One day they finished building Washington. All over town there were no cranes, no construction sites and nowhere was the traffic congested. You could drive anywhere you wanted and know for sure that construction would not be blocking a lane and no truck would be pulling out into traffic. It was a wonderful day.
It was the same day that a kid came into the park with a boom-box and asked everyone nearby if it was all right if he played it. He asked if they wanted to hear classical or pop music, rock or country music. And when they could not decide, he said that it would probably be better if he just kept the thing turned off. With that, he took out a candy bar, unwrapped it and put the wrapper in a trash can. What a day it was.
Other wonderful things happened that day. All the cabdrivers repeated the destinatn so you knew they understood what you had said, and they said "Thank you" when they were tipped. Many of them put little signs in their cabs saying the customer was always right and that they would take any route requested. It was a wonderful day.
That same day the garbage men did not come early in the morning, but later. They said they would never again come before everyone was awake and admitted that they themselves could never figure out why they had always started so early. Anyway, they picked up the cans and quietly put them down, and when it was time to tell the driver to move on, they did not yell "Yo!" at the top of their lungs. They merely pressed a button for a buzzer that was heard by only the driver in the cab. That was the kind of day it was.
All over town incredible things were happening. Cars no longer ran red lights, drivers signaled before turning and pedestrians did not run into the street with an I-dare-you-to-hit-me look on their faces. Daredevil messengers on bikes decided that pedestrians were people too and slowed down, and all the kids who had colored their hair purple ran into Brooks Brothers and came out looking, well, different. This was some day.
On this particular day I took an airplane flight. I drove to the airport and had no trouble finding a parking space. Then I walked to the terminal and did not get accosted by someone insulting Jane Fonda. I walked right on the plane, and the person in front of me did not have a double-bass that he was trying to get into the overhead rack. When we took off, I asked for a drink, gave the stewardess a $20 bill, and she said she had change. She said that from that day on all the stewards and stewardesses were going to carry change and quit pretending that an airplane was really something other than a flying saloon. This is what she said, and then she said that there would be no announcement about frequent-flyer clubs. I went to sleep, and when I awoke, my pants were not creased. What a day!
On this wonderful day there were no stories about floods in India or soccer riots in Europe. Nothing happened in Beirut, there were no stories in the newspaper about Madonna, Florida did not execute anyone, and I had actually heard of everyone mentioned in People magazine. Rosemary Clooney was on the cover. Prince Charles was ig- nored and Frank Sinatra received the first annual Amadeus Award. It goes to someone whose character is in inverse proportion to his talent.
Wonderful, even magical, things happened that day. My son came home from school and right away did all his homework. The carpenter who had built a bookcase years ago just appeared without being summoned and said he would replace the warped shelves. The painter came and opened the window he had painted shut years ago, and the electrician returned, he said, just to check things out. Later, I took the car to the repair shop and the mechanic said the problem resulted from mistakes he had made in an earlier visit. He said, "Sorry," and there was no charge.
Days like this do not come along, as they say, every day, and so I cherished this one. I knew it was rare, even exceptional, and so I skipped along, a smile on my face, a song in my heart. At the end of the day, I sat back in satisfaction, pleased that I had had such an experience and that, hardest to believe of all, no one had said, "Have a nice day." They had actually done something about it.