A Vision of Paradise

This morning all the news networks finally gave up and declared there was NO REASON TO BE AFRAID, providing helpful lists of places to spend this beautiful day, places where you might best enjoy the company of others, which is, after all, as the editors pointed out in various asides and letters in their own respective styles, what life is really about. And though in the comments sections the politicians scrambled to claim responsibility, nobody read their words: the sky was too blue and the air was too clear to stare at a screen. The streets were full of smiling faces, people actually danced down the sidewalks, passing off random partners every block, businessmen in suits swung construction workers wildly, hardhats and briefcases flying, and miniskirted women dipped rabbis at the corners, everyone’s footwork was impeccable, and the children found, somewhere, hoops to roll along the lanes with sticks, laughing. The faithful prayed outdoors in the parks, facing each other, backs to the monuments. In a parking lot a religious extremist and his indoctrinated family demonstrated the extremity of their views by feeding hundreds from a charcoal pit they’d made from the shell of their luxury SUV, demanding that everyone at least try a little kofta as they walked by, even if they’d just eaten. They were militantly opposed by an army of mobile barbecue grills and overpowered propane burners and vast trays of macaroni and cheese, operated by an infantry of thick-necked men sharing their beers and spoon-wielding grandmothers in grease-stained aprons. There were plenty of public restrooms. Vigilante groups spontaneously formed in the inner cities and went house to house introducing themselves with cheesy but clever knock-knock jokes, pointing the way to the all the happenings, lest someone feel they’d been forgotten. Bus rides were free, the cars were packed with laughing strangers heading off on their own fluid adventures, and the police directed traffic in song. The cash registers were silent (not that anybody noticed): it seemed everyone had enough of what they needed and were making sure everyone else did too. The day was long and bright and by dusk its name and rank in the week had been forgotten, and as conversations drifted above the rustling of curious fauna, between the warm houses, and among the lilting birdsong, as the sky darkened to night and the streetlights burst into rainbows, the children fell asleep exhausted wherever they lay, dreaming of another tomorrow, just like today.

The Restless Lens @restlesslens