands through the gloves and the back-splash spray that seems to settle in your hair. We are all half-dead and sub-human by the end of the night. Our late-night showers are our baptism back into life and humanity. Sore muscles un-clench under the water. Salty sweat and dust are washed down the drain. Soft soap removes the trace chemicals with a more wholesome scent. Grumpy exhausted is replaced with relaxed sleepiness, just in time for a well-earned rest. Nothing turns a dirty, invisible, cleaning servant back into a clean, viable person better than a shower.

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