Billboard Eyes

There is a billboard in my town which haunts me. It is an advertisement for a realtor and features the agent’s headshot occupying a good third of the advertising space. Every time I drive by it, she stares at me like the eyes in The Great Gatsby. I become entranced, mesmerized. I veer off the road. The only thing that snaps me out of my daze is the rumble strip on the road’s shoulder, vibrating me like a 60 cycle electric shock.

The realtor woman has occupied the billboard for decades. I have seen her appearance change. Her hair style has become ever shorter. Her face more wrinkled. Her eyes more sunken. Her neck more chicken-like. Her gaze more haunting. Still she stares. She stares at me.

Once her gaze has captured me, a thousand thoughts race through my mind. What does she want from me? Does she want me to sell my house? Buy another house? Is she trying to steal my soul? Is she trying to steer me off the road to my death? Why in the hell is her head on the billboard in the first place? Brrm brrm brrm I rumble, and I’m snapped back to reality.

The last thought persists. Why is her photo on the billboard? Who decided it should be there? How does her visage have any relevance to selling real estate? Does anyone care? I certainly don’t care what my realtor looks like, all I’m concerned with is that she can sell my house for the highest price possible, and negotiate a new house for the lowest price I want to pay.

I drive by other billboards. There’s one with an American flag. There is another with a Christian cross. Another with verbage indicating the business is owned by a woman, or a minority, or a veteran. Another with some guy’s ugly mug and phony grin. They don’t entrance me like the realtor lady, but the thought continues. Why do they think I would be interested in things unrelated to their businesses? When I’m looking for a carpenter, I don’t care how much he loves his country or what his political preferences are. I don’t care about a plumber’s military service record or his religious affiliations. I certainly do not care what a realtor looks like. The only things I’m concerned about with these professionals are if they are good at their jobs and won’t rip me off. Are these professionals advertising these non-professional-related details to distract me from the fact that they are lousy at their jobs? No matter how patriotic, or religious, or how much of a minority, or how extremely good looking these people are, they will not make me satisfied if they leave me with leaky pipes, crooked walls, or a house I paid too much for.

I want to see a plumber’s billboard with a picture of pipes on it. I want to see carpenters’ ads with wall frames and hammers and nails and wood. I want to see a house on the realtor’s ad, the big beautiful one she is going to sell me for a price lower than it is worth. I want to know these people know their business, not how to hide behind irrelevant information designed to distract me from what they purport to do.

I certainly don’t want to be haunted. I don’t want to be hypnotized into doing business with anyone. Those entrancing eyes will more likely steer me into a daze and off the road to my death. And I won’t do business with anyone who is trying to kill me.