Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Bonus Day

This is what happened that day...

We woke up early without an alarm.  Hungry.
We got up slowly and easily, put on clothes from the day before, and left for breakfast at a diner on the corner near our hotel without even brushing our teeth.  We ate too much, studied other bleary-eyed pancake-and-bacon eaters, and did what we like to do - created wild stories to go with the faces of strangers around us.  Somehow, that always makes restaurant dining feel like a party...

Then we went back to our 35th floor room, marveled at the view of the rising sun over San Francisco Bay for another half hour, took our showers, packed our bags, and rolled out onto the sidewalk near Union Square before 10 AM.  We walked the 1.5 miles to the Ferry Building, purchased tickets from a machine, and boarded the day's first boat across the bay to Sausalito. 

Then we paused to celebrate the miracle of it all.
Yes, the day was magnificent - not a cloud in the sky, not too chilly. Our bellies were full and the day before us was wide open for whatever adventure we chose.  But that was not the miracle we realized.  It was this: We were on the first ferry of the day - and we'd gotten there without a plan, a schedule, or a fight

The lack of tension between us was, well, amazing.  It is rare for us - long married and generally reasonable - to make it through so many off-routine tasks without bumping into frustration and erupting into a bit of, "Why are you sooo difficult?"  Just take a look at our morning...

We were awake early.  This is nothing extraordinary for one of us on the team, but for the rock star sleeper of our duo (ahem-me), early is usually not the best time of day to propose anything too far from the comfort of a warm bed. 

We were hungry.  My niece has a word for what happens to people in our family when the blood sugar drops: Hangry. Enough said.

We had to decide whether looking good or venturing out was the priority.  One of us rarely puts looking good behind anything when ordering priorities.  Guess who?

We were not in our town, so we had to navigate options for food.  This is a task that quite often - even in our hometown - leads to a long sigh from one of us, followed by a stiffly surrendered, "Whatever."

The coffee was bad at the diner.  I've said it many times, nothing ruins a day quicker than a bad cup of coffee.

Then there was the packing - ugh.  I dread/fear/incompetently process the task of suitcase packing more than any other activity in life.  Toilet scrubbing included.  My husband, on the other hand, is a professional packer and generally has to bite his tongue in two to keep from telling me what to do every single minute of my suitcase stuffing chaos.  (And I would be dodging if I didn't mention how much like a two year old I can be when someone starts telling me how to do something in a way that is different from the way I'm doing it.)

Sausalito was the day's destination, but we hadn't really done a minute's worth of planning for that beyond finding out where to get on the ferry.  We actually had no idea, when we set out on foot from our hotel, exactly how far it was TO the Ferry Building or exactly what street to take to get there.  This is ultimate folly to me. I am a destination driven person.  I want to know how to get where we're going and exactly how long it takes to get there.  My husband could generally care less about the destination issues.  He's a guy who embraces the journey. be that person.

Are you getting the big picture?  The morning had been a mine field of triggers to emotional melt-down, but we walked onto that ferry as it pushed away from the dock just like we'd planned the thing down to the very minute. 

The miracle:  We'd not spoken one angry word or broken even the slightest sweat. 

The fact of it begged to be explored.  How had that happened? 

The miracle explained:  It was the end of a lovely weekend in a city we absolutely adore.  My flight didn't leave until 11:45 PM, though, so we had the whole day to play.  Usually leaving days are all about the departure.  This one didn't have to be. 

It was a bonus day.  We knew it.  We delighted in it.  From dawn's earliest light until nodding off in the middle seat of flight 1299 sometime after midnight the next day - the day was embraced as a gift. 

And that changed everything.  Everything.

So, here's the secret. You've heard it from sages and poets and singers and preachers all your lives. I'm telling you, it's a rich and wonderful way to live...

Carpe diem. Seize the day. -John Keats
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. -Robert Herrick
Wake up and live. -Bob Marley
Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour. -Walt Whitman

And my favorite: 

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart. 
-Erma Bombeck

No promises for a tomorrow have been given to any of us. 
Every day is a day in the bonus round. Even this very one. Lean into it. Discover the miracle.


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