The Client

He greeted me with a slap on the back and a "Hey buddy!" as if to show me he was hip enough to speak with a kid like me. The client then took a seat in front of my drafting table, unable to successfully feign any interest whatsoever in any of the paintings hanging on the wall beside him. He glossed over my ideas with such a mild reaction that I began to wonder how I got myself into this mess in the first place. I remembered a paper I researched back in college on Rothko. The artist used to interview clients before he agreed to sell a painting to them; if he didn't like them, they didn't get the painting. How I longed at that moment to have that kind of creative freedom!

"Oh well... it's too late now," I mourned to myself as the two of us had already committed to the project. I attempted to give some background on my work, which he obviously hadn't bothered to review prior to our meeting. As I spoke, I could see my words bounce off his thick head, down to the floor where they looked back at me asking, "Why are you wasting us?!" I wished he would just leave and that we could abandon the project, but for reasons I won't go into, suffice it to say I simply couldn't.

After receiving an unenthusiastic approval of my sketched concept, the client took notice of a commissioned work on my easel. He approached the painting and actually asked what seemed like a heart-felt question of what the work was about, but as I responded, my words were met with a rapidly succeeding string of "yeah, uh-huh, yeah, yeah, uh-huhs" to the point where I felt if I suddenly stopped speaking, his mindless and rather annoying replies would continue, leaving him in agreement with himself. Upon realizing this, I kept my answer as short as possible without seeming rude; giving a rushed, passionless response in the same unconscious way the question was asked. The exchange sickened me, as I cheated the painting from the reply it truly deserved.

He told me one day he'd consider commissioning me to do a painting for him and before I could warm up to the idea, he said that he probably couldn't afford my work anyway. I guess he had everything figured out, as he never asked what my prices were in the first place. Yeah buddy.