A frustrated vocation

A frustrated vocation

Philippe Bouvard

I don’t mind admitting – because it seems to me this is the perfect place to make such a confession – that if I hadn’t made a career in journalism, I could have easily become an estate agent. Just imagine the pride in showing visitors round a 17th century château – in the absence of the owners – as if it belonged to you, handed down by your ancestors. Or the joy of discovering every nook and cranny of an apartment of whose very existence you’d been unaware the night before. Not to mention the jubilation of a successful deal resulting from a happy match of seller and buyer, whose past and present tastes in houses are in perfect harmony!

I’d have waxed enthusiastic over the fine wardrobes of an unassuming three-room apartment in just the same way you might praise the pretty eyes of a talentless actress. I’d have mentioned the sun-facing rooms and the nearby school and bus-stop in my sales pitch as if I was talking of three of the seven wonders of the world.

I’d have compared the garden view to a sea view, and held forth lyrically about the years of happiness experienced by the former owners – and their chagrin at leaving this little piece of paradise. This is a multi-faceted profession in which you have to be a salesperson, lawyer, architect, psychologist, decorator and even a poet all at once. To seal the deal, if the visit was taking place at midday, I’d have put an apple pie – bought in the cake shop at the corner of the street – in the oven, filling the air with a deliciously attractive and all-too-rare aroma. In short, I’d have proved so convincing and so eloquent that I’d have rented out the place in just a few days. To myself.