I was sitting watch in the corner of a distant gate in the Atlanta airport. Across from me sat a guy wearing expensive denim, bright pink socks, a blazer that was beautifully, almost comically, blue, and a white belt. There he sat, laptop hinged upon his folded legs, arms up on the seats next to him as if he were embracing two invisible pals. He’d slipped his shoes off, tucked them beneath his seat. Eating pistachios and watching Braveheart — so relaxed, so unstressed by the terminal bustle, that it looked like he owned the world, or at least the little part of it that concerned him. All that, and the backs of his hands were conspicuously tan. After a while, I named him, as if he were a character in my movie: He was the yachtsman.
It was just the two of us in the corner. Eventually we made eye contact, and I asked him: “What do you make?”
The yachtsman jerked an earbud free. “Excuse me?”
“How much you make?”
“You mean money?” He narrowed his eyes. He tilted his head. “What kind of question is that?”
“Okay,” I said. “You don’t have to tell me.”