I boarded the taxi in a bad mood. I had arrived on time at the bus station but still missed the bus because I was reading the paper and didn't notice the bus coming and leaving. I had a meeting at 9:30 and not much choice but to get a cab.
The driver greets me with a warm "How are you?" but, still reeling from the missed bus, I launch into a long explanation of what has just happened. I am in a mid sentence when I realize that it's not the driver's fault so I laugh and stop bitching about what has just happened. We start
to talk and he tells me that he is from Sudan ("Far from where the war is" -- he says, refusing to tell me if he is from the South or the North). He came 6 years ago after winning a green card at the lottery and recently got his American citizenship. He has the certificate in his car and passes it to me. I can see the date May 25 of this year, his picture and the signature of the governor of Maryland. I am a bit jealous of his luck. I've been here more than double his time here and I am still years away from being a citizen. We talk about America. He says he likes it 50/50. Some good, some bad.
I try very hard to convince him that I think it's more than 50% good but he can't believe it. "You're French," he keeps saying, "don't you think that France is better than here?"
Nothing I can tell him will made him change his mind. France and Europe was a paradise closed to him, so he came here. A consolation prize.