the very important bucket

there is an orange mop bucket on the roof of the building that my window looks out on.

it’s one of those building maintenance type mop buckets.

the kind that is heavy and on wheels and has a clamp mechanism for squishing the water out of the mop.

a mop that would be white bundles of heavy string in coils and a long wooden handle, taller than most people. or taller than me anyways

but this bucket doesn’t have the mop. 

it’s just a bucket.

my apartment has one large window. 

It’s a small apartment, but the window is huge

my view is mainly of the roof of the commercial building across from mine.

because my apartment is on the third floor, I have an unobstructed view.

I often wonder why the basket is there.

it’s been there since the day that I moved in, almost a year ago. 

it has sat there, alone and forgotten (maybe?) for all these months.

for a while it was covered in snow, then it was overflowing with water when it rained for days on end.

that bothered me, that it was overflowing. 

buckets like that shouldn’t be overflowing, they’re made to hold water, but just a safe amount for itself, not too much like it was asked to in those rainy times. 

it sat there and baked for hours in the sun. no cover for it during the scorching summer months as it sat on the black top roof. 

still forgotten.

i wonder sometimes if the person who took it up there one day ever wonders where it is.

does he try to figure out where the bucket went and why it isn’t down in the building where it should be, for him to use.

or did he take it up there one day and then got fired or quit, and so he’s the only one who even knows where it is, or maybe even that there is an unaccounted-for bucket.

i think about the person behind the bucket almost as much as i think about the bucket.

why do I imagine it’s a him, and not a her, i wonder to myself.

is it because the society that i grew up in formed my thoughts to imagine commercial cleaners as men, and not women. 

and i wonder why it is that the stereotype is that.

when we assign the role of cleaning and washing and mopping to women in general,

then i remember why.

because cleaning a commercial building is important work.

it’s an important space, where important minds work, and important decisions are made.

so that’s why it’s a man that cleans it, and not a woman.

of course, i say to myself.

a woman cleans, yes. but a woman doesn’t clean the big important spaces.

that must be for a man.

not a man of the same stature as the other men who make the important decisions in the important building though.

a man who is lower, unseen, but still a man.

so, he’s important enough to clean the important space. because he’s a man.

women clean buildings, yes

but they tend to clean the ones that are more like a home.

chamber maids we used to call them when i was growing up.

hotel cleaner.

those rooms that we stayed in when we were away from home.

a mini home space.

so, women can clean those spaces.

it’s their spaces to clean, where they fit into the shape of importance that our society has given them to fill.

the name itself, chambermaid, denoted that it was women’s work. maid. female.

they had rolling carts too, but not the big buckets like the orange one on the roof.

those are heavy, important buckets. buckets that a man would use.

but my bucket on the roof that I welcome my day with every morning when I look out,

that bucket doesn’t feel important anymore.

it’s just alone and forgotten.

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