MetaTalktail Hour: Oh, Just a Perfect Day November 30, 2019 7:19 AM   Subscribe

For this Euro-shifted MetaTalktail Hour, paduasoy asks "Hi all! I was asked at a job interview to describe my perfect day. Wondering what other people's perfect days would be. (I didn't get the job!)"
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 7:19 AM (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I wake up around 8am having had a long and restful sleep. My kids are awake, dressed themselves, and are playing quietly.

My older daughter and I go for a long walk in the woods. It's early winter, but there's only a thin layer of hard snow on the ground. It's about 30 degrees, windless, quiet. There are no hunters and no sound of cars driving by in the distance. The stream is just about frozen, and there are a few hardy ferns still peeking out of the snow.

After lunch I make myself a large mug of green tea and sit down with a good book. My kids miraculously play nicely the whole afternoon. The phone doesn't ring. My wife also gets to read all afternoon.

Everyone enjoys dinner and nobody uses the word "disgusting". I read a few chapters of a book to the kids, then they go to sleep.

Miraculously there are two other people who don't need to watch their kids and they come over. We all play Azul and drink tasty alcoholic beverages until it's time for bed.
posted by selfnoise at 9:41 AM on November 30, 2019 [8 favorites]

My perfect day would start by waking up to daylight, without an alarm, and with a decent level of energy. I'd drink coffee in bed with my husband while chatting about whatever popped into our minds - until we were both ready to get up and going.

Then I'd get a few tasks or errands done (so as to give myself a smug sense of accomplishment) and I'd spend the rest of the day doing whatever seemed like a good idea to me at the time - drinking some blueberry bubble tea, or reading a book, or taking a nap, or taking care of my plants, or going for a drive on the highway, or watching a documentary.. so many possibilities! I would definitely eat something I was craving, chat with friends (either online or in person, both are good) and eventually crawl into bed at whatever time I felt tired, even if it was 7pm.

Honestly, my favourite days are the ones where I don't have a schedule - it feels SO GOOD to not be up against someone else's expectations.

(I'm sorry you didn't get the job.)
posted by VioletU at 9:42 AM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't usually do these but it's grey and about to rain for a week solid here so I think the fantasy would do me good.

Wake up at 9 or 10. Mexican brunch with old friends after a while of hanging out in blankets with cats. I'm in Austin and there is a different president. There's a new Wes Anderson in theaters. It's probably October because that's when the weather in Austin is nicest. After the movie I have gin and tonics on my friend's porch as we listen to records of long-dead opera singers. There's probably cake in there somewhere. I go to bed at 1 or whenever I feel like it.
posted by less of course at 10:33 AM on November 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

Funny thing is, I don't think I know. I'm pushing middle age, and I may not yet understand what makes a perfect day. I can think of days that felt perfect to me: the day I traveled to Key West in winter and walked down the street to the sea and drank a beer; the day I make Christmas cookies every year; days I spent in love.

But I don't know that I could plan a perfect day. I've learned that the things I say I like best in life don't always make me happy, truly happy. And the things that are hard to do often make themselves much easier than I thought, or even provide a kind of exultation. (Do I want to run errands on foot in a snowstorm? I do not, but when I do it, I feel whole and invincible.) I think, for me, a perfect day has to unfold by itself, has to offer me some kind of a revelation, even if it is a very small one.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:50 AM on November 30, 2019 [19 favorites]

Skiing with the kids? Gardening? Hiking in Montana? Nah, I’m going to go bigger than that. Way bigger.

One fine day in October I’m out in the woods with my dog when I spot a roughly door-sized patch of something different over there among the trees. I walk closer. I can see through it to another place – a greener time of year in a beautiful Montana-like landscape of prairie, hills and mountains. The dog dashes through into the other place, runs around happily and comes back out unharmed. Then she runs in there again and disappears among some bushes. I follow her and walk around admiring the place. A fox-sized creature flies over – not bird, bat or flying reptile. Something like a lizard with fur scurries away into the vegetation. I climb a nearby hill to get a better view. Far away below me in a river valley I can see what appear to be clustered buildings.

