Saturday, April 16, 2005

Whistle While You Work

The other day I was out doing laundry - hanging my wash on the little folding clothes hanger and I heard whistling coming from the steps that lead down from our apartment on Via Dell'Aquila. I looked out from between the ivy that is growing on the fence that obscures our yard from these steps and there was the man who was cleaning the steps, whistling while he did his work. He used the Italian word (which escapes me at the moment and which I will look up later!) and when I said I didn't understand, he whistled again and said the word again. I understood and we both agreed that it was a beautiful day and why not be happy doing your work. It was such a sweet moment and it amazed me that this man out cleaning the streets, cleaning up after other people's messes could be happily going about his business and it seemed a much better way of approaching life.

This city amazes me. There are, as I have said, many students here. They hang out in the piazza until late into the night and frankly make quite a mess of it. The night that we went out to find a telephone at 2 in the morning, I was quite shocked to see what a mess they had made, with plastic cups and bottles etc, all over the beautiful steps of the cathedral. But in the very early morning, at dawn really, out comes the cleaning crew for the city, picking up after them and washing and cleaning everything - including what the dogs leave behind - so that in the morning you would not know that any of this had transpired. The city is once again clean and neat and ready for another day. It would seem to me that all of this messing up shouldn't be permitted but perhaps it is a simbiotic relationship in that it provides work for the cleaners who do the picking-up after the messer-uppers. I don't know. I am glad that these workers at least seem happy at what they are doing and that, more importantly, they do such a good job.

Here's to finding joy in everything you do even if it is cleaning up the messes!

Rosemary & Bob

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