Last night N and I went to buy a few lottery tickets on a lark. It was sort of fun and adventurous and romantic—he called and said he was on his way to pick me up, and I rushed down the stairs and got in the car. On the way to the convenience store we talked about what we would do with our millions—I know the odds, but in that exhilarating moment, I was sure we would win.
What would we do with all that money? My answer came nearly automatically: Buy a little bit of land, start a farm, run a little restaurant on the property. N asked where. I didn’t need to think about it. Oregon, I told him. N’s plans were a little more grandiose. Houses in the northeast, the southeast, the northwest, and the southwest. One in France. Maybe Hawaii. I said we should buy a cabin in Montana, too. N said definitely. We would travel between the houses, rent them out when we weren’t there to make a little money.
What a dream.
We went to meet a few friends at an Irish pub. It was raining and I was under-dressed—jean shorts and a cotton tank top. As we walked into the bar, I said that we could be millionaires and not even know it. N squeezed my hand. We hoped they had a television. I imagined buying a round of drinks for everyone at the pub after realizing our new-found fortune. We sat down and ordered a beer, and a friend read us the numbers. My heart sank. Isn’t that so stupid? I really thought we would win.
I guess the thing is is that I wanted to dream. That’s why we buy lottery tickets—you can’t win if you don’t play, and you can’t think of what you’ll do with all that money if you don’t have a shot at it. But somehow I got deluded into it all, into imagining this new, wonderful life. I don’t care much about money. I would still want to work, one way or another, even if I won a hundred trillion dollars. But I want to have the freedom to do what I like.
A friend posed a question recently. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do? It was the same thing, I knew my answer without giving the question hardly any thought. I would move out west and write. (I’m sure you’re laughing at me now, because you read this poorly-written train wreck of a blog.) When I think about friends who have taken chances—friends who have moved to amazing places like New York City and Seattle and Asheville with just a little money and no job—I am so jealous. They’ve had the balls to do something risky, and they’ve made it. I know I would never be brave enough to do the same. In the fall, my future seemed so wide open. I was graduating. I could go anywhere. But the thought of going somewhere new, to a city where I knew no one, where I didn’t know the primo thrift stores and the diviest bar and the best spot for brunch, scared the shit out of me. I don’t know what I’m so afraid of. It’s only life, and whether I have $540 million or $500 in my pocket, I bet I can take whatever it throws my way, if I try.
photo by tori hoover