Running on adrenaline and 3 hours of sleep, I slide into the black SUV to head to the airport. With every cell of my uncaffinated system I am willing the first sips of hotel coffee to give up the goods into my bloodstream. I am fixated on making it through TSA so I can purchase some decent coffee and zone-out before my 6:30am flight.
This is not usually a moment where I am at all desirous of conversation. I am, however, more uncomfortable being driven around places in the back of car as if I’m somebody who is important enough to do such things.
In a cab (which is what I wanted but the hotel called the service instead) I can almost make my peace with riding in silence. But using a car service and not even attempting to chat with the driver goes against my genes. The length and depth of the conversation is up to them.
Like so many times before I’m so very glad I have such a visceral (and yes, classist) reaction. All it takes is a rather wan smile and a few pleasantries and Andrew and I are in a rich conversation. He is happy and it is infectious even at 5am.
Forget coffee, give me a chat with a content soul any day to start the morning off right — Ok, maybe I was a touch hasty there. Caffeine and good conversation. Luckily it is rarely an either-or proposition.
This morning, my jolt comes from Barbados with beautiful dark skin and a breezy, warm accent. Andrew freely admits to doing what he loves. “Give me the road” he says.
He has a plan. He owns property in a few places but is happiest in the Sunshine State. Although it is still a little cold at times in Florida (which I ribbed him about) so eventually he will go back to the islands.
He tells stories about driving all over southern FL, down the Keys to the opposite coast, and that “one time I picked up a guy at the Atlanta Airport because all the flights were delayed.” Yes, he drove to GA and back for one stranded client. “Not all fares are that good,” he says with a sheepish grin.
He also likes to shuttle snowbirds’ cars down and back from points North. He drives a high-class clientele who obviously trust him, and I would to.
He thought about going to school for a while to “better himself” but decided that wasn’t a wise decision. “Especially with the economy. I just surround myself with the right kind of people instead.”
“Plan for the future but live happily today,” he says and he is obviously doing both. I am completely awed by him, an average working dude, who has found his place in the world — in a job most of us probably don’t think of as a “career” — and he is content and happy.
And then, starting the circuit around the airport, sliding into the “departures” lane my new yogi Andrew lays the most priceless gem at my feet: “strength and health are all I wish for every day.”
He went on to chuckle “The Money Ball always looks nice but having the strength to work towards my goals and good health to be able… those are better.”
Damn. Dude really does have it figure out.
Strength and Health.
I murmured some agreement but what else is there really to say to that? in my heart I was sending a little-big thank you out to the universe, for that day I had those two things. I’ve had those two things for most of my life.
What more is needed?
Upon later reflection the best part about the gut-check reminder was realizing how self-determinative those two things are. Sure you can be dealt a crappy genetic code but if you chose to find-create-give yourself health and strength, everything else will find its way.
Contented happiness is right there, you just need those two things.
Thanks Andrew for making it so simple.
Wishing you all health and strength this day.
(Oh, and if you need a driver in the Palm Beach area reach out, I know a great guy.)