|Appreciating clouds in the Right Sort of patio chair|
The Importance of Not Being Earnest
I grew up with this odd idea that the point of clothes was to keep you warm and decent (not necessarily in that order), and that the point of food was to keep you alive and well. Clothes might be attractive, but that was a bonus. Food would probably be tasty, but even if it wasn't, you were to eat it. In other words, food and clothing were necessities; pleasure was a happy accident--a utilitarian approach to life's basics which I maintained through early adulthood.
Then I spent six months in Paris.
In Paris, the purchase of green beans is an artistic experience. The choice of an avocado--perfectly ripe for tonight, or perhaps for tomorrow--merits your grocer's undivided attention. The selection of cheeses to serve after dinner offers adventure enough for even the strongest of heart.
In Paris, one matches one's fur coat to one's dress, shoes, and toenail polish (all in beautifully graduated shades of blue, bien sur). One rides one's Vespa in perfectly fitted, princess-seamed leathers and heeled boots. One wears lovely, floating silk scarves simply because they are lovely and floating and silk.
In Paris, necessity becomes delight. Put another way, food and clothing are still necessities, but one of the necessities is that you enjoy them. If mundane things are inescapable, the attitude seems to be, then why not revel in them?
|Enjoying morning coffee with bonus balloonists|
This brings us to the all-important topic of patios and, by extension, patio furniture. I love the patio, because it is not a place for accomplishing. Work has its place, and hard work satisfies like nothing else, but not, I repeat, on the patio. The patio is a place for idling--for taking a mental and physical holiday from the indoor world. Whereas indoors, a part of me is always muttering about vacuums and e-mails and dishes, on the patio, no part of me is called to action. Perhaps if I am feeling particularly energetic and inspired, I may meander out into the garden (which takes approximately six steps) and deadhead a flower or so. I may pull a weed. And then, mission accomplished, I mosey back to the patio, possibly stopping to admire a particularly fine blossom or brush my hand against the oregano or pick a leaf of mint, before resuming my interrupted holiday.
|Enjoying iced mint tea at sunset|
No, a patio chair--whether an Adirondack, zero-gravity, or plain folding lounge chair--should lean back just far enough that work is out of the question. (N.B. The footstool is a magnificent invention.) Try the following litmus test: If someone wanted to drop grapes into your mouth, would you be prepared? If not, the chair sits up too straight. (On the other hand, a chair should not lean back so far that you need to use your abs to sip a cool, refreshing drink.) You should be able to watch clouds drifting by and stars coming out, tree branches swaying in every breeze, cottonwood seeds floating haphazardly on a random current of air.
|Slaving away, gathering material for my blog.|