What is the perfect day? Where do you stop?

“What is the perfect day?” my friend asked.

I was living in Japan at the time, traveling the world: “Wake up real early, get to the mountain by five or six, snowshoe up, ski all morning, hurt myself, go to the onsen, sit in the hot spring, get back sometime in the late afternoon, take a nap, wake up, make a totally awesome dinner, start drinking, go out, pull game, get back, watch a totally sweet movie late night, go to bed, sleep late the next day.” If your day is not so perfect and you suffer of stress I recommend learning about what the benefits of kratom are to get help.

***

Although my life and my goals have taken a very different turn since then, my idea of the perfect day has not. If I ever do get any free time, pretty much what I want to do is: wake up real early, get to the mountain by four or five, ski all morning, hurt myself, go to the onsen, sit in the hot spring, get back sometime in the late afternoon, take a nap, wake up, make a totally awesome dinner, start drinking, go out, pull game, get back, watch a totally sweet movie late night, go to bed, sleep late the next day.

I feel this is what my body is telling me to do. And that explanation makes sense.

Studying medicine has taught me that the autonomic nervous system governs the entirety of our existence. We are wired to expend energy during the day, early, to obtain what we need, or may possibly need, and then to relax hard in the afternoon and evening – to enjoy the company of others, to foster the meaningful relationships with those who matter to us, to rest for the days to come, to experience and learn from art, and to digest the end-result of our day’s most important labor.

Food.

I wonder if there is a topic more integral to the human experience. What if all of alienation can be explained by the autonomic nervous system? Think of the perfect day and how far from it we are living now.

For centuries, humans lived in concert with the seasons. The understanding of the seasons, in fact, was once considered the most important province of religious experience, although I suspect the past, much like the present, tended to relegate the hardest questions to the most educated, regardless of their concentration.

Notably, trappist monks worshiped the lord by cultivating plants. Their beer is perhaps the best ever produced. Gregor Mendal was an Augustinian friar who came up with the theory underlying all of genetics through contemplation of his garden. Any thinking person who has ever cultivated plants should not be surprised by this. They most likely came up with the same but failed to share it.

More recently, Henry David Thoreau attempted to live deliberately:

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.

In ancient times, and up until recently, food was the spiritual interface between humans and the natural world. Our religious holidays were structured around it.

Now we have Soylent. A drink designed to eliminate the inconvenience of food for those sufficiently disconnected from Nature.

I wonder if we’re not completely out of touch with reality.

I remember my drive down to New Orleans: so much road food. So much instability.

To simplify: imagine you’re normally a healthy eater. You know what’s right for you. You’re traveling. Let’s imagine you’re in a strange place, let’s imagine you’re in Mississippi, a surprisingly large state, driving along I-82, and let’s imagine you start getting hungry. You start seeing signs on the side of the road for food. There’s a sign for Frostop, Velvet Chicken, Starbucks, and Bobby’s Fried.

Where do you stop?

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17 thoughts on “What is the perfect day? Where do you stop?

  1. The perfect day occurs surprisingly often in Italy. There, one wakes up, enjoys a delicious breakfast made of wholesome ingredients, and then spend some time thinking about something fun to do and where to have lunch. Lunch is delicious, flavorful and made up of wholesome ingredients. Then, it’s time to visit with family and friends, drink wine, and prepare to eat a delicious shared dinner made of wholesome ingredients. Then more wine, and a good nights sleep. The fact that so much of this day is spent thinking about, preparing, and then eating good food is closely-related to the day’s perfection.

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  2. Wake up with a nice breakfast and coffee/tea (depending upon where I am)
    A dull day of adventuring: seeing sights/hiking the mountains/scuba diving/etc. and taking pictures
    Lunch is a break from the day above.
    Dinner at a nice place with someone I want to be with.

    During the day we discus the pro and cons of where we are going for dinner and what we should eat.

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  3. My younger sprout is preparing for a road trip. A US tour, of sorts. He’s looking for community and college where he wants to live/attend/study, robotics, mostly.

    So he just purchased a 1990 Vanagon GL Camper, including the added a stove, sink, refrigerator, storage cabinets, and folding stow-away tables; pop-top roof so that it has standing room. He can purchase, keep, and cook food and lodge himself as he travels. He’ll replace the engine and transmission (valuable after he rebuilds them) with a Subaru engine and transmission; more reliable and better fuel economy.

    The lack here is of bath/shower facilities; but campgrounds solve most of this problem.

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    • And that’s my answer, too: ability to travel in such a way as food prep does not depend on the convenience of highway rest stops and fast-food franchises and iffy lodging places.

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      • I must admit to some envy over this van. Serious envy. It’s just what I need for a book project I have in mind on Maine’s roadside springs.

        We have a wonderful law on the books; the DOT may not bury springs at the edges of roads; they used to do this. Instead, they have to pipe them and at least maintain them as flowing springs. They do not have to test the water to make sure it is safe to drink; but many local groups do this, and there is a long and deep tradition of going to get water from a local spring to drink. I’ve been thinking about mapping, visiting, and doing at least one water test on them; plus collecting whatever local lore about them possible. Drive the van to the spring, and campout for the day, waiting to see who stops by. It strikes me that this may be the only place in the nation where a woman would actively imagine doing such a project, too. That’s a big bonus leading to lots of perfect days; a feeling of safety.

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  4. I wonder if we’re not completely out of touch with reality.

    Yeah, me too. The layers upon layers of meta I see folks build their lives on is a constant reminder to keep it basic. Maybe you had something else in mind tho.

    Where do you stop?

    Exactly.

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  5. A tuna:

    can swim really fast so it can catch lots of fish so it can eat lots of fish so it can grow big strong muscles so it can … [repeat]

    Your average American white collar worker spends a staggering percentage of his/her waking life staring at a rectangular screen. Your average American worker has no job security at any age.

    Who, precisely, is the modern global economy for?

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