Recently, I learned one of my friends enjoys skinny dipping, explaining how liberating it feels to swim in unrefined freedom. This caused me to think about the simple pleasures of life and the satisfaction they bring. That said, here’s a list of mine.
1. Receiving a SpongeBob MailPants postcard in the mail.
Imagine my delight at finding the giant postcard with the bright yellow, toothy, sponge face of SpongeBob SquarePants staring up at me soon after plucking it out of my mailbox. On the card’s other side my 10-year-old nephew Gary thanked me for money I had sent him in lieu of his school fundraiser (which I had missed) and his congratulations on my becoming an author. Nothing could make my day more special than this.
2. Finding money you didn’t know you had.
Why is it if I see a few quarters in my wallet, I don’t get excited at all? “Just a few quarters. Ho hum.” But if I find one in the washing machine I’m thrilled. “A quarter! In the washing machine! It’s all mine!” It’s like striking gold in the laundry.
3. Finding a parking spot way up close near the store.
In a Phoenix summer, it’s a life or death matter where you find a parking spot. If you find one close to the store, there’s a good chance you’ll live through the blistering heat as you make the short trek from the car to the store. If the only spot to park is far off in the back forty of the lot, you’ll need water, an umbrella, and one of those ice chests on wheels in order to raise your chance of survival as you hike from your car to the store. It’s actually wise to have your last will and testament made out before you take the chance of parking too far away.
4. Putting on clothes straight from the dryer.
I remember putting on warm clothes from the dryer when I lived in Woodinville, WA, and how comfortably soothing the warm the clothes felt in the chilled air of the Northwest. But this same pleasure doesn’t work in Arizona. If I want to have soothing comfort from my clothing, I need to pull them out of the freezer. “Ahhhh, frozen jeans and icy underwear. They feel so good.”
5. The smell of coffee and bacon cooking over a campfire in the woods.
I’ll admit it’s been a long time since I’ve been camping outdoors, so this pleasure has become a hazy memory. Plus, I no longer eat bacon (nitrates) and I now much prefer the aroma of coffee in a fancy hotel where I don’t yearn for a shower or swat flies or worry about the unsanitary campsite restroom with no toilet paper.
6. Feeding giraffes at the zoo.
This simple pleasure does cost an extra $5 above and beyond your admission charge. But the thrill of the long, bluish tongue delicately tickling your hand while removing the food ever-so-gently and the thank-you-smile on the giraffe’s face is well-worth the extra money.
7. Fresh, clean 500-thread count bed sheets.
Crawling in bed and feeling the refined softness of the 100% Egyptian cotton fabric makes me feel like I must have a billion bucks in the bank. Otherwise, how could I afford such luxury and comfort?
8. Going to the library.
How awesome is it that you can stroll among shelves and shelves of books and they’re free. Yes, you have to return them. But for a predetermined amount of time, the books are all yours. I take my library books home and hop into my bed with the soft, sateen bed sheets, and the stories in the books whisk me away to times and places and worlds I could never visit under any other condition. Helen Keller took me back to the 1880s when her teacher Annie spelled the word “water” in her hand. Author Richard Wright gave me a front row seat in the 1930s South when Jim Crow laws kept him from having a library card of his own.
9. A Beautiful View.
Rainbows, pink clouds at sunset, glittering stars on a clear night, flowers in Kodak color, red, rocky cliffs jutting upward, snow-covered mountains, children splashing in a public water fountain, our neighbor streaking au naturel by his window. Well, I heard he does this, but I haven’t noticed.
10. Laughing heartily with a friend.
“You are so fun-neee, ho, ho, hee, hee.” Laughing tentatively with a stranger. “Uh, heh, heh, pretty funny there when you slipped on the bologna in the meat aisle. Don’t you think?” Laughing in a surprised-spitting-latte-foam-in-the-air manner with the Starbucks barista. “Starbuck’s barista, don’t tell me any more jokes. Spit. Spit.” Laughing quietly with the librarian. “Ha, ha, You mean you don’t have any books on Pack Mules for Dummies?” Laughing and knee slapping at the amusement of your cats flying in the air across the room and landing on the dining room table and skidding slip and slide style (well I find it amusing.) Anytime you’re laughing with someone, or by yourself, or with your cats–it’s a pleasure. Hahahahahahaha, I’m practicing right now.
Enjoy the simple pleasures of life because the complex pleasures are just too complicated.