My name is Johnson Gaines, and I’m a Software Engineer cum white hat hacker at a leading financial firm in the heart of New York. I usually don’t write; well, I do, but when I do it is always in one programming language or the other. What I meant is that I usually don’t write down the occurrences in my life, but just like in every story, there is just one moment that makes you realize, someone else has to hear my story.
Growing up as a teen in New York City, I got to see different sides of the picture called life, from the stereotypical African American hustling on the corner to the Hispanic workers juggling myriad jobs to the white-collar workers that not only throng through Wall street but seem ubiquitous no matter where you look in the Big Apple.
They were like hamsters riding on a wheel they couldn’t get off from, and everyone was doing one thing or the other in pursuit of the greenback. I couldn’t help but notice how no one ever seemed to take a break from that life, no sooner have they achieved a milestone, they were off chasing the next one.
Once you attend a milestone, you’ve earned a respite, treat yourself nice. But it seemed I was all alone. Or so I thought. I made a mental note of taking a week-long vacation once I made my first million, that was some ten years ago.
It all began in early February 2016, and I was assigned to lead a team of software engineers in my department, our job was to build software for a client’s IPO. I don’t know much about the schematics of how the financial business worked, but what I know is this; IPO’s tend to attract a lot of people, especially when the said company is on the Fortune 500 list. The catch about this particular one is that it’ll all be done online, through the app my colleagues and I were building, so it had to be flawless and at the same time 100 percent secure. To cut a long story short, after tons of trials, and testing’s we were ready. The D-day came and went.
On the first day alone, we made headlines on every self-respecting news outlet. When the whole thing was done and dusted, life continues, there’s always some other program to write, but wait, I forgot to mention my bonus. Due to the success of the IPO, we all got bonuses. I’m talking wolf of Wall Street type of bonus. Yeah! That’s right. You know that feeling you get when you’ve wished for lots of money, but when you eventually get it, you get a headache or a fever cos you are having problems deciding how you’re going to spend it. But that was not me.
Remember, I had already had plans for when I made my first million since I was a teen. Yeah, I made that much in bonuses alone. $1.3 million to be exact.
It was mid-August when I got my check, I immediately applied for a 2-week break. But they were kind enough to shorten it by a week. So, I got my week-long break starting on a Wednesday, and it was going to be an early weekend for me.
Thursday evening, I was on an afternoon flight to Miami. That’s correct Miami. Where else do you go in late summer when you have a million dollars and willing to spoil yourself? No better way to start an early weekend. I was going to spoil myself silly.
I had already booked a hotel at one of those fancy beach hotels that are synonymous with Miami, palm trees in the background and a nice view of the ocean that sort of thing. I was not going to play cheapskate with myself, and I flew first class. Lord knows I wanted to fly private, but it wasn’t time for that sort of spending. At the hotel my mind was blown, the receptionist was so polite, I couldn’t help but wonder if somehow, she knew my bank balance, I smiled back at her as I made for the elevator.
That evening I hit the gym, it was one of the things I still did on a regular, next stop was the Sauna. I stepped into the Sauna, and the first thought that hit me was why do people love this so much? I was from New York and not used to that amount of heat.
Dinner was to be outdoors, in an ideal position to get enough of the beautiful night view. I could get used to this, and I thought as I sat down at my table.
I headed down to the beach next. Irene wanted to fix her manicure, so it was just Joyce and I. We rented a jet boat and hit the water. I remember reading somewhere, “Money cannot buy happiness, but have you ever seen a sad person on a jet boat?” I can’t recall ever feeling more alive, I let Joyce pilot the ship, zig zagging and racing, she seemed like she had lots of experience. It was a great time.