Monday, December 22, 2008

Kryptonite Immunity: Pride or Denial?

I met Mr Designer just now. Wow, the way he reacted to the blow was nothing like what his partner and I could ever imagine. The writer in me is beginning to get more and more intrigued with the complexity of this guy's character and personality. He even beat the 2 main characters whom I struggled to capture in words in 'Chestnut Chocolate Mooncake', my most well-praised short story; it depicts a conflict between a no-nonsense French Chef and an ex-military German F&B Director who thrives on creativity and doing things differently.

At first, Mr Designer tried to avoid eye-contact, ke kept looking far left. That was different from his usual habit of looking down, intensely. When he was 'certain' that his partner had not called or seen me since last week, he started to relax. And guess what? He straight away went into getting the status updates of the business pitches and quotations their company had submitted. Looks like I didn't even have to ask his partner to give him a percentage from the jobs they are doing for my company. Obviously, he himself didn't waste any time in identifying his share, and his clients. Since there will be no more fixed monthly income, he is dependent on that.

That reminded me of the time when we first met. I noticed that despite his soft spoken ways and blur-detached nature, he was quick in fishing for business. His in-depth technical knowledge and finger-tips recall of pricing helped too. In fact, even until now, he has been following up on the status of quotations that his partner sends me, and checking whether invoices have been sent after a job is done. When it comes to money, he becomes 10 times more alert.

He didn't break the news to me. Naturally, his ego didn't allow that. However, while he was getting his car to send me home, I managed to touch base with his partner. His partner quickly called and asked him to break the news to me himself, in his own words. I got into his car then and overheard part of their conversation. He said 'No need, it's only internal, not external.'

Whoa! Did he really think I wouldn't notice anything different? Like why isn't his Mac notebook with him for instance, and why he is not doing designs anymore (he knows I am particular and his designs meet my expectation, only they arrive way too late). I'm used to briefing him directly, and he always insists in dealing directly with me too, instead of letting his partner worry about it ('account servicing' is the guy's responsibility anyway, 'designs' are his). He actually agreed to email me the revised designs of the only outstanding item for my company tomorrow. How? The designs are in the notebook! Later, I found out from his partner that they would meet at the office tomorrow, and he insisted on finishing those designs himself.

He is either damn arrogant or still in a state of denial. I think he will act like the boss now that he doesn't have to do the designs (technical work) anymore. On the bright side, he can bask in his flexible schedule, focus his energy in bringing in business and not be bogged down with nitty gritty. It's not like I would find out about him being sort of dismissed from the payroll, or so he thought.

Also, there was a major problem with the printing for their other main client's corporate diaries 2009 just now - the colour was off. The diaries were supposed to be sent to their clients' offices nationwide with enough time to distribute before 1 January'09. There was no way they could do that. Funny but Mr Designer kept saying that their colour separating supplier and printing supplier were supposed to adjust accordingly. He has a very unusual way of working. As far as his partner and I were concerned, softcopy of the final artwork that you gave was supposed to be ... final, ready to go!

His partner and their senior partner were under grave pressure, almost broke down. On the contrary, Mr Designer himself was extremely calm. Of course, without the Mac keeping him up, he continued sleeping until afternoon yesterday. He then spent time playing the new Play Station with his kids at their house till late at night. So, he was well-rested for once in a long period of time. He even said he like that kind of problems... the types that could be solved. He didn't noticed anything wrong, yeah, his sense of time is almost zero. He commented that his calm and cool demeanour was important in the profession and he failed to see what the panick was all about. He made fun of their senior partner. Though said lightly, I sensed his hatred.

Now I know why despite losing RM300k in the stock market in 1998 and having to sell his house and car, he didn't fall into a depression. You will find a few characters based on him in my upcoming short stories collection. I may have to split up his personality/character:)

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