Monday, July 6, 2015

The Scent of Partridge

Retired, he read the papers. I am quite sure he read the papers before retirement. He was telling me what he read, a trim man in neat colored trousers. Every day he got on the home bike and cycled to classical music. “Thirty-five minutes.” I like this about men, they think time is quality, kilometers circumstance, pounds proof.  He read the financial reports. “I suppose if you read books about finance, they’d be out of date by the time they were printed.” I mentioned after he’d told me about his book collecting habit.

“Finance,” he said, “I read about finance.”

“Used to collect novels.” He, once a banker, informed me.

He mentioned Greece. I asked him what he thought about the outcome of the situation. He began a saga of what the papers were saying. “He’ll be out.” The Dutchman said firmly of the Greek Prime Minister. They will buy votes I thought.

“Where did the money go?” I asked.

“It’s gone,” he waved his hands telling me “Who cares?”

I thought that might be what the vote gamble was about, but I kept my peace. “Stamps,” he said, “Used to deal with stamps before I became a banker.  Never made so much money in my life as when I traded in stamps. Wholesale, lots you know. But the bottom has gone out of that now too.” He warned me off stocks.

All the hip young accountants at the party came from an American firm. Employed for a few months at a time they hopscotched across Europe on their mandates. They didn’t talk business, they talked about bicycles and taking their indecipherable mail into their Dutch lessons to get a quick translation. They all looked like they loved their jobs, and were going to high places.  They clumped together at one end of the buffet table their noses sniffing for partridge.

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