Archive | October, 2010

The Perfect Afternoon

3 Oct

Think of your ideal picnic.  The perfect picnic spot.  That place with the unbelievable weather, the gorgeous foliage, the amazing views, and the plush grass.  Maybe there’s a wicker basket set down somewhere nearby on a blanket.  Maybe there’s an overstuffed bag of food nestled on a bench.  It doesn’t matter.  Just imagine your perfect picnic place.  Have you got it?  I promise you what I have in mind is better.

I know what you’re probably thinking.  “Who is this bitch and what does she know about my perfect idea of a picnic?”  “How the hell does she know if her place is better than mine?”  “Screw her!  What I have in mind is pretty freaking awesome!”  I’m sure it is.  And you’re right, I don’t know a damned thing about your picnic.  I also don’t care to learn anything about it because, you see, I can still promise you, sight unseen, that my picnic locale is better.  I’m not talking about the company with whom you share your picnic.  That’s not a factor in this equation (though I’d put money that my company could rival the best of ’em).  I’m talking location.  And as I said before and I’ll say again, I can promise you that I have experienced the single greatest place on this planet to have a picnic.  Don’t believe me?  Then try asking my good friend Claude.

Claude is a nice plump man sporting a bushy gray beard living out his days in the French countryside.  He’s a pleasant 170 years young, and was nice enough to open up his garden and host Claire and me for an afternoon of brie, prosciutto, baguette, and cookies.  Simple food, simple company, beautiful surroundings.  What more could you ask for?  With the raindrops from that morning glistening upon the leaves and flowers now basking in the midday sunlight that catches a glimpse of itself in the pond and resonates onto the lily pads and Japanese bridge overtop, it was easy to eat in silence and admiration of our surroundings.  Claude’s garden provided us with the perfect escape from mid-Summer Paris and all its hoards of tourists, and the wooden bench perched strategically in the shade under an oversized tree branch welcomed us with open arms to enjoy our snacks amidst such an incredible setting.  With every soft breeze and each shake of a flower pedal, Claude said hello and ensured that we were enjoying ourselves.  With each new ray of sunshine breaking through the trees he asked, “is there anything else you girls need?”  Claude was a great host, wanting his garden to be the best it could be, and wanting us to realize its beauty as much as he always did.

Maybe you still think your place for a picnic is better.  Maybe you’d like to compare notes, pictures, recipes.  To that I say this: Recipes?  Better a simple baguette with even simpler ingredients than a complex basket of dishes.  The perfect picnic should be effortless, not slaved over.  You’re there to enjoy the moment, not worry if the food is perfect or if you have enough, or how you’re going to transport it.  Notes?  To each her own.  Pictures?  Here’s where I’ve got you beat.  Hands down, no competition.  Think your spot is prettier than mine, more photogenic?  Walk into the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie, or pretty much any other art museum for that matter.  Or go to Google.  Type in Giverny, France.  Or better yet, “Monet”.  See what comes up.  You’ll find my picnic site, also the garden of my good friend Claude, who might be better known to you as Claude Monet, French Impressionist.  Those lily pads?  That Japanese bridge?  Those flowers so beautiful you don’t think they could ever actually exist?  Yep.  That’s my picnic spot.  Still care to argue?

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