Huckleberry Hill Nature Preserve, Monterey, California


I know a Frenchman named Marcel. Several of us would occasionally meet at a coffee shop for a sip, a bite, and a chat on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Marcel never ordered coffee because he made his own at home from imported beans in a particular way that the shop’s barista couldn’t match.

One Saturday morning, after an hour or so, I got up and excused myself because I had work to do. Marcel stood up, shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and in a gentle, intimate voice said, “Enjoy your life, ‘ey?” Those three and a half words began to spin around in my mind.

Yeah, I was leaving early to go work, I thought, maybe being too responsible, but for me, work had always been a kind of dedication. I’d take my time and enjoy a vacation or special event, of course, but a morning coffee? Yeah, I’d forgotten how to goof off long ago. So there it was, a bit of advice from the culture that elevated cheese and butter to an art, where a glass of beer or wine at lunch is compulsory––Enjoy your life ‘ey.