The Watch Salesman

People like to talk to me. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, sometimes I get ladies and gentleman opening up to me about the most personal things– and I listen. I catch and take in every piece of what they’re telling me because, if I don’t listen, who will?

Take for instance, the watch salesman I was effortlessly chatting with yesterday as I was deciding which watch to get my father for his birthday; leather strap or metallic? Black or brown? Rose face or gray? The options were endless and simple– no bells and whistles added.

“Why do you need all the bells and whistles?” asked the salesman. “I really like this one. What does your dad do? Because if he works hard, the metallic may work better for him.”

I have to say, he knew his watches. As I told him about my father and what he did for a living, I also said, “I know whichever watch I get him, it’ll probably sit there until he has something nice or fancy to go to. This won’t be his every day watch.”

“I know,” said the salesman. “My dad used to drive me crazy with things like that. The man had shirts to last him years, had a lot of clothes, but he always wore the same shirt.”

The salesman, a hearty man, not too tall but very friendly, grew animated as he talked about his dad. “One day, my mom ended up using his old t-shirt to clean, the same shirt he always wore,” he continued. “He walked into the house asking, ‘Where’s my shirt?!’ He ended up looking under the sink where my mom left it after cleaning with it.”

“Did he wear it again?” I asked, completely captivated.

“Oh yeah, he grabbed it and washed it and put it on again,” he said in full seriousness. “And, you know, he thought he knew how to use the washing machine.” He motions adding way too much laundry detergent to the load of laundry– or what I imagined to be only his shirt spinning ’round and ’round.

I laughed. He obviously took after his father– that’s where he got his ability to talk to people and where he got his crazy.

“Who do you take after, your mother or your father?” he asked me.

“I got a good mix of both,” I said. “I got the crazy from my mother, but the also the calm side from my dad.”

“That’s good,” he confirmed as he grabbed the watch I decided on; leather strap, black face with a diamond at the 12 mark.

From the way he talked about his father, I already knew he had passed. He ended up telling me about how he wanted to make his father happy in his last days.

“My father loved to be out in the sun,” he said matter-of-factly. “He had melanoma. The last thing he wanted to eat was a Krispy Kreme doughnut and it had to be hot.” The salesman rolled his eyes.

“You know where that Krispy Kreme used to be on Archer?” he asked me.

“Yup,” I confirmed, “next to the Portillo’s.”

“Yes! That one! You do know what I’m talking about. Well, it was the middle of July and this man wanted a hot doughnut. From picking it up and getting it back to where he was, that thing wasn’t going to stay hot. So I blasted the heat all the way there and drove with the windows down,” he explained as if it were yesterday. “I got it to him, but in the end he couldn’t eat it.”

I didn’t know what to say. Sometimes, I didn’t think it important to say anything. “Sometimes it’s just out of our control,” I told him. “At least you tried.”

As he checked me out, he entertained me as he helped me with the credit card screen. “It’s just a bunch of crap that comes up on here,” he said tapping and double tapping on the screen.

He handed me my receipt and information on the new credit card I opened (he got me!). “Don’t forget to buy something for yourself, now,” he said. “The discount works on makeup, even though I know you don’t wear any.”

Little do you know, I thought to myself.

As I grabbed the bag and thanked him for his help, I couldn’t help but notice a little line he said to me that had a little more emphasis than all the others:

“Remember to come back and visit now.”

And when I hear that, I’m more than compelled to stop by, but I rarely do. I usually just write about it.

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