The culmination of my Sabbath search for Manhattans in Boston was a slapdash late-night email invitation to a “pre-Thanksgiving thanks giving” the next evening.
The season of fetes and travel is nearly upon us, so why not pre-empt the official capital “T” holiday with a rogue celebration, unburdened by hollow rituals? A giving of thanks before the sanctioned Thanksgiving.
I envisioned a dozen or so guests, an open fire, an experimental deconstruction of a classic holiday main course, small sweet and savory courses to be distributed at strategic times over the course of the evening.
It was all within the scope of my abilities. I’ve done this sort of thing before and so didn’t give the details of the event much thought as RSVPs rolled in over the course of the day.
I got the fire started late, and didn’t finalize the shopping list until I was making the fire. The wood for the fire was still wet from Sandy, so I worried about it sputtering and spitting while I was elbow deep in ground turkey and an unfamiliar spice cabinet (what would make turkey meatballs interesting other than lots of mint?).
In the end, it was all good, perhaps a little bland. People ate and had their fill. The fire eventually blazed. There was always something at hand to nibble. But nothing was extraordinary.
I had given out of my abundance, making a painless and relatively thoughtless offering from the excess of my skills and experience. I neither deployed the full arsenal of my abilities nor pursued with intent and esprit new ones.
No shortcoming might have been noticeable to those who are used to living perfectly nice, bland lives. I’ve grown accustomed to the rich and exotic taste of an extraordinary life, however. A taste which I would argue is more pure and true than the homogenized flavor of mainstream living (I haven’t decided if this is synonymous with “real life” too).
The cost of extraordinary richness of life is becoming apparent to me, however. Having a lot of money, I don’t think, is necessarily a requirement (a good thing, since making money is decidedly not one of my skills). Indeed, too much excess cash can enable shortcuts and sloth.
Intent, curiosity, freedom, joy, fearlessness: These, I think, are the ingredients for extraordinary living. Pushing the limits of skills, resources and knowledge in pursuit of unexpurgated truth.
“For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”