Have you ever met people who are…more? They walk into a room and they don’t necessarily own the room as much as they accessorize it? Throughout my life I’ve always been attracted to these people. They carry themselves confidently, bouncing in and out of rooms, smiling, mysterious and untouchable.
When I was 16 years old I interacted with my first More person. I was on a vacation with my father and stepmother in St. Maarten. One night, we went to a casino that was attached to a large resort. We drove over to that side of the island in our open jeep, excited about the night ahead. After an hour or two, we found ourselves at a roulette table. I was gambling, and winning, with the encouragement of my father who kept shouting “Let it ride!”. Yes, he is one of these people who indirectly commands any room.
What happened next has forever been cemented into my mind. I placed my bet and looked up. From across the room I saw a young couple enter the casino. They were both very tan and blonde. She had on a simple white dress and her hair fell way past her chest. He had on faded jeans, a crisp white shirt and flip flops. Hand in hand, they strode up to our roulette table and stopped. He threw several hundreds on the table, taking his place next to me. I was entranced.
Let me make something very clear; this was not a sexual attraction but something much deeper. I was attracted to what they represented, with their carefree smiles and the way he slid a Camel light out of a pack hidden in his shirt pocket, letting it dangle from his lips. They ordered Red Stripe beer, in a glass. After I realized I was staring too long, I turned back to the table and watched the ball spin and spin until landing on one of my numbers. A winner again!
The man turned to the woman and smiled, speaking a language I didn’t know. From behind me, my father yelled again “Let it ride, let it ride!”. I laughed and looked at the table. The man looked down at me and said, “Listen to your old man. Let it ride.” I did.
I lost it all.
After that, we left and drove back to our side of the island, the fragrant heat blowing through my hair as Paul Simon echoed tales of Graceland in my headphones. I imagined the couple going back to their yacht, which had just docked for the night, and making mad, crazy love and then sitting on the deck, listening to music and drinking. I imagined they were extremely wealthy and traveled the world via their yacht. They wore simple clothes, ate fresh fruit and swam at whatever small island they happened upon. They read deeply intellectual books and spoke with the natives, never considering themselves tourists. They were of the world.
I wanted to be that guy. I’ve wanted to be that guy ever since that night and my interaction with him was probably no more than 10 minutes max.
What I know today is that as an alcoholic, I have a disease of perception. It is my understanding of how I see things that makes my world different. I see things differently than everyone else. I imagine the world to be something it isn’t and set expectations for people they probably can never meet. I worked very hard for years to be that guy, drinking Red Stripe beer in glasses and smoking Camel lights, but somehow, I never felt quite like him. Something was lacking, which is strange because all of my life I’ve been told I’m “too much” or “more”, but I don’t necessarily think in the same way. Working too hard at being someone you’re not is really losing sight on finding who you are anyway. It’s working against the grain and today I choose to just float.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to that couple and if they’re still on that yacht, which probably never even existed. They were probably staying at The Holiday Inn and were on their honeymoon, fighting as soon as they got back to whatever country they were from, about money, bills and losing sight of the importance of the real things in life.
But I’ll forever have that moment with them. And maybe one day…I’ll be more too.