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WHAT NOW?

| October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

Saleswoman’s Conquest, Hard Won!

By Laura Walcher

Purpose: carry on. Dress well.  Little make-up.  Smile. (Fingers leap to imaginary strands of hair.) Smile; damn it! I’m well-dressed with little make-up.  She’s coiffed, groomed and substantially girdled (right away, she hates me!).  Her expression is like a depressed Father Winter.  Her desk is immaculate; she’s talking on the phone.  One line, two lines waiting. They’re waiting. I’m waiting. Sit. Open sales folder (pry my fingers loose), doodle. Re-read sales material I know by heart.  Stand.  Study paintings:  brr!  Blue-gray abstracts.  Can’t help it, glance at watch.

Bored, infinitesimally patient, sour smile:  “Yes?”  I’m gracious.  A 30-minute wait with a “yes?” on the end?  Never a problem, lady, I’m so cool.  Deep inside, I know you’re really sorry you kept me waiting.  “I’d like to see Mr. Bradley regarding our services.  I’m from so-and-so Company and I think he’ll be inter….”

“Oh, we never use that sort of help here, and Mr. Bradley is terribly busy!”  A Lie.  One, a lie, and two, he’s terribly busy.  That means he’s terribly important and too terribly wonderful to even talk to, and now I’m scared plus mad, but nice, you know, never close a door, because if I ever get the nerve, I’m coming back.

And I do.  Seven, eight repeats.  She never acknowledges that she’s ever seen me before, much less recognizes my current existence.  I no longer believe in Mr. Bradley, who by now is God.  And, I keep my spies active; the place absolutely uses what I’m selling.  Soon, I’m stopping by just to see if my ego will hold up under the strain.

I’m willing to give up any ten loyal customers just to get this one.  I work in the same building; other customers are their neighbors.  If I ever make it past the front-office fence, I’ll use these as leverage.  Finally, into a crowded elevator, I become slightly buoyed by a gregarious man – a jacket-and-tie-less, slight, pale fellow.  We banter in great spirits, and as soon as he exits, I learn from another rider that Joe Nice Guy is also God, and as is usual in God’s radiance, I see the light.

The calloused-keeper of the Gate once goes to the ladies’ room, and I take a practice run past the heavenly door – and finally, her desk stands blissfully alone and empty.  Once inside, I see that the blue-blue-gray abstracts indeed have a little sun in them.  I’m there!! “Hello!  Where is your charming secretary?” (Nice; gotta be nice).  “Oh! You’re the fellow I met on the elevator who..! How are you, anyway??”

Elevator friendships are instant successes.  Warm, formal introduction, business card.  Smile, baby!  Does he know about our servers? No (some surprise!).  The old, “here’s what we offer, etc.” as I’m cozy and cushioned into an overstuffed chair. 

The Russian is back the next time I visit, and sourly asks me if we’ve met before, but it’s too late.  It’s over.  I don’t even pause at her desk, but walk right past  – being awfully sweet, say that she looks lovely today, and that God is expecting me. 

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