A Perfect Sunday - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Perfect Sunday

It is Sunday. April Fool’s Day. I awakened in my apartment at the Watergate and looked out the window. Overcast and gloomy. Back to sleep. When I awakened again, sunlight was pouring in.

I got up, got dressed, met my pal Bob Noah, and was off to greet a perfect Spring Day.

First stop was the Freer Gallery. This is a spectacular jewel of Asian Art and the works of the greatest 19th century American artist, Whistler. Its design alone, airy, brilliantly roomy, immense windows, inspiring courtyard, would make it great. But the collections from China, Japan, Indochina, and Korea — not to mention India, are spectacular.

It is attached to another great gallery, the Sackler, which has more Japanese art and a fine gift shop. I bought gifts for my wife, my daughter-in-law, some of the fine women who work for us, and then Bob and I sat outside and basked in the sun and breezes.

There was a soccer game going on in the Mall. School groups from all over came by. People were dazed with happiness from the sunshine. Dogwoods, redbuds, tulips, azaleas, everything was in bloom.

Then a lightning trip to the National Gallery to see the new exhibit of Japanese paintings of birds and fishes from centuries ago. Magnificent. All of this is free, by the way. It does not cost a penny to bathe in such genius.

A long trip to the gift shop for more gifts for my wife and our daughter-in-law. Then a conversation with a young woman conservative from Grove City College in Michigan. She was stunningly beautiful and extremely polite.

Bob drove me over to Georgetown. Families were parading back and forth on M Street, looking like the happiest families you ever wanted to see. So many happy kids with their happy parents. Again, all free, except for the food. Better than any amusement park. The real stuff. Not papier mache.

Then, pizza on M Street. I knew almost everyone in the dining room of the pizzeria. One family was headed by a man who used to work with my father at Slate. He was a blessed man, with his staggeringly good-looking daughter and son and his very handsome and chipper mother and father. Three generations, apparently all doing well, all enjoying pizza on a sunny Georgetown day.

Another family at the restaurant lived near us in North Idaho. Yet another family also lived near us in North Idaho. Another lived near us in California. Another had parents near us in Rancho Mirage.

A school group from Kentucky wanted their photos with me at the pizzeria. Happy kids, happy parents, happy teachers.

Everyone was talking and everyone was friendly and excited. On the street, everyone was laughing and smiling and wanted their photos with me. Is it OK? That’s what I live for.

Then, a drive to the Georgetown Safeway. I met a tall, animal-loving model named Maureen, several doctors, a fellow grad of Yale Law School, graduating a mere 40 years after I did. I bought immense amounts of shrimp, shook hands with half of the people in the store, then Bob and I went back to his car.

I am not sure I have ever seen so many happy-looking young people in one day. And so many beautiful girls. Not PC to mention it, I know, even though it is most human beings’ obsession — to be beautiful or to be near beauty. And not one person was bragging about money. Not one person was making cutting comments about my politics. No one was trying to make anyone else feel bad.

I usually shop for food in Beverly Hills at a Pavilions (basically a Safeway) where people do not smile back at you even if you are right next to them in line and you grin at them. Beverly Hills has the absolutely least friendly people in this country. I am not sure why.

Then, back to the Watergate. I make shrimp, baked potatoes, green beans, and salmon for my wife and me. It is supposed to rain heavily tonight and tomorrow.

It was a perfect day in Washington, D.C. Just absolutely perfect. Now I am back in my apartment waiting for rain. I don’t care. It was a great day.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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