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  • Perfect sunsets and sunrises are fairly plentiful; the multitudes of pictures on various social media prove that one out. Full moons on starry skies also rank in that file. Perfect moments are harder to come by, and like a good surreal moment or an epiphany of some sort, most of us get a few of those in our lifetime. But, perfect days are the rarest of them all. Even with all of the money in the world, you usually can't plan a perfect day. If you're one of the lucky few born into a family that has the means to have a permanent vacation, it’s possible that it will be even harder to have a perfect day when the bar is already set so high, and it’s nearly impossible for all of the variables to line up and fall into place. This may be one of the reasons wealthy people seem bitchier than the rest of us. All that it takes is one margarita order to come in late, the salt content on the beluga caviar to be too high or the dealer to show up with the blow after the party has already started, and there goes another perfect day down the drain.

    Perfect days and having a good day shouldn’t be confused. There are plenty of good days. For many of us, just having a free day to lounge around and read a book or go to the local café/bar to meet up with old friends is good enough. Perfect days seem to spring up out of nowhere and are usually only recognized as such in retrospect. The one I can think of happened to me at about the age of eleven. My parents had pawned me off to one of their church friends (who had a little horse property in the Jurupa Valley) for a couple of months during the summer. My folks were in their early 30s, were still sexually active (bleh), and I was spastic handful to deal with, so I can’t blame them for wanting to get rid of me from time to time, especially during the summer when school was out. The fact that they didn’t try to sell me off to white slavers in my childhood really shows what patience and compassion they had. The woman put in charge of my care had a daughter of about 13 at the time, and like my parents wanted some alone time as well. So, on a Saturday morning her daughter was given a twenty dollar bill (a fortune for a kid back in the late 1970s) and was told to take me, the neighbor girl who was about my age and basically for all of us to catch the bus and fuck off to the mall for the entire day.

    The 13 year old daughter, like many of the kids on that part of the grid, was a horse girl and a bit of a rough and tumble tom-boy. Later, she would blossom into a full blown, heavy metal, biker bitch and disappear into the dark underbelly of that world, but at that time and for the day in question, she was just a young lady who liked dusty jeans, tattered flannels and her boots covered in horse shit. So, for some of you who think this story is going to go south and me starting to spiel on how I got my dick sucked for the first time in some horse stall in the rural outskirts of the IE, sorry to disappoint you. Besides, the young lady had a 1,000 pound equestrian vibrator to bounce her loins against, rendering any need to give my mushroom cap a mouth hug a moot point. What happened between the three of us was quite innocent, at least at that point in time. In today’s fear filled nanny state, a 13 year girl being put in charge of two 11 year olds and being sent out by bus to a mall fifteen miles away could lead to all of the parents being charged with child endangerment with the CPS putting all of us in foster care. But, it was a different time when kids were given a bit more trust and autonomy. We were the latch-key generation where even two working class parents had to have full time jobs to make a go of it, so we were given a bit more freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. But, I digress.

    The day in question wasn’t anything that hadn’t happened before. Even in the previous years, my friends and I would hit the bus, go downtown to the Central City mall, see a movie (Star Wars over and over again for the whole summer of 1977), get a bite to eat, and steal a bunch of Star Wars action figures from the Sears on our way out of the mall. This “perfect day” was different in just the way it felt. It was a summer day, sunny but not too hot. We started off early in the morning. The pot head of a mom probably had her boyfriend (or now that I think about it her girlfriend) coming over to knock it out a few times, so she wanted to get the most out of a day free from kids. She gave her daughter the twenty spot in front of both me and the neighbor girl and specified that it was to be spent on all of us for bus fare, movies and food; she wasn’t to just spend it on herself or try to be cheap and save as much as she could for some new gear for her horse hobby. With a big pile of communal loot, we all made our way out of the house and down the dirt roads to the main paved road and the bus stop that was about a mile away.

    From the beginning of the walk to the bus, the day had a feel of an adventure, and that’s what partly made it so perfect. We weren’t just taking a short hop to the local mom and pop shop down the road for a loaf of bread and some candy/soda pop/ice cream treats to come back and spend another long day in the middle of nowhere playing, making art, riding horses (shoveling their shit), harvesting sunflowers for seeds, pilfering fruit from local groves, sneaking a listen to Richard Pryor and Cheech and Chong records or watching the handful of broadcast channels on a grainy old TV, including SCTV which played during the day. The three of us were practically skipping down the road and all through the day. And, we were happy . . . and not the kind of forced happiness one finds later in a church or the bottom of a booze bottle. It was the kind of happiness known by children unburdened by the responsibilities of adulthood or even the petty trials and tribulations of adolescence. It was just the three of us completely free in the world at large.

    I can’t remember too many specifics from the day; I don’t even remember what movie we watched, a comedy I’m sure. I don’t think we had one full meal for the day. We just nibbled all day long: candy here and there, popcorn and soda at the theater, and three bags of peanuts from the Peanut King out in front of the Pic & Save on Tyler (yeah, he was out there that far back). I really just remember the energy of being together. Maybe it was the feminine energy of being with two girls and not my usual wolf pack of Berdo miscreants, most of whom would later fall prey to the pitfalls of being raised poor in a blown-out bomb crater like San Bernardino. Me and my boys would surely laugh and play all day, but the laughter was usually at the expense of someone else. There was none of that Lord of the Flies style one-upmanship that day, just me, two girls, laughter, sunshine and freedom, glorious freedom. Even going back to the sticks on the long series of bus rides was filled with laughter and stories of what we had just done that day, getting back to the dirt roads as the sun began to set, going home exhausted from running around all day in the sun to sleep deeply like only a child can.
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