Monday, August 15, 2016

Back On The Road Again - Monday

‘You off to the back quack?’ Asks assistant manager T, as I walk towards the office door without a briefcase, or clipboard. I made the mistake of telling him I was trying, one more time, to see if another in a procession of charlatans offering a “free” first consultation, could ease the pain.

I’ve had more pins stuck in me than a self-harming Goth. Seen chiropractors, osteopaths, sports injury therapists and a host of other alternative healers in between. If I have to listen to any more whale music while a vegan with scented lube violates me, I might just completely flip - and I don’t mean roll over while someone approaches me with a hose and stirrup pump. I drew the line at colonic irrigation. I get enough shit in this job as it is.

‘This the jokers offering a visit at no cost?’ Queries fat mortgage man M. See, it’s round the office faster than flu.
‘It is.’ I tell him curtly.
‘You know nothing is free don’t you.’ State M rhetorically.
‘Apart from our no obligation valuations.’ Chips in negotiator S, with a winning smile. I wonder, fleetingly, what she could do with some jasmine-smelling petroleum jelly.

I do know nothing is for free. Everything has a price - even if it’s those bastards in London Road who went with the opposition agent at £50,000 more than I recommended. They shouldn’t start packing any time soon.

‘I know.’ I tell M, looking at the office clock and calculating how long I’ll need to hobble to the Body Treatment shop. I don’t want to sit there too long before my appointment. Once you’ve heard one Minky singing an aquatic lullaby you’ve pretty much heard them all, and the sad selection of tree-hugging magazines in the waiting room are greener than a curly kale smoothie and just as sick-making.

The format doesn’t change, but still they hook in the gullible and desperate - I like to think I’m firmly in the latter category, but who really knows? An initial consultation, that wastes two-thirds of your freebie, listing ailments, aches, pains, medical history, then the inevitable disclaimer that obviates all responsibility should the wheat-free practitioner insert something into a cavity, that won’t come out again.

Then like a high-class prostitute heavy on the tease and light with the hands on, they just get you half-naked and settled, full of expectation against past experience, and it’s time to stop. Needless to say they’ll need you to come again. Next time at full price. And of course it will take several sessions before they can fully ease your pain. Sucker.

‘How long did you last with the last lot?’ Asks M, with a wobbly-chinned chuckle.
‘About three hundred pounds worth.’ I tell him ruefully.
‘Why did you stop?’ Asks S gently.
‘Because he was getting shafted with none of the best bits.’ Speculates T, with a laugh.

T has a point. You seemingly get a vertebrae-clicking law of diminishing returns with alternative back cures. After a while it’s the same plodding procedure with the hands-on healer urging you to relax when your body, forewarned after the first sudden downward pressure, tenses like a virgin on their wedding night. Then it’s all soreness and regrets.

‘It wasn’t only that.’ I tell my audience. ‘They just seem to run out of ideas. A lot of them seem like one trick ponies.’
‘They do animals there too?’ Asks trainee F, wide-eyed and idiotic.
Someone is being taken for a ride.

‘Was that the bloke that kept asking you about the property market?’ Asks T, grinning.
I nod. The last thing you need when down to your boxer shorts and vulnerable, is having to tell some angsty failed veterinary candidate he’ll never be able to afford to buy his own home, as a self-employed muscle manipulator with a massive student loan. Painful.

‘Perhaps it will help this time.’ Suggests S as I check the clock and start to leave.
Almost certainly not. But in life, as in sales, you have to persevere.

I’ll be back for more.


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