The man who was training me, Lukas, was wearing acid wash jeans and studied literature. He was well traveled.
“This is your job–look it over and let me know if you think its done.”
I looked at the minivan intently.
He wasn’t going to reassure me that the car was suitably clean. He wanted me to, in a way, expose my terms of fulfillment.
The dilemna here was that a five out of five rating by the customer got me a ten dollar bonus, making a 15 dollar an hour job washing cars into a 25 hour job washing cars.
It was a bizarre job that was going to initiate me in the Real World. My thinking was if I did this shitty job that was awful, maybe I’d understand how to be ok about the mythic implications of the Tower of Babel and temper my cafe-window shopping and learn to be joyous in the impedance of getting what I want.
But that all was less imediate than the decidedly cleaner car in the quiet San Franciscan neighborhood. The car looked clean enough to me but I had no idea how the customer who was always right defined cleanliness.
I did not know how to communicate such details.
I set my dirty rag on my water sprayer and told him that I thought I was done.
He circled the same minivan a couple times and called me over to the passenger side window.
“Look here–you see anything wrong here?” He pointed in the vicinity of the window. I did not know if he was pointing through the window or at the window. I looked. I did not.
“Streaky windows are the number one thing customers complain about.”
I honestly saw no streak and told him as much in my nervous unspoken contention.
“Look at it from over here.”
I took on his vantage.
But he took a rag and wiped the window and immediately asked me if I saw the difference. I didn’t, said I did, and later received an email that my window cleaning was in the lowest bracket of employees. Couple months later I would receive an email about the company was ‘pursuing other exciting opportunities’ that involved letting all their employees go.
Who knows, maybe they kept the best window cleaners to clean really important windows, like the ones on top secret military aircraft or NASA or something. I hope so.
To be fair, I eventually would get a couple of five star ratings. Mostly because I brought a friend along to wash cars with me and maybe the customer saw their car in an ideal lighting where they couldn’t see smudges on their windows.
The last couple of days I have been asking my friends if they thought there was an irreducible interiority to the human experience. I was dreading sitting down and trying to explain what the hell I meant by interiority, because, well, interiorities are where explanations come from.
Or where implicits reside. Or where the implicit is made explicit. Or where the degree of detail necessary to communicate functionally is decided. Or where meaning is dilemma’ed.
And although it is much easier to explain the human meaning dilemma as the hallucination of mindless collisions of dust–this explanation simply does not satisfy the human appetite for good stories, end of story.
Good stories get us into a lot of fucking trouble, mostly when we don’t know how to explain or don’t want to bother explaining why we like them. And we would rather end discussions by any means necessary.
Looking back, I wonder what would have happened if I had been completely honest about not seeing the smudge on the window. How many confused grunts I could have gave until he told me a ‘I do not know what to tell you?’ Is that a good story?
Or maybe he could have initiated me into the subtle perceptions of smudges by having me wash windows blindfolded until I could ‘feel’ the smudge. Slightly better story.
Interiorities are that recursive part of your nervous system–the part of you that is empty when you have ‘no idea’ about how to account for whats in front of you except for pointing at whats in front of you. Interiorities are where metaphors and models and curiosities and appetites come from. And they are also self-referential. And hope they are self-evident, I think.