Angle to Key West: Rich (7/9)

Sabrevois, Quebec – July 9, 2013

The boarder guard ushered me out of the office and outside in the sunlight. It was a beautiful summer day, hot and clear, the kind people dream of in a long winter. No one doubts why I do this on a day like today.

The guard was a nice man, cheerful and friendly. We’d already talked a bit about the trip, where I was going, and how long I intended to be in Canada.

“I just have some personal questions,” he said. “And wanted you to have more privacy. How much money do you have?”

I told him, listing out my cash, my shrinking bank account, and credit cards. I offered to show him what I had, but he shook his head and flipped through the pages of my passport.

“Is this your first time in Canada,” he asked.

“No,” I said. “I started the trip here for the first four days on Lake of the Woods.”

He nodded.

“What do you do for work,” he asked.

“I was a lawyer,” I said.

He nodded again.

“Taking a break?” he asked.

“Yea,” I said.

“Do you have a camera?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Want to see it?”

My mind flashed back to New York and flipping through pictures with the police.

“I can show it to you,” I said.

“No, no,” he said. “I thought you might want me to take your picture with the border sign for your trip.”

I stood by the sign and smiled. He snapped two quick pictures and handed my camera back to me.

“Check to make sure they are good,” he said. “Good luck and welcome to Canada.”

He disappeared inside and I stood on the dock for a moment packing my gear.

A man waiting on a sailboat leaned out and smiled at me.

“You are a lawyer?” he said in a French accent. “Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear you.”

I laughed and smiled.

“Yes,” I said. “But the least accomplished of any.”

He frowned for a moment, then looked at me.

“But you are the richest,” he said.

I wasn’t sure if it was a question. I thought he meant that I must be rich to afford this trip or maybe he’d misheard what I told the border guard. I thought of some of my classmates six years into a law firm salary or working for a big bank.

“No,” I laughed. “I’m not richest…”

He shook his head and pointed to his heart.

“Here, eh,” he said. “Here you are the richest.”

My right hand moved over my chest and I looked at him, our eyes holding for a moment.

“Yes” I said. “I am.”

14 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Rich (7/9)

  1. Daniel, the truth revealed in the simplest of phrases. Keep this important thought in your head when your trip becomes difficult or you are trying to remember why you are doing this. Love,


  2. Sometimes, Daniel, your stories are so rich that I’ve gotta shake my head and say, “For Real?” I love this story and the contrast to the one about NYPD. So even French Canadians are great, eh?

  3. Another great moment D, thanks for sharing. Richness is doing what you truly want and not what society, culture, friends, family and Madison Avenue want you to do. If so, you are rich (you are in the moment) whether you are kayaking our great waters, being a lawyer or being a father to a superb son.

  4. In Bhutan they would agree! They don’t measure gross national product but gross national happiness!

  5. Back-tracking on your stories – this one brought a swell of joy. I have French Canadian ancestors going back a couple/few hundred years, but growing up in Bklyn I never knew any until later in my life when I moved to Massachusetts. Perceptive, and great sense of humor, that man!

    Smiling, I dare-say annabanannamom, the NYPD may have seemed intrusive, but I think they were saying exactly the same thing (just in “NYC-speak,” which is both more loud and slow/quiet at the same time.)

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