Hope is double-edged; it drives you, beckons you from an illusory land.
I had the most random encounter last Thursday on my way home from a mani-pedi that my sweet friend had gifted me for my birthday. In a rather lucid state, a dreamy post-pampered reverie, I headed down Ocean Boulevard. Starvation coupled with low blood sugar struck me rather quickly (I love FrenchRose’, but not usually the morning after).Impulsively I veered onto a side street next to a little deli which offered “American” and “Vietnamese” sandwiches. Ididn’t choose the sandwich shop; it chose me.
Next to me sat a twenty-something in a pin-striped oxford shirt, blue blazer and white corduroy pants. He lookedsilver-spooned and quirky. In front of him sat astack of lottery Scratchers that apparently still held the promise of millions. Next to those sat a stack of promises already scratched. His fingers were stained grey, his nose smudged with blue.
“Did you win?” I asked. I was halfway through my ham and cheese and he intrigued me, his small mounds of grey dust, his scratching-wiping zen state.
“A little,” he said.
“Do you hope to?” I was thinking about the $150 I once spent on Powerball.
“Yeah, I guess so. It’s more about the rush, the feeling of adrenaline.”
He shared a lottery story, the surge he’d felt when he realized his numbers lined up. He’d won. I’m not sure how much. He looked like a young man from an affluent family, an image you might not couple with lottery games bought from corner convenient marts.
He said he spent thousands on Scratchers. “But I’mpragmatic. I’maction-oriented.Don’t ever lose yourmomentum.”
I asked what he did.
“I have a company that invests in startups.”
Did I believe this interesting young man? Who pinched a coin between stainedfingers, spent thousands on California Lottery Double Match,and spoke of venture capital?
The conversation stayed with me. I told him he had helped me with the theme for my blog. In light of it, I see that hope has way of binding us, of vaulting us forward simultaneously. It also has a habit of rearing itself in random sandwich shops while doubling as thrill.