It’s the little things. Our horizons as a species may be ever-vaster but our basic unit of happiness – the present moment – remains the same. (cf: Twitter)
I’m trying to read more French literature, and have been dipping into Philippe Delerm. Delerm specialises in writing about the little things, in micro-essays or prose poems about his favourite meals or his favourite authors (many of whom are British). I found him quoting Alain de Botton:
No one seems to think it remarkable that somewhere above an ocean we are flying past a vast white candy-floss islands that would have made a perfect seat for an angel or even God himself in a painting by Piero della Francesca… Food that, if eaten in a kitchen, would have been banal or offensive, acquires a new taste in the presence of the clouds. With the in-flight tray, we make ourselves at home in an unhomely place: we appropriate the extraterrestrial skyscape with the help of a chilled bread roll and a plastic tray of potato salad.
I was reminded of Slim Gaillard’s unhinged version of How High The Moon. Gaillard abandons the standard’s hackneyed lyrics to go on an improvised voyage of discovery in his own surreal solar system:
The sun, the stars, Pluto, Jupiter, Mars, all the planets
What they gonna do when the planets all meet together and say ‘Hello there! How are you?’
Bingo! Explosion! That’s really gonna really have a wailing time
When they have those Sunday afternoon jam sessions they have five hundred and eighty two million three hundred and twenty two billion saxophones all wailing at one time
Oh, let’s be real crazy, really really wow-ty!
Say, do you know what they have on the moon? Listen now
They raise potatoes, tomatoes, potatoes and tomatoes, potatoes
Potatoes the size of the Hollywood Bowl
How do they peel them? They peel them with a bulldozer!
Oh, just imagine a nice big bowl of potato salad…
That about sums it up, no?