Simple Pleasures
November 6, 2004 4:55 AM   Subscribe

Simple pleasures in life?

For example, when you’re trying to go to sleep and you reach that perfect combination of pillow, body position and sheets, and you just *know* that slumber is inevitable.
posted by jeremias to Grab Bag (57 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Getting up before everyone else does and just watching the sunrise.

(A side note: in college, one of my roomates sisters took a shoebox and 3x5 cards and every time she thought of one of these, would write it down on a card and stick it in the box. Periodically she'd shake the box and draw one out and read it. I thought this was cool.)
posted by weston at 5:48 AM on November 6, 2004 [1 favorite]

How are you defining simple? Do you mean everyday? Does 'orgasm' count?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:54 AM on November 6, 2004

Friendly dogs.
posted by sageleaf at 6:06 AM on November 6, 2004

A perfect braise.
posted by Caviar at 6:09 AM on November 6, 2004

standing at the window, drinking coffee, in the peaceful 10mins before leaving for work.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:09 AM on November 6, 2004

Response by poster:
How are you defining simple? Do you mean everyday? Does 'orgasm' count?

No, not necessarily every day. Just those things that make you happy without being "designed" to do so.

So an orgasm might be filed as a complex pleasure.
posted by jeremias at 6:14 AM on November 6, 2004

  • A purring cat.
  • My spouse and me quietly reading on either end of the couch.
  • Those two ginko trees in the park that turn BRIGHT yellow in the fall, then drop all their leaves at once, creating a technicolor sea.
  • A cool morning when the air smells of the ocean.

posted by frykitty at 6:23 AM on November 6, 2004

PS: I love the box idea. I'm gonna do that.
posted by frykitty at 6:25 AM on November 6, 2004

Those mornings I wake up, look at my face in the mirror, and like what I see.
posted by oh posey at 6:28 AM on November 6, 2004

Tea. Black tea with milk and honey.
posted by vers at 6:30 AM on November 6, 2004

Receiving a package in the mail.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:36 AM on November 6, 2004

Downshifting into a corner, and then really stepping on it.


posted by saladin at 7:15 AM on November 6, 2004

Postcards from friends and strangers, catching a surprise glimpse of usually-hidden wildlife, that color the sky gets in the late afternoon when everything burns a brilliant orange, having the subway doors open up right where you are already standing on the platform, that smell after it rains.
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 AM on November 6, 2004

The smell of homebaked bread.
posted by O9scar at 7:23 AM on November 6, 2004

Good, warm, crusty bread.
The sound of rain on a car roof.
Hearing a song for the first time and falling immediately in love with it.
posted by sugarfish at 7:32 AM on November 6, 2004

When you awaken thinking it's time to get up, then you look at the clock and see it's 3:12 AM and you've still got 4 hours of sleep coming to you.
posted by davebush at 7:33 AM on November 6, 2004

Finding out that unbeknownst to you, the boss is off all week.

Putting on socks still warm from the dryer.

Running out of smokes and going on the typical futile hunt through coat pockets and actually finding a fresh pack.

Watching raindrops trickle down a window or the breeze make a sun-struck palm tree shimmer.

Rereading a book you loved and discovering it's been so long it's almost new to you.

Turning the pillow over to the cool side on hot summer nights.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:00 AM on November 6, 2004

Ice-cold Coca-Cola in a green glass bottle.
Laying a fire, lighting it, watching it roar to life and realizing you placed the logs just right.
Jumping into a pile of leaves.
A cup of hot chocolate after a few hours of sledding down that big hill.
Finding forgotten money in the back pocket of the jeans you just put on, or in the pockets of a jacket you haven't worn in a while.
posted by emelenjr at 8:02 AM on November 6, 2004

Smiling as mean kid calls you something nasty, then punching his teeth out.
posted by kenko at 8:14 AM on November 6, 2004

the first snow of the season (preferably a light snowfall, not a torrential one). as others have mentioned, that first cup of hot coffee in the morning and the relaxation of reading the paper before rushing off to work/school/whatever (calm before the storm!). going to sleep peaceful and warm during a gentle thunderstorm or rainfall--the pattering sound on the roof is soothing. happy-without-slobber-or-scaling-you-to-sniff-your-crotch dogs, especially puppies. watching a dog in another person's car with his head toward the window--they always seem so freaking ecstatic to just enjoy the ride. agreed on warm clothes straight from the dryer and purring cats (especially when they're on your lap and they get that dreamy look on their normally disaffected faces :). snow days of course!

very randomly finding a book at the library you're unfamiliar with, taking it out on a whim, and finding you really like it.

being naked under bed covers and feeling the cool sheets get toasty warm from body heat.

unexpected mail (e- or otherwise) from friends.

when a service worker is genuinely supernice to you. and the other little social things like when strangers give a gesture of kindness or consideration to you or other strangers around you.

when you go into book stores or any store that offers something you really cherish (whether it's good cheese or prints or chess sets or whatever), pick something out, and the seller gives you a discount just because he/she can tell from your selection you really care about the subject and know your stuff about that particular market. similarly, and maybe this is snooty but... when someone comes in not knowing jack about whatever, and it's really, really obvious to the point where the customer's being flippant and brash and annoying and perhaps even rude, and you watch the seller claim they don't have anything like that when even the most cursory glance through the store would tell the person otherwise. i guess this is kind of high fidelity rob syndrome, but maybe salvagable as warranted exclusion because the person's being a dick (unlike the poor guy just trying to find a record for his niece).

