Friday, June 1, 2012

Unchaperoned (The Royal Amazing)

Once again, I've been meaning to blog, but the weather has been too wonderful and I've been having way too much fun to collect my thoughts and write them down.

I have a friend who once came to visit me and as we arranged our day's activities, we suddenly realized we were living like unchaperoned five-year-olds.

We ate cake for breakfast one morning, then pancakes with butter and extra syrup (so basically, cake with butter and syrup), the next.  We went for bike rides, then we went to the beach.  We found awesome seashells.  Then we needed a nap and some quiet time before we went out for pizza.  After that, we got ice cream and stayed up way past our bedtime.

We have a catch-phrase for this kind of living: "the Royal Amazing."

We adopted the term because she and I used to eat at this really great vegetarian restaurant named "The Sunflower House" where the entrees had odd names.  They were listed on the menu in Chinese as well as in English, so we assumed the English was a direct translation.

Since she and I are both language-geeks (but because neither of us knows Chinese) (yet), we often wondered what the names were in the original.  Because translated into English, they were a bit bizarre.  Half the fun of going to the restaurant was reading the lengthy menu for its curious linguistic mingling of the poetic and the mundane.

Case in point: she used to order "The Imperial Wheat Gluten" and I would always get "The Royal Amazing."  We never knew what exactly was in "the Royal Amazing," but I did love it and it was good.

When my dad was dying and I was away in New York, she and I would promise each other that when I got back, we would go out for "some Royal Amazing."  When I returned to New Jersey, we made a plan, met at the restaurant and... it was closed.

In our absence, it had gone out of business.

This pretty much summed up how we felt about the trajectories of our lives at the time.  Her mom had died three months before my dad did, and I recall standing in front of the plate-glass window of "The Sunflower House" and incoherently babbling about how "This is what happens, you have the Royal Amazing in your life and you count on it and then one day, for no reason, it's gone, it's just gone, it's gone and there's no reason for it, and it's never coming back and there's nothing you can do, there's just nothing."

I didn't even know what was in the frickin' Royal Amazing, so I couldn't replicate it myself.  As I told her (admittedly on the verge of tears), "I can't just Google the 'Royal Amazing' and get a recipe.  Nothing's CALLED that.  I think it was just tofu with sweet and sour sauce, but I don't KNOW, and there was something about it that made it good and now I'll never know and I can never have it again."

I wept bitter tears that night. 

Thus began our quest to reinvent (or rediscover) the Royal Amazing.  Two years later, I rented a house on Greenwich Bay in RI and when she arrived, my friend christened the house "the Royal Amazing."  We now apply the phrase to any activities or events that are, well, "Royally Amazing."

The capital letters are intentional, by the way.  Sometimes--rarely, but sometimes-- orthography can capture the very essence of a concept, and this is the case with the Royal Amazing. 

Over time, we've come to use the phrase adjectivally as well.  We typically hesitate to apply it to people unless we've known them for at least a decade, because let's face it, new friends and boyfriends are always a crap-shoot and we've both been betrayed too often to feel comfortable proclaiming just anyone "Royally Amazing."

But life, attentively lived, can have moments of the Royal Amazing.  You have to plan for them, sometimes, and sometimes they just spontaneously emerge.  The trick is to know the Royal Amazing when you see or experience it, because otherwise, it will pass you by.  It's not something that can be explained--it can only be experienced.

So that is my week in review: I've been having the Royal Amazing and living like an unchaperoned five-year-old.

And I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."