Everyday just after 7 a.m. the janitor enters the room full of cubicles where I work and he vacuums the nearly spotless floor. A few hours later he and, I assume, his wife dust the top of the file cabinets and even the top of the cubicle walls--that two inch gap of plastic that tops the mid-high walls that separate the workers and mark the hallowed territory we claim for ourselves 40 hours every week.
They are there everyday and they work harder than most state employees around whom they labor. I sit patiently as the janitor vacuums literally under my feet. Sometimes I pretend I need to "get something" at the other end of the room and I time it so he and I are not in the same space at the same time.
I always say hello. He and his wife/co-worker are the nicest people. Around 1 p.m. the janitor comes around and empties the small garbage can just inside my cubicle space. I always thank him and he responds with a "you're welcome, my friend." And as he carts the large garbage can down the isle I wonder exactly how I should feel as we assume our roles and play our parts every day at work.