Apart from the dull hiss of pop music oozing through the speakers at work, and the regimental stare from my half-used coffee cup…nothing else is happening. I feel that when you leave something long enough in one place, it begins to stare. It’s almost as if you forgot it was there, and now it’s silence is baring down on your neck. Most people ignore the character that forms around your office implements. Most people ignore most things.
It’s sobering to see how most people amble along without looking carefully at the things they are saying. At the moment I’m a salesman. Plenty of times I see people remarking “I bet they sell like hot cakes.” Now, this is where I stop and pause. Have you ever gone to the bakery and asked for a hot cake? In fact have you met someone who has come out of the bakery raving about there hot cake they just bought. I’ve seen people queue outside a store for the latest Harry Potter book…never for a hot cake. They must be somewhere since everyone is talking about them.
Very rarely do we stop to examine the words we’re using. Why is that? Perhaps it’s exhausting. I suppose the real reason is it will in turn make us start to question who we are. The minute you start to question yourself and your own motives, things become a little scary. Are we a product of what we talk about? Words are vehicles that help us make friends, get through school, get through our first job interview, loose friends, lie to our colleagues and betray others.
I’m a salesman, and talking is part of my day. When someone inquires about a product I naturally question their needs, then once I get a feel for them I continue onto my general sales pitch. I have to be careful, sometimes I’ll side with one product over the other if I feel it’s going to win over the customer. Words are the tool I use to earn money, the more persuasive the more I sell…the more money I make.
Tonight I did feel a sting of regret though I must be honest. Every odd night I see the last minute customer who rush breathless to our doors once we have closed them. There was a middle-aged man who rushed to our doors tonight. He was dressed in a mediocre way. A signal I always look out for which tells me (most of the time) how much money the customer is willing to spend.
He explained to me (through tremendous gulps of air) that he was leaving the country tomorrow morning and desperately needed our one adapter we sold. Like many other people before him I turned him down, explaining that the shopping centre would fine us, if we continued to trade after hours. I saw the pain and desperation in his face, the look like life was about to fade away into a plughole. I felt like a snob. Selfish. I was a young working class kid, who wanted to get home after the long day and didn’t care a thing about him.
That is most likely a better way of looking in on yourself. Like many other uncomfortable feelings, I tucked it under the carpet that stores other dirty memories.