Black suit and white shirt, standing on thick carpet on Bond Street next to a shoe that cost more than I earn in a month. Handbags with bamboo handles have more living space than most people who make a living here at Gucci. Downstairs, the unisex changing room is of similar size to the jewellery sideboard upstairs.
On the sale floor, customers are anticipated and judged harshly. A real sales person knows almost with laser precision who is hot and who is not. Can’t fool a real retailer. Most people walking in though expect to be treated like a king. A king, to their mind, is someone who treats everyone around them like shit.
Purses and wallets and hand bags are set on the counter. My bitten nails are in full view. On a glass counter top. A spot light directly pointed at them. Alligator, snake, clutch, baguette, small, medium large. Next to raw human flesh. I feel as incarcerated as those animals before death brought freedom.
Not working meant not living. Ten years no holidays. Life goes on, rent needs paying, winter or summer. Paid holidays? In my dreams! Sixty to eighty hours a week, next to my university courses. Summer to me smells of perfume samples, spilled bottles of lager in dingy bars, hot steamy kitchens full of transpiring testosterone. The cooks yelling and shouting, “Come one, let’s go, let’s go!”, food needs to be brought upstairs to the drunk party crowd.
Summer was filled with the scent of envy. Coveting those who had nothing to do but complain about the pool water temperature or being unable to get into the club. This summer though, I get to lament. About the heat. For I get to spend the summer at home. Maybe being stuck inside some business wasn’t so bad after all, as air conditioning is standard in most places. Maybe any place can smell of envy, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, the Blues Bar or my own couch. And that aroma stinks. No matter where.