When I was in my twenties working in Florida, I met a man who claimed to be a treasure hunter. He also claimed to be a novelist. He was a security guard at the attraction I was installing.
He would sit in his chair, leaning back on two legs with his hands folded across his belly, intense gaze and moustache bristling, while regaling me with all the treasures he was seeking and adventures he had had. Mostly involving the wrecks of Spanish ships from the 1600s off the coast of Florida.
I would listen in wonder but also wonder if any of it was true.
Was he really a treasure hunter? Novelist? Did it matter? He did have a certain gravitas.
I saw him telling one his tales to the man I was working for. I could see by my boss’s expression. He was barely paying attention and his body was turned three-quarters away while slowly inching away from the storyteller.
Literal lost treasure only has value because we care about it. The real lost treasure is the time we spend not paying attention. The treasure hunting, novelist, security guard in this anecdote was a small moment in my life but I remember him. I can still see him sitting there leaning back with a look of, “I’m going to tell you a secret.” across his face.
Thank you for reading.