The day after I landed in Toronto as an immigrant, I took a stroll in downtown. I was eating poutine on Front Street, with my back to Lake Ontario and facing the half a dozen skyscrapers in the two blocks of downtown core. I asked the guy in the truck who sold me the fries, what building was the shinny golden one on the corner.
“That’s Royal Bank.”
“What about the white marble tall one on the next corner?”
“That’s Bank of Montreal.”
“And the brown one across the street?”
“And the black one on the other corner is TD Bank. They are all banks.” He anticipated before I asked about the other two tall buildings.
“Hm, it looks like I should work for a bank if I want to stay downtown,” I said.
“Or you can rent a truck and sell French fries like me,” he suggested.
“Right! I will try a bank first!”
I picked a bank and worked there for two decades. Every morning I got a glimpse of the lake when I walked into my office. On many days, the morning sun cast its vast brightness on the lake, and the lake intensified the sunshine by making millions of little stars twinkling through the eyes of the ripples. I would take two seconds to marvel at these bright ripples before I turned away from the window and plunged into the world of Debt to Cash Flow and Libor pricing. Those two seconds carried me through the busyness of the day and everyday.
After twenty years I got a notice that my line of business would be restructured and I ought to look for a new job. On the last day, I said goodbye to the ripples on the lake through the window. They were so pregnant with sunshine that they were bursting with light. Then I took a stroll on Front Street to visit the guy selling poutine from his truck.
“Hey, I tried a bank.”
“How did it go?”
“I got to see sunshine from my window for a couple of seconds every morning. It made me happy. But now I need a new job.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Now I am going to rent a truck and sell French fries like you.”
“So I don’t have a window and can touch the sunshine.”