Never underestimate the power of a good bottle of whisky, brewed with passion. Jameson. When plans are made involving a bottle of whisky see how it all turns out
This is not a love story. God knows we have had enough of those already. I am sorry to have ruined your love expectations so early but this is a story about cement, socks and of course, whisky.
I had an interview scheduled at 11am on that Tuesday morning. I was the interviewer, so that meant no time to draft fancy and rhetoric answers. I don’t do interviews, but when someone writes you a cheque at the end of January, you do their bidding. You get on with it, and diligently. Normally I don’t do interviews, because they are just boring. Interviews lack adventure. You have to ask the questions you don’t want to ask. I wan’t to ask people what they call their cars, what colour they absolutely hate, where they gave birth, why they got married and all that. But you can’t have this in interviews, can you? You have to be nice like in the emails, smile and give them a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact and they then proceed to giving some award deserving P.R answers. Interviews are just not honest.
It was an interview for the Business Editorial. Even better! Oh, by better I am being sarcastic. I had to write down numbers. Numbers of profit margins, employees, company branches and still more numbers. Now I have no experience with numbers. The key here was to act like I’m a numbers guy. A business writer. You see, interviews are a scam. Our business editorial team had to stop pulling me into their boring numbers. My boss told me to become a full writer you have to write all angles, which made sense but I almost told him that I don’t need numbers.
The interviewee was to be a Mrs. Hannah Balozi, the PR Manager at a cement company. This I must say I found interesting. That a cement company needs PR. That people really pay attention to cement ads, I know I don’t. Cement is just cement. The construction industry is plain and much less interesting than food.
I was to meet Mrs. Balozi at the company’s office in Parklands. Now pardon my arrogance but I didn’t even think that cement companies have off site offices. To me, it was just a straightforward thing; make cement, put it into trucks and make your money. By 10:40 am Betsy (name of my car) was well parked in the parking lot and I was seated in the reception. I hold nothing against receptionists and receptions but…I just don’t like them. Receptions signify waiting, and yours truly doesn’t like waiting. I am impatient and receptions are lobbies for the patient. The silence in receptions is loud. Receptionists on the other hand are dangerous, good receptionists that is. Anyone who can fake a perfect smile all day is dangerous. The receptionist told me to wait as she presumably called Mrs. Balozi. I could see some hint of worry on her face after she hung up and faked a smile to tell me to have a seat. She was such a bad receptionist. Good receptionists give nothing away, she just did. Either I would have to wait longer or simply not wait.
It was 11:05 am when a beautiful lady strutted in. Jess her name was, she and I go way back and I never thought she would end up in the cement business. I smiled and went on to greet her, she was Mrs. Balozi’s assistant. Seeing Jess here was a surprise. Back in the day, Jess was what I call my five minute girl. She called me the five minute dude. We met at some German classes at Goethe Institute and the only time we talked was when I walked her to their waiting car. Their driver used to pick her up after class and it was just a two minute walk to the car, but we always made it five. I remember how she didn’t find flowers to be romantic. They would dry up, wither and eventually die, and that to her meant bad luck for the relationship. She said socks were romantic to her, which was weird but yes, I got her socks, eventually.
Mrs. Balozi was unavailable and Jess would take point. The fact that I knew her made the interview interesting but still, interviews are not honest. Only twenty minutes in and we were done.
“Hey, you still find socks romantic?” I asked her, “Well I won’t get you socks, but how about dinner and some nice Jameson Whisky?”
She wanted to say no (she told me later), but she didn’t. The Jameson did the trick. Look at that, everything does end up being a love story, doesn’t it?