My perfect day. Is there a word for that overwhelming feeling you get sometimes when you have so many damn choices you don’t know what the hell to pick? Like when you go to Baskin-Robbins and you think “Ahh, 31 flavors, I can’t wait!” And then you get there and your brain almost explodes because there’s so much variety.
Anyway, if there’s a word for that then I’d use it right now, because trying to write about my perfect day is like going to Baskin-Robbins and discovering that now there are seventeen million flavors.
But that ice cream would still taste good!
My perfect day begins around dawn in a cabin in the western United States, after I’ve slept for nine hours. I’m the first one up and I go outside for a run. It’s fifty-eight degrees outside, no wind, and the moon is about an hour away from setting. I watch it on its way down as I run west. Cool animals like buffalo or elk (let’s not worry about geography) roam in fields on either side. My run is fast and long, difficult and easy at the same time.
When I get back to the cabin, everyone’s still asleep. I shower and begin making breakfast. My wife and kids wake up, and we sit around the table and eat for close to an hour because we’ve got an active day ahead of us.
We hike some trails, all of which are rocky, some of which are in the desert, some in the plains. One of them ends at a giant waterfall. Another ends in a cave. A third crosses a mountain peak.
We have a picnic lunch under a sky with cottony fair-weather clouds. As we sit in the middle of a broad expanse, with no people, buildings or cars within sight, a light breeze cools the eighty-five degree day. There are no bugs and plenty of sunscreen. The water is cold, the air is fresh, the smiles are genuine, the excitement palpable.
After lunch we go back to the cabin, have soft serve twist ice cream cones dipped in chocolate or butterscotch, and then pile in the van. For almost two hours we drive to the coast. The kids relax, nap, play with their electronics. My wife and I drink fountain Diet Cokes and listen to Fresh Air, WTF and then some music.
We park near the beach, spread our blanket on the sand and explore the tide pools. Crabs scurry about, pelicans fly overhead, sea lions sun offshore. The waves are rippling, but safe, just big enough for the kids to ride on their boogie boards. My wife is clicking away on her camera, then joins us in the water. Sand castles and sand chairs are built.
Eventually it’s time to leave and we pile back into the van. Time for another ice cream cone, this time at a small ice cream shack on the two-lane road running along the shore. We sit at picnic tables under umbrellas and eat. A seagull hovers above my head and tries to steal my ice cream cone.
Back at the cabin a chef we hired has prepared a feast. All of our family and friends are there. We gather around large tables and eat. The kids barely touch their food and then run off to the basement to play. The adults drink good beer that’s cold, hoppy and plentiful. Conversation is lively, jovial.
At sunset my wife and I leave the party, go to the roof top deck and sit, just the two of us. We aren’t missed inside the cabin.
When we return, the party moves outside. Everyone sits around a large fire, s’mores are eaten, ghost stories are told, more beer is consumed.
The kids tire so we bring them inside and tuck them in. They’re off to sleep within seconds.
The party outside is breaking up. Eventually it’s just me and my wife. With the sun gone we watch billions of stars and a late evening meteor shower. The night is still warm. Animals howl in the distance.
Eventually we go inside to a quiet house, just the two of us.
I might have forgotten to mention that my perfect day has more than 24 hours. In fact, it has however much time I need.
And sometime during the day, the Cubs win the World Series.
This post was written as a part of ChicagoNow's monthly writing exercise, Blogapalooz-Hour. We were tasked to write what our perfect day would be like, either in fantasy or reality.
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