Monday, June 30, 2014
Licensed To Thrill - Sunday
So the holiday that seemed to be forever over the horizon draws to a close and with it comes the inevitable darkening of mood as thoughts turn to work and just how much damage limitation my team have managed, without my increasingly unsteady hand on the tiller.
‘You alright?’ Asks my wife as we meander along a row of sun-drenched shop units. Not really, I want to scream, but I answer in the affirmative. Few people are lucky enough to do a job they love which still remunerates sufficiently to provide the standard of living aspired to. I’ve seen enough impoverished musicians, painters and, yes, writers lose their homes to know following your creative urges can lead to the council house waiting list.
‘Oh don’t do that again.’ Chides my wife, bringing me back to the present. Momentarily I’m befuddled by her admonishment. Earlier by the pool I’d found myself idly rubbing my trunks in a half-baked drowsy stupor. Fortunately I’m not fiddling with myself in full view of the promenading public. Worse in some ways, I’ve stopped in front of another realtor’s window.
‘How many times do you have to check property prices?’ Asks my wife with a distinct chill to match the air conditioned office I’m peering into.
It’s a good question. The paradox is, I’m fascinated by homes and values, even in Euros or Dollars. I still get a frisson of excitement to match the languid enjoyment of lying in the heat and watching the less obese bikini clad ladies round the holiday pool. It’s a thrill I’ve enjoyed since I didn’t need to shave every day - face or ears. And yet I yearn to break free from the damaging obsession. Property is a cruel mistress.
‘See, he looks good in a short-sleeve shirt.’ States my wife, not for the first time. I glance away from a villa with infinity pool and no asking price - if you have to ask you can’t afford it - to see an impossibly handsome man with dark mediterranean looks, emerging from the office, carrying a man bag. The swarthy swine gets away with that effete monstrosity and effortlessly carries off the chino trousers, deck shoes and polo shirt. The expensive looking sun glasses the man dons are definitely not the “ genuine thing mister” Ray Bans the African guy on the beach tried to flog me for 10 Euros, earlier.
‘You have to live south of the Isle of Wight and still be living with your pasta-making mother to get away with short sleeves in my business.’ I tell my wife curtly, as I watch the realtor stroll across the road and blip his keys to reveal the bastard is smoking a top-of-the range Alfa Romeo. It’ll break down and cost you a fortune in garage charges I want to sneer. But he’s gone with a screech of tyres, plus I can only just mange to order a beer in his native language.
‘Nonsense,’ continues my wife. ‘You’d be so much cooler if you just wore a summer shirt when it’s hot.’ Pointless telling her you are never going to look cool with a fading suntan, post holiday stomach bulging over your too-tight waistband, while driving a bog-standard mass-market saloon to a repossession in an ex-local authority tower block.
‘Lot of people reading Kindles and the like.’ Reports my wife as we take the last rays of our two weeks. She’s right. At least two-thirds this year are holding up e-readers, although it’s a fair bet not one of them has downloaded any of my output. Writing anonymously seemed a good idea, but in terms of marketing yourself it’s akin to not putting a photograph of the house you’re selling, in the office window.
‘I wish we’d met you before the last night.’ Chortles the woman sitting at our table as the sun sets. I’ve been avoiding this couple for thirteen days but relented, having drunk too much. I’ve fed her and her fat husband a few anecdotes for amusement and to see if I’ve still got it. Inevitably, she asks what I do? I give her my default evasive answer.
‘Why, are you a secret agent then?’ She responds jovially.
Something like that.