I am feeling slightly blog-o-riffic in my favourite wireless coffee shop, lap top situated perfectly and a fine aromatic dark roast in tow. I am observing and listening to the abundance of human activity around me. The constant conversational din in the background is inspiring and makes my little musings that I write here feel less solitary and more connected to the world around me.
One table over, two women in their late 30's appear to be having a fairly intimate and lively chat about motherhood, how it has transformed their bodies, their lives and the very essence of who they are. It is very compelling.
The conversation changes suddenly though as one woman pulls out a portfolio and a number of glossy pamphlets and charts suddenly appear on the table between the two of them. The tone suddenly becomes more formalized and takes on the "talking at you" rhythm familiar to anyone who has endured a telemarketing call.
From what I can gleam it sounds like a sales pitch for your classic pyramid scheme, or "multi-level marketing" endeavour for some magical skin cream product. Old high school chum suddenly transforms into "sales lady" and various predictable utterances are made;
"It's very flexible, you can work part-time if that's what is best for you. It all depends on how motivated you are"
"Once you have 5 associates working for you your monthly income will increase dramatically. The secret is to keep them motivated and excited about the product"
"I think we should book a conference call with Gary over at Corporate. He has done a lot of market research and can tell you about the great growth potential for this product. His vision for this company is really infectious."
"The initiation fee is only $50, which is standard of course. We do this just to make sure that we don't commit our resources towards a person who might not follow through"
I suddenly feel heart sick, disoriented, sort of like Neo after he chose to take the red pill in the Matrix. I feel sorry for the other woman, perhaps she knew this was coming, though it all feels so false and rehearsed. It makes their previous conversation suddenly seem completely contrived and more along the lines of calculated rapport building, a means to an end.
After the pitch is done Woman #1 whispers to Sales Lady "well you know, I live from pay cheque to pay cheque" and Sales Lady replies "yes, of course I understand". An awkward silence ensues, and the conversation becomes markedly more formalized from this point onwards.
I try my best not to judge others, though admittedly I found the whole interaction to be a little depressing and I had to work hard at suppressing my gag reflex. For a few minutes I feel like Holden Caulfield, aghast at the vanity and phoniness of it all. I quickly get over it, realizing that people do what they need to sometimes in order to get by in life.
I do have to say though, let's please keep the glossy papers and sales pitch out of the equation if we decide to catch up over coffee on day!
(Blogging the Bean - soaking in the ambiance at my favourite wireless coffee shop in North Vancouver - Beans on Lonsdale)