It’s a rainy Tuesday and I’m in the shop again. As I wrote last week, I’m spending more time working in the joint, but I still think of it as being ad hoc and temporary. That’s my perspective anyway.

Perspective varies of course. I get asked regularly what I do, which is a pretty standard inquiry. I never quite know how to answer the question these days, but at some point I mention that I own a massage shop. To my surprise that’s an adequate answer to all but very few. I’ve been pigeon-holed: I have a shop, and that’s what I do.

They don’t know me any better than that, and so that’s a reasonable presumption I guess. Maybe it’s even true. There’s nothing wrong with it, except not in a million years would I claim any of that for myself. I own a shop, yes, but it’s just something I have; it’s not what I do, or who I am. Perception.

It’s convenient in many ways for people to accept this categorisation of me. It saves me having to explain myself too much, and given many people I meet these days are entrepreneurs I find it resonates with many and we end up talking about marketing and the demands of running your own show, and occasionally about the quirks of retail.

I find something demeaning in this categorisation nonetheless. I’ve never liked being labelled, but if I have to be I want a different label than that. Back in the day I climbed the ladder pretty quick, because I was smart, enterprising and determined. I achieved a bit and a lot of that stuck. Even though I’m out of it I still see myself vaguely as that corporate hotshot, in potential at least. I’m not a shopkeeper.

They say everyone has three faces: the face they show the world, the face they think they have, and their real face. Perception runs much the same. I’m perceived by the world to be a shop-owner these days. In my mind I’m a professional, a consultant perhaps, an enterprising businessman. Then there is the truth, nothing to do with perception, but the nub of the whole thing. If I knew that then perhaps I’d know better what I should be doing, but I guess that’s the same as everyone.


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