As B & I were running around last Friday, gathering up our supplies for celebrating My Sweetie for Father’s Day, we were commiserating on the challenges surrounding celebrating My Sweetie, since his general idea of a great day involves…well, you’ll see in a minute. She told me I should write it down.
The chi of Saturday is both simple and profound. The flow should not be altered in any way, as alterations muddy the chi and disturb the entire week. In this restriction lies its simplicity and its profundity.
First is the waking, naturally. There shall be no external rousing, merely the opening of eyes. Drowsing is permitted but, frankly, rare. Once awake, one stretches and puts on shorts.
Next is the brewing of coffee, and breakfast. Some Saturdays the air is fresh and the birds are bright, and so it is thought: Pancakes! And there will be pancakes, and bacon, along with coffee. Some Saturdays, there is merely egg. Or yogurt. Or even cereal. But those, too, smooth the chi.
When sitting down for the meal, there is the paper newspaper. And the other newspaper that is subscribed to on the phone. Breakfast, coffee, newspaper. The coffee will flow alongside the newspaper reading until both are finished. Or the morning constitutional may accompany the rest of the newspaper. But thus the initial phase of morning, of the strong flow of Saturday chi, is brought to fullness.
The second phase renews the week: it is the planning of meals. There is review—what has gone before? There is reflection—is there any dish that springs to mind? There is research—what is trending in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle? Thus the arc of the week is developed. For the weekend are dinners that take time or those whose ingredients must be exceptionally fresh, such as seafood bisque (which touches on both things). For the week are some dishes made on the night and some leftovers, in a nearly even balance. There is also the balance of proteins, among fish or seafood, chicken, beef, pork, and vegetable. The menu is then inscribed.
From the menu the shopping list is thereby expanded. The refrigerator and pantry are referenced again, for the details of what is specifically needed. Family is polled for non-dinner requirements: are there sack lunches? Is more hand fruit wanted? Was the salad box completely consumed, and if not, why not? This is the moment for outside requests if they have not been slipped onto the list in advance.
The time is ripe. The shopping bags are gathered. The trip begins. It is now, one feels in one’s core, 9:30am, though the clock displays 11:30am. No matter. The flow of Saturday has been untroubled by distractions. One can therefore swiftly move through the market, gathering vegetables, greeting the fishmonger in his turn, plucking up the eggs, milk, and coffee-cream. At the checkout, cold food is tucked into the cold-bag, temperature-indifferent food into the canvas, and one is neatly packing the refrigerator at home by 1pm.
We did not give this to My Sweetie last Saturday. Instead, at sunrise we dragged him to the other side of town to hike 2.5 miles to a (currently submerged!) waterfall and back to the car. After which we pulled him to a picnic table and fed him gourmet sandwiches, 7-Up, cold salads, and cookies. But we worked on restoring Saturday’s phase two when we got home…and left him to his own devices all day on Sunday. Which comes pretty close, don’t you think?