I went to launch on Friday. It was the official roof-wetting of a new housing development in the Blue Downs area. My firm was involved in the design and planning work, so my boss decided that someone had to go along and fly the company flag. Guess who drew the short straw? I don’t really believe there’s much to be gained by attending these things, but my opinion doesn’t carry a lot of weight with the Overseer. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had nothing better to do with my time, but these little jaunts out of the office cause a condition known as exacerbated occupational haemorrhoids: Whenever I return to the office, I find the piles of work on my desk have grown bigger.
The setting for the launch was pleasant enough, but the landscaper had just finished laying compost in the show house gardens, so the warm air was a little bit too organic for my liking. As a result of the landscaper’s efforts, Beelzebub and his buddies were there in full force and having a fine old time with the food. The caterers spent the entire time flapping their arms in a furious, but futile attempt to discourage the flies. They looked like they were auditioning for a rap video or doing an advert on the dangers of alcohol abuse.
The majority of people I met seemed to be involved in the property market in some or other way – i.e. estate agents, lawyers, home loan reps and so forth. They were a shallow lot indeed. Each one that I spoke to seemed very friendly and effusive at first, but it soon became obvious that the focus of their interest was rather narrow. Of course, they couldn’t just ask at the outset, “Are you someone important?”, because that would seem crass and self-serving, but that’s essentially what it was all about. I discovered that the moment that I told them who I was, their smile would freeze and they would start looking around for someone else to talk to. I suppose I could have pretended to be an investor and had a bit of fun, but the air was already thick with with the reek of manure without me adding to it.