“All great literature is one of two stories,” said Tolstoy, “a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” That year I was going nowhere but the Greek café beside the inner harbor that smelled of fish, though there were no fish. Strangers showed their faces. “Say, Lev, tell me a story, ” I told them. But they told me no stories. My life, I figured, wasn’t cut with great literature. It wasn’t cut with greatness of any kind. Occasionally I cruised out of bounds in a young man’s TwinAir MiTo or an old man’s Bentley. “I am going somewhere,” I told myself, over and over. “I am leaving it all behind,” I said, stopped at a light, in the fug of traffic, in the empire of good enough.
—“Valet” by Will Schutt.