Suddenly I hear voices behind me. I turn and see two people hurriedly walking along at the bottom of the hill, headed toward the doorway. Their skin color and proportions tell me they’re not from Earth. One of them spots me and they stop. They start communicating with me – not out loud and not in words, but in images, impressions and understanding that somehow appear in my mind. They let me know that this is another planet, far from my own. They assure me that they’re friendly and that there is no danger. The gate was left open and visible by mistake, but now that I’m here they’ll explain everything to me. Their civilization is more advanced than Earth’s. They don’t have faster-than-light-speed travel (though their scientists think it may be possible) but they’re in a part of the universe where quite a few stars with quite a few inhabitable planets are near each other. And they’ve found a few wormholes that connect spots on their worlds to other parts of the universe.

They’ve decided not to interfere with the lives of people on Earth – until they’re over. Once we die, they use their technology to transport us off Earth, revive and rejuvenate us (leaving behind identical copies of the dead bodies when necessary.) They can give us a few more centuries of life at least and they’re working on new methods that might provide more than that. After I “die” I’ll be able to travel to all the worlds they know, go through the wormholes if I want, and learn everything they know that’s new to me. When they send me back through the gate today they’re going to let me keep my memories of this encounter, but they’ll implant a strong inhibition that will keep me from telling anyone else about it, or even wanting to.

I beg to be allowed to bring my husband and kids here, knowing it’s the best, most life-changing gift I could ever give them. And the aliens agree! I call them up, tell them I have an amazing surprise, they hike into the woods and meet me, I usher them through the gate and we have a glorious day. We go to the nearby town – a pretty place full of gardens and terraces – where we meet people from several planets, including Earth. One man tells me that he lived on Earth during prehistoric times but was revived and brought here only about 100 years ago. Apparently the wormhole allows travel through time as well as space. We eat some wonderful food – a fruit that’s about 30% better than the best peach ever, some spicy stuff that reminds me of Thai or Mexican. We use cross-country rollerblades that allow you to roll smoothly (or maybe hover) through grasslands and forests, with a force field that protects you when you fall. We use some device that lets you fly under your own power. We talk to people, which is fascinating. By the time I leave, I’ve heard hundreds of tantalizing new bits of information and I have hundreds of questions that will be left unanswered until I “die.” My family and I go back through the doorway, which then disappears. And we live happily ever after.
posted by Redstart at 11:46 AM on November 30, 2019 [9 favorites]

I go to sleep Thursday night and when I wake up it's Saturday.
posted by ardgedee at 1:27 PM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Any day at the beach is pretty close to perfect for me.
posted by COD at 1:49 PM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

One of my favorite job interview questions is asking “What was your best day at work at any past job?” It is always interesting, makes the interview happier, and usually says a great deal about the interviewee.

It’s hard to describe a perfect day. I always thought the bit in Harry Potter about the Felix Felicis potion nailed it—there are some days when you feel like everything you do turns out delightfully, and in ways you could never expect, like you can’t possibly put a foot wrong. I’ve only had a couple days like this, but when they were happening, I could just feel it somehow.
posted by sallybrown at 1:59 PM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

paduasoy asks "... (I didn't get the job!)"

Just registering my opinion that that is absolute bollocks of the highest order! What a worthless interview question! Obviously I don't know the finer details but so far as I'm concerned you have absolutely dodged a bullet there.

Not sure how I'd describe my perfect day, in that situation I'd certainly like to go full Eff You and just quote Lou Reed at the buggers.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 2:03 PM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ooh, my question! Thanks for posting it.

