Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Zen and the art of a simple life

I was real pissed off today. I phoned a customer to tell him his part had arrived.
"Hello Mr Burton."
"No!"
"Oh Mrs Burton then can I speak to a Mrs Burton."
"No. No one of that name here."
"Right have I got the right number 238732."
"That's right."
"And there isn't anyone by the name of Burton there? I'm not even close?"
"No."
"Well I must have been given the wrong number. I'm sorry to have troubled you. Goodbye."
"Not unless you want Burton-Shaw."
"Burton-Shaw? Your name is Burton-Shaw?"
"That's right."
You fucking prick! I didn't say that because I'm a professional you understand. However when his wife came to the shop to pick up the spare part for their washing machine. I mentioned the incident.
"oh he's a twat! he's always doing that it's his sick sense of humour."
"And you married him?" Ok that wasn't the sort of professional comment you'd expect from someone as professional as me. But I was really pissed off with him.
"Yes for my sins. I sometimes wonder myself." Such candour. "I'll mention your displeasure to him, I keep telling him that it's not big and it's not clever. But you know he's just a twat!"
I thought of Zoe. But I'm sure Quarsan isn't such a twatty twat as that. This guy takes the biscuit.

To cheer me up this woman came in and brought her son.
"My boy is learning guitar." she told me. She knows I play a little guitar.
"Do you want to have a go on my guitar? This is the one I use mostly." I hand him my guitar and he holds it like it's a cricket bat. He's scared to death of it.
"He's only just started learning." explains his mum. I relieve him of the guitar and he relaxes noticably.
"OK. Shall I play something?" So I'm standing in my shop with guitar and I launch into something.
The boys jaw drops "Wow!"
Mum says "You should be on stage."
"I am."
Another customer walks in while I'm mid song. U2's "with or without you". Then another customer and we're really rocking. I finish the song.........
"So you want bags for what vacuum cleaner?"
I couldn't do that if I worked for John Lewis. I am not your normal shop keeper. This is a means to an end. This pays the bills nothing more.

When I was with Helene, I was going to give it all up to live in France. I was going to walk away from my own business, just to be with the girl I loved. I even got a job as a manager of an Art Gallery in South Brittany. But it wasn't to be. There's nothing like downsizing. Money is overrated. I have so many friends who are after that extra bonus in their pay packet. What are they going to do with it? Buy something? Have a better car? A better house? A new DVD player? A state of the art sound system? Does that make your life better?
You know the best times of my life have been the most simple. Sitting around a dinner table with my best friends. Walking with Helene in the country side. Just sitting and talking and being with someone you love more than anything. Get that on a credit card! I don't suppose I'll ever be rich, I'm not that sort of guy. But I have wealth beyond imagination in my friends and my loved ones. That's what matters. I can't relate to those who chase the extra pound. Who are envious of the next door neighbour. I don't need the trappings of wealth. I just want good people around me and my guitar. One day I'll tell you about how good the simple life can be.............but now I must sleep.
Thank you to every one who have commented on this site. And also to those who haven't but have taken the time to read. I know you're out there.
Rock on. And. Keep the faith.

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