We found out this morning that genius Stephen Hawking has died. I mentioned to Pete that all the cool birthday buddies I have are now dead. Elvis, David Bowie, Stephen Hawking- we all share being January 8 babies.
Determined to raise my spirits to give me a new, living birthday buddy list, Pete started an internet search…
P: Kim Jong-un?
J: Uh, no.
P: R Kelly?
(He’s clearly winding me up.)
J: Also, no.
P: Betsy DeVos?
J: I’m not listening.
So, I just looked up “famous” January 8 babies. I have no idea who most of these “famous” people are, but the list includes soccer players, Twitter and Instagram “stars”. Yeah… No more geniuses left. Just me. It’s lonely at the top. 😉
Pete’s got a critter in the walls of his house. We know there’s a mouse in the lower, interior wall near a pantry cupboard, but this new scratching and scurrying was up high, inside an exterior wall. We’re pretty sure it’s a squeaking little bird, and are formulating a plan of eviction action.
But that has nothing to do with the title of this post. The critter did trigger my walk over to Pete’s to listen to the wood panelling in his kitchen, which took me past a bus stop in front of a neighbour’s house. It’s mostly old folks who use the rural bus system and a few sit on the wall outside Vera’s place. One white-bearded old man with a cane stopped chatting to his old lady companion, noticed me, and said good morning. He had only just beat me to a greeting as I was smiling and returning the sentiment right away. He then said, “You’re bright and breezy this morning.” To which I responded, “It’s a beautiful morning in Cornwall!” (Most people who know me know that I do have a particular walk – call it confident or happy, I’m not sure, it’s just my way.)
I was passing the old man and woman from my side of the road and whilst gently rocking his cane, he continued, “I used to have a walk like that when I was younger and someone said they envied me. I envy you.”
I thanked him, and with my typical sprung step, carried on to Pete’s house.
Thank you, old man on the wall. That was just what I needed to hear.
I just got off the phone with a chap from something he called the Facebook Artist’s Campaign. It was a cold call from a London number and he started off with, “Oh hi! Is this Jen? Jen Dixon? I’m Derek Charles and I’m on your website right now, and I have to say, I’m a big fan of your work.”
(He had not yet mentioned Facebook…)
“Thank you. What can I do for you?”
“I’m with the Facebook Artist’s Campaign…” and this is where he lost all credibility in my book and I started to listen for the inevitable bullshit in his script.
Turns out, they want to build me a Facebook artist page, email collectors and invite collectors to my page (the Facebook one). I told him how insignificant FB is in my life and that I’m looking to nail that coffin shut completely. He kind of ignored that and kept talking over me.
That’s just rude.
I then told him I’m a former web dev and that the numbers and traffic quality I could reach through Facebook wasn’t worth it for me. That’s when he said, “But we’re talking WORLDWIDE. Facebook is WORLDWIDE.”
“You may have noticed my accent. I’m already WORLDWIDE.” He ignored my quip and kept talking and talking over me. I mentioned the web dev thing again and that “if I decide that I want to go down that avenue instead or in parallel to the brick and mortar and collectors route I’m already on, I’ll build it myself, but thank you very much for your call and have a nice day.” I pulled the handset away from my head and could hear he was still talking away until my finger pressed the button.
Flattery will get you somewhere, sure, but it won’t get me taking Facebook seriously as an avenue for fine art collectors. In fact, I’ve had three total offers to buy my work through Facebook to date and none materialised. Two were from relatives (I’m not disappointed, we’re cool), and one was from a stranger with a shared hobby. The “reach” of my Facebook page (the one specific to my art) is as useful as a box of damp rats.
So while I was taking the call from my chatty chappy, I wrote down the pertinent details as they materialised early in his script. Halfway through the call I wrote HA HA BULLSHIT on the note paper and put my pencil down. I don’t like Facebook and I don’t like pushy people who talk over me – especially if they’re trying to sell me something – and I assure you that whatever he was telling me was going to have a price tag attached. We just hadn’t got to that part of the script yet.