Thursday, October 20, 2016
Buenos Dias - Thursday
‘Where are you going?’ Asks my wife as I gravitate towards a shopfront across the street.
She knows, without needing to ask. Like a pitiful self-harming junkie, I can’t leave it alone even on holiday.
‘Just going to look in the window.’ I tell her, before glancing the wrong way and nearly stepping in front of a pre-pubescent boy on a Vespa. The dark-eyed lad shouts something incomprehensible, in Spanish - I’m guessing not a compliment - and swerves between two parked cars before disappearing.
Sheepishly, I cross with a bit more care towards the brightly lit window.
‘Really. Another one?’ Asks my wife, beside me now with that look of resigned acceptance I’ve seen before.
‘You’ve looked in enough shoe shops to bore Imelda Marcos.’ I tell her unchivalrously then decide not to mention the umpteen trinket outlets we’ve been in. How many scented candle and naff fridge magnet shops can one city support?
I’m gazing in the window now, scanning the quality of the photos, the prices in Euros and even the pointless Energy Performance ratings that nobody needs when you have temperatures that rarely dip into single figure celsius, and an infinity pool.
‘They are all the same.’ Opines my wife. It’s tempting to draw a comparison to handbag shops and perfumery outlets, but I can’t afford a divorce at my time of life. I’ve seen too many men kiss goodbye to a four bed detached and half their pension, to rock the boat. Middle aged blokes, dyeing their remaining hair, joining Tinder and living in a rented studio flat, isn’t a good look.
‘I don’t know why you do it.’ Continues my wife chidingly. ‘It’s not as if you like other estate agents.’
She has a point. I detest most other practitioners. They are either undercutting me on fee and service, or overvaluing to please gullible owners. It must happen in Palma too, just with better looking players and warmer weather.
‘I’ll be along there.’ Says my wife, pointing to a row of shops with expensive-looking dresses in the windows. Seems like I’ll be paying for my obsession, one way or another.
I turn back to the window and look at the two smart-casually dressed agents, inside. The male is almost prettier than the female. They are both gazing listlessly at massive Apple iMac screens with the sort of resolution that makes you believe you are actually on the terrace, with a glass of sangria in hand.
The woman, or part-time supermodel if the property career doesn’t work out, catches my eye then looks away. She’s made a quick judgment. One I try not to make in my own office, as I’ve sold many homes over the course of my career, to scruffy-looking oiks who haven’t shaved for a couple of days and are dressed like a loser. In this case, she might be right. I’m a time-waster.
‘So what did you learn?’ Asks my wife when I’ve caught up and noticed, with relief, she isn’t carrying any glossily branded bags. We’re looking for somewhere to have a coffee.
‘They’re no different to us.’ I tell her half-heartedly. ‘Just better-looking, with superior lighting conditions for the photos.’
‘Do they have to be qualified to be an estate agent?’ She asks pointedly. She knows how to push my buttons after all these years. I studied after work for a year and sat four three hour papers. Yet nobody has asked about my exams - ever.
‘Well, the rest of the world does, pretty much.’ I tell her curtly. She nods, then points to what looks like a delicatessen ‘Over there might do cappuccino.’
I start to cross and nearly get wiped out by a trio of tourists on those ridiculous Segway machines.
‘You’re out of your element, aren’t you dear.’ States my wife rhetorically, tugging my arm and leading me across the street like an errant schoolboy.
‘I don’t believe it.’ I bellow, as we reach our destination. They sell coffee, and cake. They also have more Apple Mac machines and pretty women. And in the window, property pictures and prices.
‘This is different.’ Announces my wife, gleefully.
It will never catch on.