My answer was something like, spend the day in a library (I was thinking of this one) researching something, come home and tell someone about what I'd found, and also cake (cake had been a bit of a theme of the informal part of the interview). The job wouldn't have been a good fit for me (it was doing data-related work on profiling university alumni for fundraising) but I'm still baffled about what they wanted to get from the question, especially as university job interviews usually use a scoring system for answers. I also had to write an essay about Richard Branson, which was painful. Thank you to VioletU for the sympathy, and to I'm always feeling, Blue, for the vociferous language, which amused.

I don't think I'd change my answer much, except to add in time with my cats, time crafting, time outside, and specify a cold, dry winter day.

Really interested to hear other answers.
posted by paduasoy at 2:30 PM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

I also had to write an essay about Richard Branson

posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 2:34 PM on November 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

I might be in the middle of it now. I slept in late, went for a hike on a sparkling snowy day with a girlfriend and our happy dogs, had lunch and an Irish coffee, took a nap, and pretty soon now am going out to what should be a fun party. Also I had delicious leftovers to eat all day, and my house is nice and clean.

Pretty much all the happiest hours of my life have been spent getting good and tired in the company of my dogs, especially when running free in the woods or on the beach, and then coming home for something nice to eat, a little half-glass of wine or equivalent, and a nap. I can think of so many times when I felt blissfully happy after that sequence but before this question I don't know that I saw the pattern quite as clearly.

(Also, in my mind the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving, and right on time this year it snowed! Really nice snow, too. I love it!)
posted by HotToddy at 2:56 PM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Waking up before 8am to make it to the gym at a decent time. Coming home from a good workout to make myself a semi-fancy breakfast. Spending the rest of the day with a stack of new library books, some popcorn and a sleepy kitten. No schedules, no boring errands. Just some snacks and a good novel. Maybe a nap.
posted by janepanic at 3:24 PM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Checking in from set break at night two of Phish in Providence. Two perfect days.

I’ll see myself out. Damn hippie.
posted by bondcliff at 6:41 PM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

A perfect day can happen in a variety of locations and contexts but the common denominator is that no one asks me for anything and I do not need to make any decisions more important than "white or red?" My job is client service and decision-making all damn day every day and I also have a seven year old who never ever ever stops talking. That's why I take short solo vacations once or twice a year. I have had some pretty perfect days during these times.

Also I need a Nordic style spa for true perfection to be reached. This is important.

So, I think a perfect day would be waking up in a beautiful city that I have traveled to (the day before, because air travel is highly imperfect). A breakfast of whatever delight the region I am in specializes in. Then most of the day spent walking walking walking, just miles of walking so that I see every little alley, every grand building, every neighborhood, just all of it. Miles of walking. I stop and have tea and my legs and feet are aching, my cheeks are chapped from being outside (it's late winter or early spring, you see, because that's when I always travel--everything is cheaper and less crowded), I'm bone tired and so happy to be wherever I am. I go back to my hotel and fetch my swimsuit and head to a spa around 5pm. I spend the next three hours in silence, soaking, baking, relaxing and steaming until I feel like a whole new person. I shower, put on some nice clothes and go to dinner somewhere with a fireplace and a good vegetarian food. I take a book and read between courses. After dinner, I have a dessert wine at the bar with maybe some cheese or little chocolate something. I walk slowly back to my hotel, taking in how different the city looks by moonlight. I go to bed with plans to do the very same thing again the next day. (This is quite like a trip I had to Montreal last spring actually, which is why I'm going back this spring with my husband for our 20th anniversary.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:57 PM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Perfect day, gosh. Is this a perfect day at home or travelling?

At home:
Start with a good sleep, have a long run, get a massage from the good thai place that's really firm, take the kids to the park and play some board games with them after. It's cold and rainy weather. Finish with some ramen and a cat on my chest.

