Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just One in a Long Line of Salesmen

2006 - The Window Manager took a sip of his vodka martini and reflected on his meetings in Taiwan: two really good ones and one bad one. About par for the course since what he sold couldn't be touched or felt; What he sold were ideas, or intellectual property. He took a drag on his Cuban cigar, thinking he should smuggle some onto the 747 that would take only 12 hours to get him half way across the world back to his house. As he laid his credit card on the bar to pay his tab, he couldn't help thinking of all the traveling salesmen over time who had killed time in a bar somewhere waiting to go home.

1877 - "Thank God for the Suez Canal," Monte reflected as he took a sip of his Gin and Tonic. The steamer back home to India would arrive weeks faster than just a few years before. He had successfully negotiated a new tea delivery contract and waited at a bar at Blackwall while the ship loaded up furnishings and goods for the expats back in India. As he sat there enjoying his Cuban cigar, he couldn't help thinking of the other traveling salesmen over time who might have had similar feelings as they waited in bars for their ship home.

1690 - Pelts. Havishire watched the men unload his skins from the schooner as he nursed his ale from the dock-side bar. This load was already sold. He was here to deliver them and line up customers for his next visit. Then he would take the long voyage back to the New World and start all over again, purchasing pelts from trappers and Indians to take back to Europe. He took a drag on his pipe and stared into his stein, thinking about the long line of salesmen over time who plied their trade across the world.

732 - Zhuang nursed his rice wine, drawing out the minutes before having to get back onto his smelly camel and back onto the Silk Road. He mused at the popular name. His caravan's load had spice, which was indeed quite valuable, but most of it was dried food, trinkets and other sundries much less luxurious than silk. He drained his glass and got up to go get back on the camel, wondering how traders across time dealt with the smelly creatures.

200 B.C. - Hasdrubal felt the sea breeze in his hair as he watched the men unload the wine barrels from the Phoenician trading ship. He sampled his product - still good after the long voyage! - and thought about all the trading taking place across the great Mediterranean. Surely men have been trading since the dawn of time, he thought. He wondered if those earlier traders were anything like himself.

6,000 B.C. - Otzi looked up at the imposing mountains, looking for the pass that would take him back to his people's lands by the ocean. He had brought shells, dried fish and other items inland and was bringing back flint, jewelry and other items for his people. It was a hard, dangerous journey that few in his village were able to do. Sometimes people didn't come back. He trudged up the slope, hoping that this chore of trading would some day, somehow, become easier to do.

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