I must have a face of a Pastor, or the voice of a Priest in a confessional booth.
What is it about guys that they suddenly have this burning desire to confess and expose their skeletons (thankfully not in a kinky way!) to each other when you least expect it? Worse still, it's usually the guy's you've just met and of course, by default, hardly know well enough to share a bottle of coke with, let alone deep dark secrets best left in deep dark closets.
Here's what happened.
I'm on my way to a clients place, having just picked up a painter i'd contracted to assist my team on site.
Not 10 minutes into the 30 minute drive, he starts thanking me profusely for giving him a job, and bemoaning the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, locally and internationaly!
Good Lord! He's a darn painter for crying out loud! Not that they're any less human, but they sure as shit arent Finance Ministers or Treasury Secretaries!
I swear it was like sitting next to Trevor Manuel (Minister of Finance, for those even thinking of asking "Who?" ).
So there I am, sitting next to the contractors Finance Minister, who oddly, smells like a mixture of turpentine and lamb chops. Or maybe it was baked beans? I couldnt really be sure. The smell of turpentine threw my sense of smell off. The fact that he was wearing a Hawaii-styled shirt 2 sizes too big was'nt helping. In retrospect, he looked like a mix between Trevor Manuel and Robert Mugabe, with the odd smell as a bonus.
Anyways, im digressing.
So he's done telling me about the state of the economy and how it affects the price of eggs, and suddenly takes a verbal sharp left and goes into a confessional rhetoric.
At first I just nod politely, not wanting to seem rude. Which im not. Usually.
At one point I caught myself wondering how strong these seatbelts really are, and would he really fly through the windscreen like they do in the movies if I hit the stationary bus in front of me.
It's only when his story started taking on an X-Files theme that I started really listening.
It's not every day that a guy tells you he cant recall his first marriage simply because he was so high on drugs during the ceremony, when the Priest asked "Do you take this woman blah blah...", his response was "Ja ok. I really need to pee now."
Im not making any of this up, just in case you're wondering.
Besides, when a story is this far-fetched, even my vivid imagination has difficulty grasping it's fictional value!
Between staring at him in disbelief and swerving to avoid oncoming cars , I asked him when he changed his life around; turned over a new leaf; gave his past a fresh coat of paint.
He said it was some time after his second marriage.
Apparenty the second didnt start much better than the first.
He was scheduled to tie the knot on a Sunday afternoon.
The Saturday night before, his crew decided to take him out on his last night as a bachelor, and unfortunately the festivities proceeded until just about an hour before he was due to wed.
Talk about a boys night out going into extra-time!
Turns out he was so drunk when he walked toward the aisle toward his beautiful beaming bride, they had to bring a chair and have him sit down for the proceedings.
If his answer to "Do you have the ring?" was "Oh F%*K! i knew I forgot something!" , im not even going to relay what his response was to "Do you take this woman...blah blah.."
The point of his entire confessional was simply to tell me how much he had changed, and how grateful he was for second chances.
I honestly didnt have a response.
I really didnt.
What could I possibly say that would sound even remotely reassuring to him?
So I said the first thing that came to mind.
"Is that baked beans I smell?"