Travelling: It's gotta be safari. Up early (pre-dawn) to go down to the hide at the waterhole, followed up with a quick snack and then a few hours' game drive. Leisurely lunch followed by some reading and photographing monkeys and other small animals round camp. Pre sunset off for another game drive coming into dusk, hopefully see a leopard. Back for a "sundowner" beer, watching rhinos or elephants coming into the waterhole. Some light chit chat at dinner, review the day's photos, and then off for an early bed time. Those days really are amazing.
posted by smoke at 9:07 PM on November 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I once got asked what my favorite plant was while interviewing for a gardening job. I had a heck of a time trying to answer the question and then spent the next couple of weeks asking other gardeners what their favorite plants were and none of us could answer the question.
posted by sciencegeek at 10:54 PM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm stealing Redstart's, but if I absolutely have to have my own, I would like for just one day to be able to spend it totally by myself without any feelings of guilt or responsibility.

Like wake up early, go running without feeling guilty for leaving my wife to wrestle the kids. Big breakfast after that I can enjoy without the kids constantly touching me and asking for help eating and... Well basically I would like a kid free day. With three of them (7, 5 and 3 years old) and no family anywhere nearby it seems so vanishingly unlikely that it will happen for like another ten years that it actually pains me to even imagine it. :( I realize this was a happy question, but it ended up bumming me out.
posted by Literaryhero at 11:45 PM on November 30, 2019

Perfect day has to involve winning several million pounds in the lottery. Ideally on a ticket found on the ground - I'm not about to start paying to play the lottery. Why settle for merely a good day where you have a good time when you could have a day so good that the entire rest of your life becomes better?
posted by Dysk at 1:28 AM on December 1, 2019

(And while we're at it, world peace following spontaneous bloodless revolutions everywhere would be great. Would even obviate the need for the unlikely lottery win as it would involve moving to a non-monetary system of distribution rather than the capitalist hellscape we have now.

You asked for the perfect day. If the world is anything other than utopia from the end of the day and forever now, the day could've been better, and was thus not perfect.)
posted by Dysk at 1:32 AM on December 1, 2019

I just want to share this bit of amazing: The narwhal tusk has a wondrous and mystical history. A new chapter was added on London Bridge. [The Washington Post]
“For centuries Europeans sought out the “unicorn horn” — the long and straight tusk of the arctic-dwelling narwhal whale — for its perceived magical and curative capabilities.

On Friday, the tusk did indeed wield a historic force, just not in the way the queens and kings who once collected the twisted and tapered ivory likely imagined.

Instead, as the deadly knife attack unfolded on the London Bridge, a man, described in news reports as a Polish chef, grabbed the nearest arms he could find for self-defense — a narwhal tusk — and headed to help stop the melee.

The simple, heroic act in a way embodied the ancient lore of the larger-than-life tusk.”
This is kind of an amazing thing to have happened. It's so surreal. A little bit of awesome in the middle of a whole lot of terrible.
posted by Fizz at 6:49 AM on December 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

Reading and writing in the garden on a sunny day. No electronics or motors anywhere near me.
posted by pracowity at 9:04 AM on December 1, 2019

Dream would be a beautiful autumn day at a cabin in northern Ontario with my kids and hubby, parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews all enjoying a lazy day and then cooking up a storm. all our dogs would be there too. Alternately my family and parents in September at a cabin in the Scottish highlands with as many of our relatives and their dogs as could join (we are pretty much the only people in Canada from my side of the family).

in my reality any day that I am productive at work and get home to enjoy dinner with my family and cuddle with the cats and dog is pretty damn perfect.
posted by biggreenplant at 2:29 PM on December 1, 2019

A perfect Saturday with my BF would be something like we did all last winter:

Get up by 4:30. Load hiking gear into the car and be off by 5. Drive north to the Catskills. Pick up coffee and egg sandwiches at a cafe on Route 28. Be at the trailhead around 8-8:30. Stumble around in the snow and ice for a few hours and cross off one or two mountains from our Winter 35 list. Be back in the car by dusk. Order a whole plain pizza in Phoenicia and eat it in the car while driving home. Pick up additional snacks (Coke, M&Ms, Bugles) before getting on the Thruway. Make it home around 8 and hopefully the parking gods smile on us and we get a spot near the building. Feed the kitties and collapse in bed.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:21 PM on December 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have just finished walking my dog, taken a hot shower, eaten breakfast, and am on my second cup of coffee when a whirlwind whips through the living room. I lay my laptop gingerly on the on the ground beside me. Portia (my lovely dog) races over and we hug each a figure and a four-seater chariot shimmer into view. Finally, the figure and her chariot stand clearly on the stretch of carpet between the coffee table and the TV.

