The smartest guys on the beach
Ah, the holidays! I know everyone has only just got back but already I’m looking forward to the next break. Not for me, you understand: I’m always on holiday. No, I just can’t wait for everyone to get out of town again, and in two weeks’ time Chinese New Year will oblige.
Mind you, I’ve no idea why every banker in town seems to dash away at every opportunity. Most of the time they are so pathetically unimaginative that more often than not it is worse than staying at home.
There they lie, as red as a row of lanterns, burning themselves on loungers while desperately trying to focus on their book or the far horizon, rather than risk a sideways glance at the inevitable line of colleagues and rivals populating the exact same beach.
Even worse, though, it turns out that some of them actually like it. One youngster in the American Club the other day was telling me how he’d been delighted to bump into all his mates off-duty in the Maldives over New Year. They could get bladdered every night and not have to drag themselves to a client meeting at 8am the next day.
The joke’s probably on him and those mates, though. As I watched him swaggering off to the bar, an old-timer friend of mine tapped my arm. “Depressing, isn’t it?” he said. “Yes,” I agreed. “He really doesn’t know how to make the most of his time away from the desk.”
“Exactly,” said my friend. “Wrong beach. In our day we made sure we went where the clients were.”