Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Say What?

I realised while reading through some of my posts over the weekend, that I tend to write quite a bit about my clients.
That's probably because they usually present me with the best material to write about, and my day is never short of interesting characters. Ever!

Take today for example.
My client turned out to be a 60-something Englishman.Not an Englishman in the broad sense of the word. He was so English, he offered me a buttered scone and tea when I met him at his offices earlier this morning.
He owns a building in central Jozi and had a corporate tenant who required her offices to be upgraded. My client's offices were on the 14th floor, and his tenant was on the 2nd floor. As we stepped into the elevator heading down toward the tenants floor, we had the following conversation :

Client : So Mel (the tenant) is about 40 years old, but I think she has a mental problem.
Me : Ok. *thinking thats TMI from someone I'd only met 10 minutes go!*
Clent : Not that it will affect your job or anything, but I just thought you should know. Her fathers a doctor. You would think he could sort her out, wouldn't you?
Me : I don't know. I guess so.
Client : I've met him, you know. Quit frankly if he were my Dad, I'd have a mental problem too.
Me : *trying to suppress a laugh* Ok. *thinking of something to say, and choosing to remain silent instead*
Client : Right then, here we are. Now don't say anything about what I just told you, I don't want her thinking I'm rude or impolite, you know.
Me : Yes, of course.
We enter the reception and Mel walks toward us, looking all English-weather-like, rather dull and gloomy.
Mel : Mr Rupert Sir, how are you?
Client : I'm good thanks Mel. This is Fareed, my contractor.
*group handshake*
Client : Yes I was just telling Fareed what wonderful folk you and your Dad are. How is he?
Mel : Yeah he's good. *pulls her face and I almost grabbed her, thinking she was having a stroke*
Client : Shall I leave you two to it? Mel will show you what her requirements are.
Mel & I : Yes, sure.
Client : Fareed, be good to her won't you. She's a special one this.

So there I am with Mel, who seemed perfectly normal to me quite honestly. We spent over an hour together and I kept wondering when the nut in her was going to come out and frighten the be-jesus out of me. By the end of the hour she felt comfortable enough to let her guard down and we spoke a bit about general matters, none related to her office plans.
She asked me how long I had known Mr Rupert and I said we had just met that day. I'd been referred to him by the company who manages his property portfolio, I informed her.

"Yeah, he's rather strange isn't he? I sometimes wonder if he's all there... you know what I mean?"

I think those two are going to get along superbly.