The figure is an older version of me! And she’s here to give me a time machine. I can go to any time, anywhere, and also will be protected by an otherwise imperceptible mobile forcefield (as will Portia and any of our fellow travelers).

Portia and I travel to the dawn of time to watch the Big Bang. We travel to the age of the dinosaurs. We watch the first prehistoric artists in France caves. We drink absinthe and shoot the shit in fin de siècle Paris. Oh wow, we could go on to taste moments in so many perfect days...

We travel to the future when animal/human communication tools are unimaginably advanced so that Portia and I can talk to each other fluently and make an even better team. We have long debates about how much we’re able to change the future for the better and start engaging in more and more ambitious tweaks. Of course we visit all our loved ones at various times of their (and our) lives.

When we get tired, we go back to the night before we were given the time machine, so that we can get a good night’s rest, a morning walk, a hot shower, breakfast, and a couple cups of coffee — before our next adventure.

The most perfect days that I’ve already had have been: wondering around a busy place where I’ve never been (a city, a festival, an isolated town in a strange country), going on a fascinating tour or two, curling up with a book in the afternoon, writing a bit, chatting outside with people I care about and eating snacks as dusk falls, catching a ballet or opera after dinner, having a martini during intermission and making very pretentious judgements about the show, then sitting around in the breezy evening maybe not entirely sober and talking the night away with brilliant people who I love.

I guess a perfect day would ideally involve making the world a better place or at least accomplishing some life goals or something but...that sort of seems like saying graduation day is your favorite day of high school. It only matters because it’s the culmination of a lot of other actions and decisions and experiences. So it’s value is mostly symbolic and isn’t really perfect in and of itself?
posted by rue72 at 9:05 PM on December 1, 2019

This isn't a perfect day of any sort whatsoever, but it is a "the perfect day for _________" where the blank is showing my 1st year high school students All Summer in a Day. They struggled through the story (sort of a low intermediate EFL class) this term, and it's the last day before final exams. The perfect part is that the weather outside is utterly and totally miserable, just a constant downpour under gray skies, the sort of weather that makes you forget the sun even exists, even if yesterday was a pleasant, clear day.

It's interesting revisiting the short film. I mean, they did a pretty solid job of trying to pad out the story, and they did it without adding too much, but lord, that soundtrack is insipid, and while we should be nice to kids, the acting is so wooden, you'd expect the children to sprout leaves when the sun comes out. I wonder if the general sense of nostalgia I've got for it has more to do with getting out of whatever the teacher would normally be teaching us while we watched the movie than the movie itself.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:00 PM on December 1, 2019

I don't know about perfect, but yesterday was a good model - woke up having set no alarm with my cat by my side, iced americano, hot shower, fresh air, band practice, went to see a person I love who's not in my band play music at a theatre event thing, questionably accidentally had a sorta lip instead of cheek kiss.

Better food and the presence of a few other friends and it'd be a contender.
posted by wellred at 6:49 AM on December 2, 2019

I wake up after having slept well. My body feels great. I ride my bike to the train, and go into the city. There are lots of bookstores and purchases of books in this fantasy. I then write a really great blog post that gets a lot of love. Later I eat at a good taco truck, return home, and play some board games with family and friends. We have a great time and maybe have a little party food. At some point in the evening I get emails from everyone I have ever known, expressing their forgiveness for every petty thing I have ever done, and expressing their love. I read for two hours before bed, then drift into a sleep so deep that nobody can wake me.
posted by mecran01 at 6:09 PM on December 4, 2019

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