The Thoughts of a Freedom Tower Window Washer Who Keeps Getting Notifications From a Group Thread

  1. Windy today.
  2. The scaffolding is a'rocking.
  3. Let's get this over with.
  4. My phone is buzzing.
  5. I totally forgot to take my phone out of my pocket before I got out on this scaffold.
  6. Ignore it.
  7. Another buzz.
  8. Ralph felt it too.
  9. It was probably just the second buzz from the first text, not a completely new text.
  10. I need to turn that off.
  11. What if Maria is in labor?
  12. I think I have to check it.
  13. Daryl, you are on the 88th floor. Do not check that phone.
  14. Another buzz.
  15. Just keep washing. Only six more floors left. Focus up.
  16. Four quick bursts of buzzing.
  17. Maria is probably in labor. I'm checking.
  18. Ok, do this carefully, but also somehow never look down.
  19. "Yes, Ralph, I know that if I drop my phone, it will kill someone."
  20. It's a group thread between all my friends from high school.
  21. Turns out a pretty girl in our class ended up getting married to a nerdy kid from our class.
  22. Joe broke the news and Jose and Ken said "no way" and "I knew I had a shot," respectively.
  23. That was not worth checking my phone.
  24. Ok, put it away.
  25. Now focus on that spot slightly out of your reach. Be very careful.
  26. I don't trust this tether.
  27. Another buzz.
  28. It's the group thread, Daryl. Keep washing.
  29. Be mindful of your footing.
  30. Another buzz.
  31. I have to check. Maria is due any day now.
  32. "Ralph, checking my phone does not make me a millennial. I'm 31."
  33. "Yeah, yeah, Ralph read another article in TIME about us young people and tell me how we are."
  34. Ralph is so cranky today.
  35. Ok, carefully put down the brush. Now, slowly take the phone out, and...
  36. It's Luis on the group thread asking if Kelly Guergalini was the same girl who was caught making out with Paul Shnizer at the Holocaust Museum field trip.
  37. Then Joe said yes, same girl, and that he actually ran into Paul last week at the hardware store.
  38. Turns out Paul is now in printer sales, of all things.
  39. Ok, that thread should be over now. No reason for anyone to say anything. Putting the phone away.
  40. "Ok, Ralph, let's go up to 89."
  41. I will never get used to the way this scaffolding shakes when it goes up and down.
  42. Was that a buzz or the scaffolding?
  43. Ok, now wipe. Slowly and with purpose.
  44. Don't get comfortable. The second you are comfortable you are dead.
  45. Ten buzzes all in a row.
  46. My phone is freaking out.
  47. It's definitely Maria. We are going to have our boy.
  48. I'm going to check.
  49. "FOR GOD'S SAKES, RALPH. STOP MAKING FUN OF ME FOR CHECKING MY PHONE. IT'S A WAY FOR PEOPLE OF MY GENERATION AND YOUNGER TO COMMUNICATE."
  50. Don't yell, Daryl. It shakes the scaffold.
  51. I'm going to be a father.
  52. Text from Ken: "hey have any of you watched Narcos?"
  53. Text from Jose: "no is it any good?"
  54. Text from Ken: "haven't watched was hoping you guys had."
  55. Text from Luis: "it takes awhile to get going but it gets pretty good."
  56. Text from Ken: "you seen it?"
  57. Text from Luis: "all but the last one, yeah"
  58. Text from Ken: "I'm deciding between that and Making a Murderer."
  59. Text from Joe: "Dude do Making a Murderer so we can chat!"
  60. This should not be on a group thread. This is not group thread worthy. This is not major news, planning a dinner, or us being separated at a concert.
  61. Turn off notifications for this group. I forgot you could do that.
  62. Slowly holster your phone.
  63. Ok, now wash.
  64. People ask, and I lie. This really is always as scary as the first time.
  65. Ralph makes fun of me for still shuffling my feet. He'd do a handstand on the scaffold if he wasn't 60.
  66. Buzz.
  67. But a bunch of buzzes.
  68. The buzzes of a ring.
  69. I'm getting a phone call.
  70. "Ralph, I'm checking my phone again."
  71. "Oh, don't call it MyFace. You know what it's called. You just want to seem purposefully out of touch."
  72. Ok, so, so slowly.
  73. It's Joe. Why is Joe calling me? Is he with Maria?
  74. "Hey Joe, are you with my wife? No? What's that? Yeah it is crazy that Kelly Guergalini ended up with little Benny Watson."
  75. "You're calling because the boys were wondering what my HBOgo password is?"
  76. "Joe, I'm washing windows outside the 89th floor of the Freedom Tower. I'll call you later."
  77. Ok, slowly put phone in pocket.
  78. Careful, careful.
  79. Buzz. It says Maria is calling.
  80. Grab it.
  81. I fumbled it. It fell to the floor. It's about to slide off.
  82. Jump.
  83. Oh god, oh god, oh god. I'm hanging from the tether off the scaffold. Oh god, oh god, oh god.
  84. Answer it.
  85. No, get back up. This tether could give out.
  86. Answer it.
  87. "MARIA?! IS THAT YOU?! YOU'RE ON THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL?! I'LL BE THERE IN HALF AN HOUR. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO ME, TELL MY SON I LOVE HIM."
  88. "NO, THERE IS NO PARTICULAR REASON WHY SOMETHING WOULD HAPPEN TO ME. SEE YOU SOON."
  89. She's going into labor.
  90. OH GOD, OH GOD, OH GOD. I'M HANGING FROM A ROPE 1,500 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND.
  91. A BUSINESSMAN ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS JUST FAINTED.
  92. "RALPH, HELP ME UP. NO, I DIDN'T JUST JUMP OFF A BUILDING TO SAVE MY PRECIOUS IPHONE."
  93. "WHY YES, RALPH. THIS IS MY FIRST FALL."
  94. Ok grab his wrist. You got this. You got this. Pull yourself up, and... you're good.
  95. My heart is beating out of its chest.
  96. I'm going to be a daddy.
  97. Buzz. Buzz.
  98. Text from Joe: "new thread to add Chad. Chad, did you hear Benny Watson married Kelly Guergalini?"
  99. Text from Chad: "Was Benny Watson the kid who threw that alternative prom that no one went to?"