It was Kierkegaard, I think, who said that many of us pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that we hurry past it. When I was young, I may not have understood what he meant. I get it now.
A little ways outside of Dawson on Highway 82, just past the convenience store and the brown wooden house where there are always children playing in the dirt swept yard, take the road on the right they call Highway 45. I call it the road to where I come from. Home.
That’s where I was when I came upon something just a few weeks ago. I saw it a good ways up in front of me before I actually got there. A great big irrigation system watering a field of peanuts or corn or maybe something else I can’t recall because I was too busy watching it pivot … pivot … pivot .. a force of water spraying out the end until there it was hitting the hard, hot pavement. I couldn’t wait. Would I make it in time … would I be a second or two too late or maybe even too early?
My question answered, water hit the car and sprayed across the windshield like a blanket, a great whoosh sound that took me back to younger days. How excited I would be when that would happen. I don’t know why. How excited I was when it happened the other day! I still don’t know why. But it was a simple pleasure, there for a second … then gone.
Simple pleasures are the best. Some of them you plan for, this is true. But the ones that are the best are the ones you don’t anticipate. And they give me, at least, a little boost.
Like making every yellow light on the way to work, as if fate breezed through and made way just for you. Knowing that you pulled out of your driveway at the precise moment that made it possible, and trying to remember exactly what that moment was so you can do it all again tomorrow.
Finding money that you didn’t know you had — putting on your coat the first cool day of fall and finding a $5 bill, or maybe even a $20, and for just a little while, you’re richer than you thought you were, and it feels good.
Getting a story just right. Hearing something interesting and sharing it with someone in such an incredible, hang-onto-every-word way that leaves them fascinated. Not forgetting the punch line. Delivering a joke so perfectly that they laugh, maybe a little bit or maybe a lot instead of staring at you blankly. They got it.
A good belly laugh. The kind that may quite possibly make you feel like you can’t breathe. The kind you can’t help. The kind you remember so well that it makes you laugh again hours later just thinking about it. The kind that is contagious.
Fresh, just put on the bed sheets. Enough said.
Parking. A space up front, not because you’re too lazy to walk but because you’re in a hurry. And if it’s a pull through parking space, one where you can pull right on through to the one in front of you … that’s heaven. When you’re ready to leave you don’t have to back up. Score.
Thinking about someone you haven’t seen in a very long time, then seeing them that very same day. Like somehow your thinking about them made them appear. Are you magic? Probably not. But it feels good anyway.
I checked to see if it really was Kierkegaard who said that many of us pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that we hurry past it. It was. When I was young, I probably wouldn’t have understood what he meant.
Yep, I get it now.
Emaiwl columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.