Meditation on the Permanence of Glass

Sal Jackson

A bird hit the window. It wanted to fly right in. Your initial anger was at the bird, then the window, then the window cleaner for doing such an immaculate job; there was no way the bird could have seen it. The window cleaner must have felt a sense of pride in a job so well done, but did he feel a dull dread, knowing this crystal-clear glass would increase the chances of little birdies snapping their necks in mid-flight? The old window cleaner may have been aware of this danger and might have done a lousy job on purpose so birds like this one, it might be a sparrow, would notice the glass in time. If this were true, the old window cleaner, while performing his lousy work, would have had the same sense of pride as the new window cleaner.

This new window cleaner’s work is impeccable, but was your complaint to the window-cleaning company worth it? What was such a bother about a couple of streaks on the window? Why is a sense of pride in one’s work important? Why was the window closed in the first place? A bit of fresh air would rid the apartment of its staleness, and a sparrow swooping around the room while you skipped amongst the furniture, trying to shoo it back outside, would have really got the blood pumping. But now you’re rooting through the closet for a shoebox, the only dignified place for a small dead bird.

Sal Jackson is a writer who is currently living in Vancouver.