Monday, August 03, 2015
Blue Mondays - Monday
‘You okay?’ Asks a distant voice. I focus back in the mirror and see my wife behind me, looking slightly concerned.
‘I was miles away.’ I tell her, slowly coming back to an early Monday morning, with another sales mountain to climb. She doesn’t want to know where, some things need to be kept private in a marriage if you want to rack up the milestones.
‘Where exactly?’ Says my wife, unhelpfully.
Doing that gazing in to the middle-distance thing, when you don’t like the reflection in the shaving mirror. Wondering, like some gap-toothed pensioner about to be shoehorned into a care home, where the years went? And why I’m still flogging homes for a bean-counter boss I wouldn’t extinguish if I saw him smouldering in a pile of profit and loss accounts.
‘Just thinking.’ I tell her neutrally. I should know better.
That, when I was nineteen and The Clash fought the law and lost rather comprehensively, I imagined I could win. I didn’t know about escalating targets, cost-cutting pedants and a public that will lie to you through their teeth if it achieves their property goals. Naive, on reflection. But then I thought tartan bondage trousers and a clip-on nose safety pin, were relevant. What? There was no way I was going to permanently pierce myself…
‘Just wondering what the week holds in store.’ I eventually fudge.
‘Same old same old, you always say when I ask.’ She replies, with a shrug.
She doesn’t need to know what happens when you deal with property all day long. If I told her about every gut-wrenching setback perpetrated by sloppy solicitors, lazy lenders and destructive surveyors she’s be suicidal after a week. It’s taken me years to get this disillusioned.
Truth is, I was doing that Turn A Different Corner thing. Wondering, after scraping away even more pesky grey bristles, what I might have achieved with a bit more get up and go? I certainly wouldn’t have stayed this long. Stayed with a bunch of Corporate form-fillers. The headhunting offers, from estate agency recruitment firms, dried up about the time my double-breasted three piece suit fell out of fashion and I’m still too timid to start my own estate agency business. I’ve repossessed enough houses where the owners used the family home as collateral for a business loan.
‘Have you got much on?’ She persists, gallantly.
Underneath the vest and boxer shorts I’m more naked than you could ever imagine, I want to say. But unless it’s your last Rolo, sharing isn’t always a good thing.
I open my pocket diary and she laughs at me.
‘You are a stubborn old sod.’
The truth can wound. ‘Why?’ I ask her needlessly.
‘Because you could have all that information on your phone.’
I could, in theory, but I find a phone that is smarter than me as much of a threat as each new agent that has opened up in every town I’ve worked in. And besides, the screen is too small to see without reading glasses. And I’m holding out. Holding out doggedly. No sign of a hero, though.
I’ve been in enough homes, where regrets seep from the walls like a damaged damp-proof course. Homes where memories sit mournfully on mantelpieces in the shape of faded photographs and where yet another wrinkly owner, who doesn’t want to leave, counsels you: “Don’t get old son. it’s no fun.”
But the alternative isn’t too peachy either, Pops.
‘You need to move with technology.’ Says my wife, with the sort of kindly smile you give to the old lady who pushes the empty pram round town, muttering endlessly to the non-existent baby.
I used to be the youngest branch manager in the company, but short of keeping a mystical painting in the attic - and mine is full of old Lego sets and boxed Furbies we just can’t throw away - time will run you down every….well… time.
She’s right about the phone, she usually is, but I’m damned if I’m giving Apple any more of my hard-earned cash.
Analogue man in a digital world - still spitting.
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