The random day off. Have you ever taken one? One of those I don’t need to use it really, but I’m going to anyway just for the hell of it days?
Today was that day for me. Sure, the lure of a 3-7 Ravens team playing a putrid 2-8 Browns team on Monday Night Football influenced it somewhat (oh, so sad…so very, very sad), but I’ve got days to burn and why the hell not?
Everything a vacation day should be: Currently 52 degrees, a steady downpour causing a river in my back yard, just warm enough to not warrant a fire. Nothing really planned. Some may say…a waste of a day. “Didn’t you do anything? Didn’t you ‘maximize’ your day off? You WASTED a vacation day?”
You know what. I did nothing. And yes, it was everything I thought it could be.
Sometimes it’s just wonderful to sit and think, and be silly with your daughter.
I conducted interviews with my cousin and his fiance over the past several days for a wedding video that will somehow get assembled in the next two weeks. It would have been shot in one day, but much like mine, and about three other wedding video interviews I’ve heard about or been a part of, a second session is usually required due to the level of overservedness during the first session.
“How did you meet? What are you looking forward to the most? How long do you think it takes you to get ready before you go out? How long would HE say it takes you to get ready? What is your biggest pet peeve? What was your first impression?”…and so on…Among those questions was the obligatory, “Tell us about the engagement story.”
Well, everyone wants their engagement story to be picture perfect. Lights twinkling in each others’ eyes. The setting sun on the bay. A soft snow, falling on a landscape of roses and horse-drawn carriages.
In reality, we should just count our lucky stars that the women even said “yes” to our slovenly, nervous, profusely-sweating proposals in the first place. Much less expect rainbows and unicorns (and not the henna tattoo rainbow and unicorns that I know some of you know all too well).
Anyhow, my cousin’s proposal took place at a Christmas tree farm, in a 55 degree downpour, as my children were hacking up lungs all over the place. One knee, and a “yes” later, and he and his fiance were on their way to a life of pure bliss.
The point here is…when we asked them about their engagement story, they both said the same thing. Crappy day, weather-wise. Suboptimal setting. But….they wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Now, having proposed to my better half amongst what I like to call “rats and refuse” in a Federal Hill alley on December 16th, 2005, I can sympathize with the dreamers and believers who think that the big moment will be worthy of the cover of Wedding Magazine. But the more I let that moment saturate….now almost 10 years ago, the more you start to realize that those perfect moments of movies and songs and all that other crap is….well….crap.
It’s not about the engagement story. Or the wedding. It’s about the marriage.
Cheesy. But true.
The entire point of this is… the super duper day off where many nincompoops would say I got nothing noteworthy accomplished, where my productivity included being silly with my four year old and just walking around the mall with her, was perfect.
Lou Reed…former front man of the Velvet Underground…has a song called “Perfect Day.” The lyrics are sublimely sensational. Some have called it his “Hallelujah,” in reference to Jeff Buckley’s pinnacle anthem. (Which is another blog waiting in the wings.)
Much has been written about the song that allegedly paints the picture of a time that Lou courted and proposed to his then-girlfriend. But what they did they do on that perfect day?
Drink sangria in the park.
Then later, when it gets dark. We went home.
Feed animals in the zoo.
Then later, a movie too. And then home.
Asking a girl to marry you? That’s the zenith of nerves and anxiety. Uncomfortable to say the least–at least, for most.
For the last three decades of his life, Lou Reed was a tai chi practitioner; he learned how to move slowly through uncomfortable positions. All the art he’s left us will continue to help us learn to do that, too.
There is nothing spectacular in Lou Reed’s perfect day. In fact, it’s much like a day off from work today. It’s much like the engagement story that is not accompanied by fireworks and symphonies. But rather, rats and refuse.
Don’t let someone else tell you how your perfect day is supposed to go.
Sometimes the perfect day; or the perfect proposal; or the perfect birthday; the perfect you-name-it…. is exactly the day you’re having. There’s no need to make it more than that.
Enjoy your perfect day.
I hope I get to spend it with you.