Thursday, October 21, 2004

Driving down the road

I was talking to this sales rep one night in the pub. He was miles from home, pissed off and drunk. He was fed up with his job driving thousands of miles every week visiting people who didn't want, or weren't interested enough, to speak to him. He felt he was living in his company car, he hadn't seen his wife and kids for three days. He smelt of sweat and strong deodorant. He was close to the edge. No sales, no where near hitting his target which seemed to go up every month. He was demoralised, everytime he got close to hitting his target they raised it. At times as we talked, he seemed close to tears. I don't think I've seen anyone so broken in a long time. A few beers later he started telling me about his new game.
He'd be driving down a yet another dual carriageway from one pointless meeting to the next, and he'd shut his eyes. At first he did it because he was tired and just shut them for a second, and the car kept going in a straight line. He opened his eyes nothing had changed. he was just a hundred yards further down the road. So he did it again. This time deliberately. He felt the speed, the excitement, the terror. He felt alive. ON and on he went down the dual carriage ways each time he'd dare himself to shut his eyes for one more second. Building it up to five seconds with his eyes tightly shut. Then he took his hands off the stearing wheel.
"Christ! Are you mad?" I said eventually.
"Maybe." he said.
"You'll kill yourself."
"And would that be a bad thing? What have I got now?"
"But what if you take someone with you?"
"That would not be good." he stared at his pint, head down, swirling the beer slowly in the glass between his hands. "That wouldn't be good at all." he repeated. He looked at his watch. "I've just got time to get to my hotel before they close the bar...... where's my keys?" he fumbles in his jacket pocket, pulls out a fob of keys and slings the jacket on. "......anyway thanks for the chat. I'll be off now." he finishes his pint in one pull "...Don't suppose we'll meet again, but thanks. It's always lonely on the road." He shook my hand and walked out the door.

iPod now playing - Let me roll it by Paul McCartney and Wings


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