Love and Be Loved, Baby

Happiness is.

As administrative interns, one of our jobs is to order company clothing. The process includes seeing what kind of clothing interests people: fleece, jackets, hooded sweatshirts, etc. Next step: deciding what logo to put on it, and where. If we want a saying, what saying? What should we use to unify and represent us? This year, someone suggested a saying that the founders painted on the original playhouse. The company  saved and remounted it on the new theater. It reads, “Love and Be Loved.”

Yesterday I read this article in The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html?src=me&ref=business

While enlightening, I found myself thinking, “But of course!” throughout much of it. The article speaks of the economic downturn and the way we spend money as a result of it, and how it’s possibly a lasting trend that ultimately will make people happier. The essence of it is anticipation. Waiting for something makes it sweeter when it actually arrives. In a world where we want it now and we’re led to believe we should have instant gratification, it’s no wonder happiness slips away. We’ve got credit cards and internet to make purchasing faster and easier. We don’t necessarily have to save up and make a special trip to get what we want. There’s someone who will bring it right to our door. These things lessen satisfaction from getting something new, and shorten the amount of time that the satisfaction lasts.

In addition, the article states that a person achieves more contentment from purchases associated with an experience than those that are simply about material goods. This makes sense. The purchase of a vacation lasts longer. You save up, thinking about the vacation. You buy the ticket in advance, drawing out the excitement even more. Afterward, you have pictures and memories to look back on and enjoy.

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On Monday evening we went to the evenings in Ephraim concert series. We went with friends Angela and Ryan, and we brought an extensive picnic. We purchased wine and crackers, they brought frozen fruit for white wine spritzers, smoked salmon, smoked provolone and herb cheese spread. We agonized momentarily over the wine. Ephraim is a dry town. We looked around to see if anyone else was drinking. No one. Could we be arrested? I couldn’t imagine it. We uncorked the wine. Fresh frozen strawberries and blueberries were plopped into each wine glass, followed by a dash of spritzer and Pinot Grigio. The glasses sparkled in the sunlight.

The music itself, performed by a group that wittily named themselves, “The Gazebo Guys,”  (they were playing in a gazebo), was simply awful. The lead singer was off-key the entire time. Correction: he only sang in one key. It never changed, and was therefore off. Also, he periodically played a kazoo. At one point, he used an instrument, named a sink-o-phone, to amplify the awful sounding kazoo. It was unreal. At first, I was unsure if I was the only one who noticed. There was a decent sized crowd gathered, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Finally, Angela turned toward me, a sly smile on her face, “I don’t think he’s sung a single note on key.”

I laughed with relief that someone else had noticed, and suddenly we were all laughing, stealing glances at each other, laughing more, sipping wine. Let it be said that it was a gorgeous evening, the perfect temperature, and the salmon, crackers and cheese made for a divine feast.

Just as the concert was wrapping up, Mr. Off-Key announced that he’d be singing an original work, written as a 20’s style love song about long distance relationships.

That was our breaking point.

We packed up rapidly and made our way towards Wilson’s, where we stood expectantly in front of a board with too many tantalizing options. I settled on Monkey Business; a banana flavored ice cream with pieces of chocolate and chocolate covered peanuts as well as Bunny Tracks, which featured peanut butter cups. Colin got two enormous scoops of something chocolate and caramel in a waffle cone. We ambled out along the twinkling Ephraim shoreline and found a bench.

Now that’s money well spent.

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In a land where people come to vacation and spend money, there are plenty of things to do that don’t involve your pocket book.

Wednesday night we opened Comic Potential, and bar night followed the performance. Eileen and I sighed deeply sipping our Liquid Airconditioners (specialty of Pen Players bar). The next morning, feeling a little fuzzy-headed, we made ourselves egg, sausage and cheddar sandwiches and sipped strong coffee. We strolled outside and seated ourselves on the date bench, pondering what to do with our day off…

We decided on a bike ride to Baileys Harbor, a visit to Toft’s Point, possibly swimming and some lunch. Our journey started with the Pen Players hill, which, if you are unfamiliar,  is epically huge. We huffed and puffed our way to the top, teetering as our bikes neared 0 miles per hour. Then we meandered across the county, watching the little yellow butterflies flit past our field of vision.

We had deep conversations.

Eileen said, “I have this Journey song in my head…When the lights, go down, in the city…why do I have it in my head? I haven’t heard it recently. Why do I know all the lyrics to Journey, but I can’t remember a thing after taking four years of German?”

I pondered that and thought vaguely about a vivid dream I’d had involving black licorice.

We coasted into Baileys Harbor and decided to venture down County Q – memory lane, for me. I pointed things out to Eileen and she nodded obligingly. See that thimbleberry bush? My sister and I used to stop and gnosh on thimleberries right there. See that fence post? And so on. Back in town, we visited the beach and braved the waters. A cool wind whipped up but Eileen insisted we’d be happier with a swim. She dove under and surfaced proclaiming how refreshed she felt. I had no choice but to follow suit. We waded back to shore where our lady friends from the Players waited with blankets and magazines in tow. Kat read us advice on how to be happy from a magazine called, “Simple Living.” Tips included listening to Michael Jackson songs, breaking out in spontaneous dance and getting up early to drink more water…

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Now, just in time for some breezy evenings, our  jackets have arrived. Wearing mine, I do feel loved A lot of effort and anticipation went into the jackets, but it’s certainly paid off. You don’t only need to spend money on a occassion or a vacation. Material goods have their time and place – and this one’s loaded with its own remembrances already.

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~ by bjordt on August 25, 2010.

2 Responses to “Love and Be Loved, Baby”

  1. sounds like a memorable summer. glad you’re capturing it so well.

  2. You forgot to mention the spot-on shanty song the band played for you!

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