After working out at the small gym in my office complex, I head into the locker room for a quick shower. Whirling around the corner, I come within millimeters of smacking my face into a giant squeegee. Propped diagonally against the wall, it blocks my path to the shower and looks menacing, steel handle gleaming. Thankful I’m not sporting a squeegee mark on my forehead, and, with my heart now located somewhere in my throat, I shake my head at the most brazen attempt at disfigurement yet. So this is how you want to play? Two can play at this game, my friend.
Some people go bowling or belong to book clubs. I play Hide The Squeegee with the night-time cleaning crew. Call me what you will but I’m telling you, these people aren’t fooling around anymore. Someone higher up has ordered a hit. It’s “Game On.”
I’m not certain when it all started but for as long as I can remember, this giant squeegee has been in my way. Whether leaning against a wall, hanging from the hook I’m about to hang my towel on or last week's surprise guest hiding in the shower, it stalks me like an obsessed Visa card – it’s everywhere that I want to be. Plus, for someone who has trouble navigating stairs when totally sober, a five foot squeegee poses a distinct safety hazard. It’s just a matter of time until I knock into it or trip over it, spilling blood and bits of a slightly demented brain all over the white tile floor, which the cleaning crew would most likely mop up using the aforementioned squeegee. So, to avoid death by squeegee, I do what anyone would do. I move the damn thing. And so it begins, this strange game of Squeegee Chess that’s now an integral part of my daily routine.
Each day I make my move and each night they counter with theirs. It doesn’t take long to enter the realm of “been there, done that”. This has presumably led to the game’s darker, more sadistic tone as of late illustrated by the recent discovery of the giant squeegee leaning precariously against a row of lockers, calling to mind a scene from Final Destination. So why partake in this idiotic game with a cleaning crew who is apparently trying to whack me? It's been going on for so long now it’s a part of my daily routine, that is, at least for as long as I keep surviving these brushes with death and disfigurement. Plus, I’m hoping I’m one of the characters integral to the script who gets to be cast in the next installment.
Giant squeegees aside, there’s a sense of comfort in daily routines. We’re creatures of habit by nature and routines offer us order in a mad world filled with Rick Perry, Ice Loves Coco and people who sign emails with “Cheers.” One group who can certainly relate to the power of routines are train commuters.
For example, veteran train commuter Julie* sits in the second train car in the fourth three-seater on the left hand side, aisle seat. Every Friday, Julie brings two coffees and two little snifters of Godiva liquor for herself and Linda, who sits next to her in the window seat. Tom always sits exactly two rows behind Julie on the opposite site. Frank sits in the second car in the first four seater to the right and he must always face the opposite direction the train is traveling. Frank also plays checkers on his laptop every day against himself or an errant spirit he often channels. Please note, Frank must always win.
From time to time, these rigid routines have been interrupted, shattered or just plain destroyed by commuters who are either new to the train or part of the unOccupy Assigned Seating Movement. Their actions, whether innocent or not, have nonetheless upset the delicate order of the Train Universe and set into motion a series of cataclysmic events that will eventually lead to the destruction of the Earth and all living things except for 1% of the population comprised mostly of night-time cleaning crews.
Which brings us back to the giant squeegee. In a moment of divine inspiration, I turn the squeegee upside down and gingerly prop it on its handle, leaning it against the far wall. Stepping back to survey my work, I’m unable to stifle my laughter at the giant five foot cross in front of me. Tears form in the corner of my eyes as I laugh like a female version of Dr. Evil. I've got a great idea for Squeegee of Death VIII, if my character survives this one.
*Names have been changed to protect the Train Universe