The Businessman

The Businessman sat at the same restaurant every day during his lunch break. Every day was the same for The Businessman, and one of his few joys was ordering a different thing for lunch every day. He would take the specials each day, and if the specials contained something he absolutely hated or was allergic to, he would take one his favorite regular dishes. In this way, he managed to keep the favorites special, and he never got sick of them.

The Businessman had the same routine at the restaurant every day. First, he would find a table outside. Rain or shine, he had to sit outside. If there were no tables available, which happened sometimes during tourist season, he would wait. The waiters, the servers, even the manager knew him, and they always managed to find him a seat quickly. Once he found a suitable table, he would sit down and reach into his bag. He had a worn black leather briefcase, one that looked dignified but not stuffy and too new. He would take three things out of his bag at first.

The first was a bag of tobacco. The second was a box of rolling papers. The third was a lighter. Until the waiters came over – and indeed, the waiters knew not to come over until this ritual was over or they would need to deal with a very flustered man – he would meticulously roll himself three cigarettes. He would smoke one before the meal, the second after the meal, and the third after his post-meal coffee. He felt that rolling his own cigarettes was the one roguish behavior that he’d kept from his college days when he’d been wild and carefree.

The Businessman considered himself to be rather homely. He didn’t think he had particularly interesting features, and he knew that he blended in with the endless flow of suited men in their late forties. He didn’t realize that his eyes were a beautiful and rare light blue. He didn’t seem to notice the fact that he cut a fine figure. He wasn’t entirely aware of the fact that his face, lined as it was, was full of character and intelligence. He only saw himself as The Businessman, a man who knew and understood his trade but couldn’t explain what he did to others very well. Because of this, he was convinced that he was boring.

The Businessman ordered a different thing every day at the restaurant. He hoped that one day he would take a last meal there, shake the waiters’ and the servers’ and the manager’s hands goodbye, and turn his back. He hoped he would have the opportunity and the courage to go somewhere different one day and leave the business district forever. He hoped.

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4 thoughts on “The Businessman

  1. You’ve got me thinking now. I know there’s some kind of hidden meaning here but I’m not yet sure what it is. Now I’ll have to put on my pondering cap. I liked this one.

  2. msslightly,

    This is excellent perspective from such a young person.

    When a man gets about to my age, he can wake up one day and realize his hour glass is getting low on sand. It can make you stop and think.

    The ticket is to have what I call a “constructive mid-life crisis.” Write a book, read the classics, learn a new musical instrument, take a Spanish class; there are all kinds of ways to deal with it.

    Sometimes a guy will go nuts and think he is suddenly an expert in finance or the restuarant business. It might work out, but more often it fails. Whatever a man is at his core by 50 is about what he is going to be. Rather than trash all that and start over, it is better to evaluate and build on what you are. I have always been a Doc who plays the mandolin. Somehow I added writer to the resume, but I am still the same guy.

    The worst of all is when they leave their people. I see these guys my age take up with some 35 year old woman, and it seldom works out. They are too young, and when the new wears off the guy is back where he started except worse off.

    For some reason women fare a little better and don’t seem to go quite as crazy.

    When people are young like you and many of your readers, the idea is try to search hard and figure out what you are. I was lucky to figure it out very young, and now have no regrets.

    Also I advise young people to plan for the future like life will last forever, but live every day like it might be the last.

    Enough preaching from your slightly past middle aged pal-

    See ya,

    Dr. B

  3. The traveler is always leaving home
    The only kind of life he’s ever known
    When something deep inside of him keeps telling him to go
    He hasn’t found a reason to say “No.”

    Your piece reminds me of this song. Business men often travel, and as the good doctor above stated, as we get older something invariably compels us to take on something that we feel embellishes our inner personas. If we don’t, we become Obsessive/Compulsive . . . and eventually wind up writing ;^)

  4. Orin says:

    Wow, I love it!
    Really well-written, and I like the topic.
    The last paragraph, though, feels a bit weird. It’s not bad, it just feels different to the rest of the text and that kind of threw me off.

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