Saturday, 3 November 2018

Stench and drugs

I literally stink. Physically. Literally. This is surprising, since I don’t eat a lot of meat and it takes quite a bit for my skin to have any kind of odour, I don’t use any chemical products on it but clean water, but I’ve noticed this a few years back, when I went to the dentist (which I dread), that I came back reeking. Last year, when I had surgery, I had to shower four times before, and still I stank. I had a business meeting today and right now, three hours later, I can smell myself through otherwise fresh clothes.
Business meetings are the one part of my line of work I am least equipped to live through and the least enjoyable part of any work. On the plus side I meet a lot of new people and listen to their stories and visions, which is nice. But on the minus, when clients get it in their head that they would have done things differently and refuse to listen to what I have to say about the product I’ve since completed, in other words when it’s time to part with money, that’s when meetings get … ripe a bit.
The General came to this one with me. This was suggested by a friend, because we correctly estimated more people will sit on the other side of the table and at some point, also assumed correctly, all of them will talk rather loudly at me at the same time. And it’s a heavy dynamic of the opposite team, too – there’s an aggressive, ambitious person, a calm, agreeable, person, a lovely, perky person and someone who really doesn’t want to be there. My job is to defend the creative decisions I’ve made. Which nobody cares about, because usually some famous person is asked to spearhead a project and, coming in last, they have brand new ideas about how something should be done and who’d have done it better. At which point I give up, pull the plug and walk out, unpaid, bridge burning.
That is not to say the General is not superb when it comes to negotiations – that man would turn Middle East Conflict into a Starbuck’s at holiday season if he was given fifteen minutes. I tend to get up and walk out as soon as insults or threats start to come, he simply deescalates the tension, talks down everyone to a calm and civil debate and always finds a middle ground. People want his phone number after we’re done. At that time I’m usually sitting in the car like a small barky pet, migraine pending.

As my famous button addiction goes, I have now channeled it towards a slightly costlier, but far more sensible obsession: Schmincke watercolors. My old set of Winsor&Newton is fairly worn down, I’ve since also added some thicker tempera paints to fill the empty pods, but of course I’ve never met a more quality product than Schmincke and lately, unlike buttons, which are a 2,30.- bucks a pack, I spend twice as much on a single miniscule pod of their pigment. It’s precious to me. When I do something right, I thus earn the right to waste money on something as tiny and wonderful. It makes me feel accomplished. Stupid, I know, but small stuff, you know? Gems. I’ve collected all of my previous travel boxes bits as well and put everything I have in an improvised case, with a little help of two-side tape. As you can see, I still have some room to cram in a few extra pieces. They really are quite beautiful. As addictions go, I should think it’s one of my better ones. I didn’t even know there’s such a thing as Prussian green.