As hotel rooms go, this one ain’t too bad.
But really, after all these years, one room looks much like another.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, just trying to get you to understand.
I like my job.
I like selling things, and I’m good at it, it’s just that tonight I’m so damn lonely.
Most of the time I like my own company, especially after a full day of glad-handing small town big shots.
I talk to them all day.
I make them feel special.
I make them feel like they are my all time best and favourite customer.
It’s not as insincere as it sounds. I simply give them something they want; I make them feel good about themselves and I give them respect, and in return they give me orders. Orders that fill up my book and bring me commissions.
The commissions sit in my bank account and expand my wealth, mostly because I don’t have time to spend it, and even if I did, I don’t have anyone to spend it on.
In my younger days there were girls all across the country.
It’s not just sailors who have a girl in every port. Traveling salesmen do too, only ours are in every small and large town from here to next week.
These days there are only a few.
The ones I have known for a long time.
The ones who want to spend time with me and not just because of my expense account.
One thing my dad taught me was to know when things were changing.
My life expectancy in this business is limited.
I’ve been doing this since I got out of the air force at the end of the war. My boss loves me, and why wouldn’t he? I’ve been his top salesman for as long as anyone can remember.
Trouble is, these little towns are dying, and it’s happening so slowly that no one is noticing.
Funny thing is, none of that worries me. Nothing stays the same forever and I’ve had a pretty good run.
Tonight, I’m feeling my age. It occurs to me that there is more life behind me than there is ahead. I never used to think about this stuff, I was too busy working, too busy getting ahead, but tonight I’m tired and it occurs to me that I don’t have anyone to tell these things to.
There’s just me and this hotel room and for the first time in my life, that’s not enough.
I could sleep, but it’ll be light soon and the train leaves at 6 o’clock, so I might as well just sit here till then.
Everything looks better in the daylight, even hotel rooms.
Photo from a painting by Jack Vettriano.