Team Pleasant

10 February 2017 Lorin Clarke

Team Pleasant

We can’t organise the pier. Or the ice-cream. But here are some Things That Are Not Unpleasant.
A hot meal on a cold night after a big day is not unpleasant.

Standing outside on a dark, quiet, clear night, with a view of the stars is not unpleasant.
It is not unpleasant to stand, or sit, with your eyes closed, while live music, played by real people with fast fingers and focused minds, rises through your chest as though your body is playing along without you knowing how.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, making a new friend is lovely.

Mozart’s clarinet concerto isn’t awful.

Pelicans exist.

A really good stretch is not just pleasant, it can completely transform an afternoon.

It is not unpleasant to witness something – a certain type of bird or a YouTube video or a man on a bicycle singing opera or a well-told joke at work – and to know, immediately, the exact person you are going to tell about it, and to realise that your anticipation of their response is making you smile.

There are always, however bad things might seem, smart people quietly working hard to make things better.

You know what’s not unpleasant? Real, fun, mail.
It’s not unpleasant when you see something out of the corner of your eye and realise it is a tiny aeroplane, high up in the sky, cutting through the blue and you realise that right at that second, while you are doing whatever it is you’re doing – putting out the washing, buying a sandwich, stressing about a bill or a text or an argument – there are hundreds of strangers in that tiny little aeroplane sitting together while they wait to be somewhere else. And you hadn’t been thinking about them but now you are, and tomorrow who knows where they’ll be?

Bubbly water with ice blocks in it is really just water plus some science, but it feels kind of sparkly.
It’s not unpleasant when you’re in a crowded place – an office or public transport or something – and you realise a loved one has just privately surprised you with something. They’ve snuck some chocolate in your bag, or written a note or texted you something amazing…and you find yourself instinctively looking up, as though such a momentous occurrence cannot possibly be invisible to everybody else.

Seawater is pleasant. For toes. For sinuses. For looking at while having a cup of tea.

An evening walk is rarely unpleasant. A nice little bridge into the night time.

It’s not unpleasant to be in a country town on a day when the volunteer firefighters get a call-out. To witness the cars pulling in one-by-one, someone slipping quickly out of each of them, this one eating a piece of toast, that one in paint-covered clothes, everyone interrupted, swiftly clambering into their uniforms in a truck that is gone now, quickly and efficiently, down the road and in the direction of whatever the emergency. Wait a minute and the next few will arrive, do the same, take out the next truck, hopefully to return with just a false alarm and an update from Dave about the progress on the decking.
Maybe you are on the wrong team. Maybe you’re a terrible person. Maybe everybody is shouting at each other and the sound is white noise. You may as well tune it out. Go for an evening walk. Have a glass of science. Send somebody something lovely in the mail.

This has been a public service announcement.

by Lorin Clarke

This article was first publised in Ed#530 of The Big Issue.

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