I don't normally do romance. There's no space for it on a profit-and-loss account, no tax rebates, and it's liable to increase fixed overheads beyond all measure. In recent weeks, however, something has changed. Perhaps the first hints of spring are taking effect, or the eternal optimism of my favourite Italian sales rep is infectious. For some reason my business travels
have been bathed in sepia rays of sentimentality.
The M25 seems faster moving; getting a seat on the 8.31 to Waterloo seems a possibility, if not quite a reality; the rain in Cork city appears to have paused, and for once, I have received glad tidings from the DVLA.
When trying to identify what causes this euphoria (with the sole intention of bottling and selling), it became apparent that geography was not the cause. Looking back through my diary there's been Slough, Madrid, Dundee, and Helsinki
among others. Glorious and worthy though these places may be, they are nothing particularly special. The promise of a holiday in Dundee, for example, would not calm the rage of a rebellious teenager, and a honeymoon in Helsinki would be a waste of money when Middlesbrough is so much closer.
It hasn't been the people, either. There was the meeting in St Petersburg in which the translator didn't appear to speak English, or indeed Russian. There was the night out with the young and boisterous sales team in Scotland, whose top drinking game seemed to involve explaining in broken English why southerners are lesser creatures than northerners.
The annual session with auditors muttering away in binary code for three hours failed to get the pulse racing, though a brief argument between bespectacled bean counters added interest, especially when they started throwing calculators.
I have concluded that travelling itself is the root of this new found optimism, regardless of destination or company. With my recently reacquired driving licence, a trip to Basingstoke for colonic irrigation no longer fills me with dread, as long as I can take my Subaru when the roads are empty. A midsummer voyage to Milan in order to sack my favourite sales rep is no bother, as long as I can go Club class. In any case, I'm sure she'll forgive me, and with any luck she won't be able to afford that toy-boy husband any longer.
I might even be able to convince the bean counters to make a new space in the profit-and-loss account… I'm clearly a born romantic underneath, despite the complaints from all previous wives.
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