The persistent chiming of the doorbell was driving Brian mad. The first day of his Christmas break and it was only eight thirty in the morning. He pulled the duvet up over his head and tried to ignore the Ghostbusters theme tune reverberating through the house.
‘Stupid, stupid choice’ he muttered to himself as the bell rattled out the tune yet again, filling the quiet rooms of the house. He didn’t remember ordering a package, though he couldn’t be sure. He sighed, slid out of bed slipped his Superman slippers on and yawning headed downstairs. The cat yowled at him on the stairs, expecting breakfast and rubbed against his legs almost causing Brian to trip over the last step. He picked up the big tom and rubbed his face in the cat fur, hearing the contented purring and feeling the warmth of his body.
The front door stuck refusing to open. He’d fix it one day, next summer, when the weather was better, although he’d been saying that for years now. Yanking at the handle, the door creaked and complained, finally swinging open. The cat squealed, scrabbling and complaining as Brian backed up into the hall.
‘Good morning, Mr Peters I believe. Brian Peters is that you?’. The person standing on the doorstep was dressed in a smart blue suit and carried an official looking clip board. ‘Seasons greetings to you sir. Could you spare me five minutes just to answer…. you know …. a few questions’? Brian tried to close the door, but wasn’t quick enough and with one bound the man was in the hall next to him.
‘Jolly chilly out there, snow coming I wouldn’t be surprised. Edward’s my name but do call me Ted. Right shall we make a start? Great slippers by the way’ and he winked at Brian.
‘Now Mr Peters you might be expecting a short survey, you know the sort that won’t take a minute. Well that’s what they say on the phone hey’. He winked again. Brian groaned, muttered something about tea and headed towards the kitchen. ‘No siree not our company, let’s cut straight to chase here’. He produced a business card from his top pocket.
‘Talent Spotters Inc that’s us, no talent too small. If you’ve got some, we’ll find it. Yes, we’re your people for talent’. He placed the card theatrically on the kitchen table next to teapot and peeling open his suit jacket, produced from his inside pocket a flash light. ‘Right let’s take a look shall we?’ and before Brian could stop him, or the cat had a chance to complain about the lack of breakfast, he was off – opening and shutting cupboards, looking under the sideboard coming out covered in cobwebs. He set about each room, diligently searching, then making notes on a sheet of paper.
‘Morning Mr Peters, apologies for coming right in, but the front door was ajar, looks like it sticks a bit, I couldn’t help noticing’. The new visitor placed her business card on the table too and stood back smiling. Brian, in an effort to stay calm, poured hot water onto the tea bags in the pot and took an extra cup from the shelf. Then he casually read the raised gold embossed writing …. ‘Awareness and New Perspectives Ltd’.
‘Yes we bring light into your home. Light to places you never thought you had. Raise your awareness to a whole new level. Mind if I make a start Brian?’ And without pausing, she opened her leather bag pulled out an extending tape and began checking the measurements of the kitchen. Then using a smart 2B pencil, drew a scale diagram on her note pad.
‘A new french window here would be just perfect, bring plenty of light in and west facing too. Imagine what you’ll see as you eat your cornflakes every day. A great source of insight I’d say’. She beamed at the cat, accepted the cup Brian passed over, drinking quickly. Not at all concerned that is was fresh from the pot and steaming hot.
‘Morning, I shut the door, had to give it a hard shove, but its closed now. You need to get that fixed. It’s not doing the joints or the frame any good. Best set a date to get that organised I recommend’. The new arrival, a smartly dressed man, walked confidently in and sat down. Brian knew the routine, put out his hand and took the business card.
‘Geoff is my name and I think I just saw Sandra heading into the living room there’. There was a pause as he took a breath. ‘ Discipline and Structure LLP. Yes, Brian you need us’. He lent forward, speaking quietly. The cat eyed him curiously, as he cleaned his paws carefully. I see my two friends have got here before me, which is fine. They’re early starters after all and often ahead of me with customers. Quite right too, but without D&S you’re sunk, yes sunk without trace’. He smiled benignly, before slipping on an apron and tying it behind his back. ‘Mind if I make few adjustments sir?’ He stood up and moved around the room, lining up pots, boxes, emptying one cupboard completely and reassembling the contents logically by sell by date. He occasionally rubbed his hands together, nodding to himself as he went about his business. Under the sink he found a cleaning spray and hummed to himself as he polished the kitchen window.
Later Brian wouldn’t remember why he provided breakfast for them all. Maybe he thought he was in a dream and would wake up soon, maybe he was just friendly and liked company. Anyway, they all enjoyed the scrambled eggs with salmon (it was Christmas after all), and munched through a whole loaf of wholemeal toast together. He waited for them to speak, lining up the salt and pepper pot and getting a warm smile from D&S Ltd in return.
‘Right if I might summarise Peter: plenty of talent, mostly hidden and not fully utilised. Some awareness, bags of opportunity for more. But to be blunt, poor self discipline and structure. Oh yes and by the way, those Superman slippers do you no favours either’. Geoff slid over a summary report, containing all the different perspectives. Then the three of them, sitting opposite him across the table, chipped in with additional examples and suggestions of changes he might make.
‘And the price for all this work?’ Brian looked at them, across the neatly stacked plates waiting to go in the dishwasher. ‘A lot I suspect and you can deliver it all, the combined companies of Talent, Awareness and Discipline’? A hint of sarcasm filled the words.
‘Actually no, at Christmas we offer this service free’ Sandra replied. ‘You know we like to help the community a little, do our bit. It’s a time of reflection and contemplation, looking back on the year, looking ahead a little? A time for a personal mini audit perhaps’? Brian nodded, taken aback by the seriousness of the comment.
‘But there is a price actually’ Ted’s voice seemed to float over across the kitchen. ‘Rather its more of a commitment’. The sun at that moment shone in through the window bringing a sharpness and clarity. The cat watched a piece of fluff float up into the air. ‘A commitment to use this information wisely and well, not waste your opportunities. Will you do that Brian?’
And with that, the three stood up left the room and the front door opened easily and neatly clicked shut. As it always would in the future.
Grahame Pitts – December 2018
Perhaps take a moment or two for reflection…….
1. What are my talents? Am I using them well for myself and for helping others? Are there any talents hidden in cupboards, waiting to be used more?
2. What do I know about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses? How open am I to new information, feedback, new experiences? Do I encourage others to understand themselves more and find ways to learn and grow?
3. What level of self discipline and structure do i have? Does this need to change in any way – perhaps bringing more in, or perhaps having less control sometimes?