The Janitor

I was working in an office building a couple of years ago. It was a regular building, with all the facilities you might expect an office building to have: a coffee machine, always ready to serve the next cup of coffee; a Xerox machine ready with A4 sheets; a clean refrigerator where you can store you lunch for later; and a group of janitors who made sure all these things you can’t do without just be there when you need them. So, every day I arrived to my office, and every now and then, when I saw one of the janitor I said ‘Good morning’, and sometimes I even waited for a second to hear their reply.

One of the janitors always had a frozen expression. He did his work just like the others did, but he always seemed to stare at some invisible point somewhere along his path. I can’t say he looked sad, although he clearly didn’t look happy. It was as if he was wandering the corridors physically, but wasn’t really there.

One day I arrived to work early. I was walking from the bus station when I saw the janitor walking in the street. He was quite far away and on the other sidewalk. At first he looked like he always did, walking with the same frozen expression. But then he must have seen someone he knew, because suddenly he completely transformed, as if he snapped out of daydreaming. He smiled and made a funny gesture – something like the Isaac Washington‘s move, toward his friend.

It was an amazing transformation, and for me a truly unexpected one. This person was completely different outside the context of his work at the office. He was alive. He was real. And it all happened in three seconds – three seconds I could have easily missed.

I soon realized, it wasn’t him who transformed. It was me who just happened to see another side of him – something which was probably there all the time, but was very difficult to notice in the regular context. I felt so lucky I happened to see this casual event that day. It changed not only the way I saw this person, but it also changed my mind.


Rediscovering the world starts with looking around you with open eyes and intent. It starts with clearing your head and experiencing the world like a child does. It may starts with looking at simple objects differently, finding new meanings in them. But that’s only the first step. Eventually, you will see everything differently. You will feel more connected to everything around you. You will rediscover places, people, and maybe, just maybe, even yourself.

seempli you soon,

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