The Egyptian Orwellian

I have written before about my long and sometimes emotional conversations with cab drivers. I love them and look forward to them. A Sikh told me he loved me and our drive had been so satisfying and DEEP that I actually told him I loved him back. That’s the level we’re talking about and it happens to me all the time. Tonight was cold so I took a cab uptown. My driver was from Egypt and we spent some time chatting about Egypt – he had a beautiful thick accent – and he told me about his old home in Alexandria and how much he loves America. Then conversation inevitably turned to the Powerball Lottery which is currently at 550 million bucks or whatever. We started fantasizing about what we would do with the money. And we had the following word-for-word exchange.

He started it off with:

“The thing to do is to remain discreet.”
“Yeah, I agree.”
“People mess up all the time with this.”
“Or family members come out of the woodwork with hands out.”
“I would invest in a hotel. And make my whole family go to business school to run my hotel.”
“That sounds very high-maintenance.”
“I will say, ‘You go to culinary school’ and ‘You go to business school’–”
“What if someone wants to be a violinist?”

We start laughing. Then he said:

“Just put most of it away. Invest it.”
“That would definitely be the smart thing to do.”
“Don’t change your lifestyle.”
“See, I would be a horrible candidate for this Powerball thing.”
“Why, miss?”
“Because I would immediately travel the world and buy a bunch of vintage Cadillacs and stuff like that.”
“No, you can’t do that.”
“I won’t be able to help myself.”
“You should keep your job, miss.”
“If I win this thing, I would totally quit my job.”

More laughter.

“Just be smart and invest. Live off the interest. That’s what I would do.”

Then a radio show came on, with a financial advisor telling you what to do if you win: “Put most of it away. Invest it.”

He said triumphantly, “See? I don’t need their advice.”
“You sure don’t. Me? I’m buying a house in Ireland and a 57 Cadillac.”
“You can come work in my hotel.”
“I am so not coming to work in your hotel!”

Then there was a long pause. I asked, “So, you gonna buy a Lottery ticket?”
He replied immediately: “No. After I read 1984, I never bought a lottery ticket again.”

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2 Responses to The Egyptian Orwellian

  1. Zachary L says:

    I just want to say, Sheila, that I adore your blog and writing. I found it like 45 minutes ago (via the Frank O’Hara post) and haven’t left except to gush about you on Tumblr. And now I’m going to keep reading. Thank you.

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