Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nothing I Like More

There's nothing I like more than sitting outside on a blanket, in a sun-dappled spot of grass, gossiping with some girlfriends or cuddling with my boyfriend.

There's nothing I like more than looking at beautiful things. I love magazines with luscious photospreads, cookbooks art-directed to within an inch of their lives, books with beautiful covers, clothes made with strange structures and odd angles, concert posters that evoke the essence of the show at which they were purchased, walls that hum with paint and wallpaper, and little tchotckes that can magically transport me back to a favourite memory.

There's nothing I like more than delicious food. The kind of restaurants that look like nothing special on the outside—their plates are made of melanine and their floors are covered in linoleum—but they reveal themselves to have the perfect jap chae, or the most perfectly spiced burrito. I like going to places a few notches up on the fanciness scale, too, where the waitstaff will fill up your water glasses and there's a prix fixe menu offering things like smoked salmon or cheesecake: the kind of thing that's fine when I do it, but transcendent in the hands of an expert. And there's the food we cook at home, too; all the dishes that we've perfected for our busy workday nights, and our lazy Saturday mornings, and for when people come over for board games, and for when it's just the two of us and we decide, hey, why not cook up some really interesting?

There's nothing I like more than running around with my friends. All the birthday karaoke, all the Korean lunch dates, all the coffees in Kensington market, all the trips to the various dim sum restaurants, lemonade stands, roti joints, brunch spots—not to mention everyone's porches, rooftop pools, kitchens, back yards, cottages, parents' houses, and fire escapes—all of them filled with stupid gossip, inside jokes, tearful secrets, half-drunk singalongs, advice, and updates, and all of that filled with the kind of comfort and respect that can only come from happy friendships.

There's nothing I like more than writing. I think about the stories I want to tell all the freaking time: I plot essays on my bike commute, daydream about my blog posts, and go on imaginary talk-show interviews in the shower so I can refine my novel ideas. Writing makes me feel sane. Writing makes me feel like my lungs are bigger, that I can breathe more.

There's nothing I like more than organizing stuff. It sounds trite, but the power of a well-organized spreadsheet can't really be undersold. I like having information at my fingertips, having a good filing system, throwing away old and unnecessary stuff (can I interest anyone in a Staples catalog from 2011?), and making everything feel clean and fresh and accessible. It's a total left brain/right brain thing, but working out a thorny data-management problem feels almost as good as putting down a really decent plot twist. (Almost.)

There's nothing I like more than spending time with my family—and in this, I include the family I'm making myself, with my fiance. The unconditional love, the willingness to learn (my parents and I had a surprising, and surprisingly great conversation about trans* identity a few weeks ago), the funny parts and the sad parts: they all come together in a way that is never perfect and yet somehow always is.

And, in the face of another demoralizing work week, when I have to ask myself if my job feeds any of the things I like, or any part of myself that I want to see grow, there's nothing I like more than a weekend spent with the people I love, surrounding myself with beautiful things, delicious food, amazing art, sunshine, cuddles, and love. There's nothing I like more than that.