Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Selling T-Shirts on the Beach

I can't believe I am mentioning my former (eons ago) boyfriend J. on this blog, but certain things about our year and a half together are imbedded in my brain. He was a very intelligent college dropout (we had that in common) who thought being self-employed was the best way to succeed in life. Not having learned a lesson from his first failed venture, a franchise operation to patch vinyl car seats (he had been so sure that gem would succeed and many months later, was still grieving about it), he was always on the hunt for new business ideas. He tended to get fixated on things - another trait he and I shared - and at one point he insisted I ask my uncle Harvey if he would like to invest in a new business, managed (surprise!) by J himself. J. was equally insistent that this wouldn't be a favor we were asking, it would be a win-win situation for Harvey, a painless way for him to make money. Since he had by then learned exactly how to wear me down, I finally did, in great embarrassment, ask Harvey if he was interested. No, of course he wasn't, but my delivery of the question didn't help either, a version of how I used to sell Girl Scout cookies, which was fairly successful for a 10 year old but much less so for an entrepreneurial adult. "You wouldn't want to buy any cookies, would you?"

Yikes, can I stop talking about J. now? No, I need to provide more back story... One of his more intriguing business ideas (actually, his only intriguing business idea), not the one he wanted Harvey to partner on, was selling tee shirts at the beach. (This was before my 1991 illness made me more sensitive to heat in general, so it wasn't as completely Sarah-unrealistic as it sounds today.) He explained that since most beach traffic is seasonal, we wouldn't have to work year round - we could make enough money in the tourist months to sit on our butts the rest of the time. Or if we wanted gravy on our potatoes, we could come up with a second business idea for the other 6 months, but we would still have had our time on the beach. It didn't seem relevant that both of us were as pale as Casper, that we both had sensitive skin and that, being very insecure about his appearance (yep, another shared quirk), he was obsessive about keeping his hair helmet intact - I can't imagine how he would have coped with beach breezes. Or maybe that had been factored in and his business concept included a roofed shack - I didn't exactly press him for details, since this was after the beginning of our waning phase and I no longer enjoyed his enthusiastic spins on fantasy topics.

Maybe it's a kind of revenge J. karmically sent my way after our breakup, but whenever I get especially frustrated at work, I can't help thinking, geez, I should just quit this gig...and go sell tee shirts on the beach. There is such a freedom in even thinking of it, sigh...an impossible, unrealistic freedom, but still...such are the fantasies that help us survive in our North American office cubes.

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