I saw him the other day in that same food court in the same mall. Except the food court wasn’t the same because it was on the second floor that didn’t used to be there, and all the restaurants were different, except Sbarro; I think it was always there. It may be unlawful under penalty of a stiff fine for a mall to open a food court without a Sbarro in it, so it’s still here – pizza pooling up grease and italian meatballs crusted in hours old marinara.
And the mall isn’t exactly the same. It must be at least five times the size it was…23 years ago? Has it been that long? Yes it has – 23 years since I was working my very first real job at the burger place that he used to come to every so often to grab a soda. Yes, I’m pretty sure it was soda he used to buy – think it was Dr. Pepper, but I could be wrong. He loved The Beatles though; I am positive of that much. I never knew what to say to the man when he came in to get his Dr. Pepper, or whatever it was, so I usually would ask if he was still listening to them Beatles. Geez, what an annoying question. As if a Beatles fan would ever not still be listening to the Beatles. I might as well have been asking a Red Sox fan if he kept up on the box scores.
And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
He still has a limp, that outrageous limp. I always wondered where it came from; I guess I should have asked, instead of always talking about The Beatles. Maybe he was in Vietnam and got some shrapnel in the hip or something. All I know is it was painful to watch him walk all those miles on the mall’s tile floors back then, and it’s even worse now because I’m at least 30 years younger than him, and I can barely stand the pain I experience with every single step, so for him it must be agony. How does he keep doing it every day? I bet he’s been doing this for over three decades, limping around, cleaning up after other peoples’ thoughtlessness – their leavings, their pathetic, hopeless attempts to be less alone by stuffing their faces with Sbarro pizza or buying shoes. Man, I get increased acid reflux just thinking about what it must be like to limp in his shoes for a day.
There will be an answer, let it be
You know, though, he doesn’t seem all that sad – not like I’d think he should be, given that the culmination of his life’s work consists of setting the world record for combined cleanings of soda spills, unfortunately placed vomit spewings, poop splattered toilets, greasy fingerprints, food boogers, and chewing gum cemented to the underside of tables and ground into the floor. I suppose he must have stopped counting all that stuff years ago, or he never was counting in the first place. Otherwise, he’d be living on the streets to avoid such a crappy job. Must be The Beatles music. Keeps his mind off work.
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
Is it just me, or is there something admirable about this guy? (Lester is his name – should have mentioned that earlier.) By most standards, he has one of the worst jobs in the world. That job is worse than bad. I mean, a bad job is a sewer line inspector, but at least a sewer inspector has a chance at Mike Rowe putting him on “Dirty Jobs”. Mall janitor is plenty dirty, but it’s not exciting enough for TV, so he just does it and does it, and nobody ever thinks about him. He sees everything – the messes, the fights, the breakups and all the teen drama, missing children, the long lines for the movies that were cool once and now are cheesy, the precious Christmas gifts found and lost, shoplifters, the boy bands that grow up and lose their hair, the angry gang fights, the murder and the shootings. He sees all, but nobody sees him, showing up – doing his job, not complaining, not being sad.
There will be an answer, let it be
Lester, my friend, today I am seeing you. And others are seeing you as well. Given the averages, this post will be seen by roughly a couple hundred people this week. Perhaps 1 of 8 will actually read it, and some will go so far as to throw a “like” your way. I hope you get a bunch of them. I hope every view, every read, and every like is a prayer of blessing in your direction – to you and yours.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be