I live up high. 37th floor, to be exact, in a building that goes up to 46. Unlike living in Manhattan, where my “view” from the 15th floor was straight into the windows of the building across the way, we don’t have high-rise neighbors, so we’ve got vistas, baby, in two directions: south and west. Makes for spectacular sunset viewing and for looking dreamily out over the Gulf wondering why, exactly, I’m not in a sailboat heading for the blue horizon.

Here’s the downside:

No, the downside is not that I don’t know how to focus my camera. The downside is the grime on the windows, a film of dirt, salt, and sand, that creates a kind of en croute wrapping for all the glassy towers in town.

Here’s the cure (a job I would never, ever want):

Floor by floor, window by window, these two guys make their way around the building. It’s dangerous (last year they got stuck for several hours about 36 stories up) and sort of Sisyphus-ian: as soon as they finish with one side of the building, the other side is already dirty again.

And here is the result:

Can you tell which side of the window has been washed and which has not?

I know, I know, dirty windows in my high-rise apartment can be classified as “first world problems.”  My dirty windows, though, raise a few questions: who ensures the safety of the thousands of workers in this country–those who work building all these silly skyscrapers and those who do all the other dirty jobs? (There are a few answers to this worker-safety question and none of them, unfortunately, is very reassuring).  Why keep building glass-wrapped towers if the very point of all that glass–big fancy views over the water–gets ruined pretty much immediately?

And now that my windows are clean, who is making me a drink so that I can watch the sunset in un-grimy glory?