getting chores or other obligations done ahead of schedule unexpectedly so you have more free time.
posted by ifjuly at 8:57 AM on November 6, 2004

Chopping wood, carrying water.
posted by sfenders at 9:09 AM on November 6, 2004

The smell of your old neighborhood when you go home.
posted by rxrfrx at 9:38 AM on November 6, 2004

Bottle of red wine and a good book on a rainy Sunday afternoon..
posted by nathan_teske at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2004

Cruising through town early in the morning, biking my way to work and noticing the graduate season changes.
posted by asterisk at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2004

err gradual...
posted by asterisk at 9:58 AM on November 6, 2004

I'd have to say getting something in the mail. I'm sure this is the reason is so successful.
posted by krunk at 9:58 AM on November 6, 2004 [1 favorite]

Taking a spectacular shit.
posted by cmonkey at 10:03 AM on November 6, 2004



french toast.

re-reading a favorite book and finding new things about it.

realizing that the whole day has gone by without you noticing because you were happy and busy.
posted by amberglow at 10:29 AM on November 6, 2004

Trees blowing in the wind; the distant quiet roar and whoosh of trees blowing in the distance whilst all around is calm; an unnaturally quiet night in the moonlight; a flower; the brief smell of damp leaves blown to you by a gentle breeze on an autumn day; rain when you're inside and toasty warm; bees collecting nectar in the warm sunshine; watching a cat twist and roll around on a warm pavement (wishing you could be that deliciously contented); a cup of hot sweet earl grey on a dark and cold night, when you can't sleep; the silent falling of snow in the dark; when you finally let go, relax and stop seeking-after, during meditation; a brief and unexpected moment to yourself in a busy day; just 'being with' people, without talking - and it's OK; small birds; finding a frog in the garden; an interesting cloudscape; the sun shining through new beech-leaves epitomising the word "dapple"; the word "dapple"; when you forget about everything other than right now; watching people remember or realise that they don't have to spend their limited time on this planet being horrible to one another; the feeling you get when you can genuinely help someone/something and it makes a difference ...
posted by Blue Stone at 10:31 AM on November 6, 2004

Chocolate pudding.
posted by tommasz at 10:33 AM on November 6, 2004

A walk on a windy day where there are few trees, like Scotland or Iceland or the patch of nothing in front of the Travelers Book Restaurant in Connecticut.

Pulling yourself out of the pool after 3000 yards and riding your bike home—especially if the ride is mostly downhill and it's January.

The smell of new books; the smell of used books.

And I second Amberglow on working so well all day, the hours drop off.
posted by dame at 10:51 AM on November 6, 2004

This morning I woke up dreading getting up for work. Then I realized it was Saturday. I love that feeling.

That first sip of a really great beer after a hard day at work.

That point in the cinema when you are watching a really good movie, and you realize, wow, this is a really good movie.
posted by Otis at 10:53 AM on November 6, 2004

You know, the thing we're all describing here is happiness. It comes in small doses and it's fleeting. Too many people take them for granted while chasing after a "state" of happiness that just doesn't exist.

Savor these little moments. They really are awesome.
posted by davebush at 10:58 AM on November 6, 2004

I too love the box idea, and I think I'm going to make one.

Simple pleasures off the top of my head
  • Leg hugs, from a toddler on the go.
  • Cats that head-butt your forehead to get your attention.
  • Dogs that sleep on your side of the bed until you get there and thus act as an 80 pound bedwarmer.
  • Slipping into a hot fizzy bath with a glass of red wine and a book.
  • Chocolate. Of any variety. Except that weird "chocolate flavored" stuff. That's just evil and wrong.
  • Coffee.
  • Pot.
  • When the Pamprin kicks in and you no longer have to physically restrain yourself from committing horrid acts of mass murder.

posted by dejah420 at 11:11 AM on November 6, 2004

. clean sheets
. the first green grass in spring
. raking leaves; bonus point for wood smoke aromas nearby
. the profound quiet of heavy snowfall with no wind
. the smell of your baby when you hug him, even when your baby is 17 now
. feeling the tension slip away with the second sip of wine
. a beautiful view (I used to have a job in an office with a fabulous western view. I really miss those sunsets.)
nice thread. thanks.
posted by theora55 at 11:36 AM on November 6, 2004

Too many of my simple pleasures are "comfort foods" (mostly high-carb, with flavor from real cheese or real chocolate)

Getting away from home; driving where you could've flown and taking the bus where you could've driven.

Big cuddly stuffed animals (Hey, I'm no furry, just for cuddling in the absence of female or canine)

Books (usually old) that look good, feel good, and, yes, even smell good. When stylish typography makes a 'difficult' book easier to read.

People watching (especially where there's the most variety).

Bare feet (anywhere but hot pavement)

Watching it rain in L.A. (definately not every day)

Remembering where you put the box with all the cards you wrote all those simple pleasures on.
posted by wendell at 11:43 AM on November 6, 2004

The first <70° day after summer, and the day after hurricane season ends. Stuff in the mail from faraway friends. Playing Bach.
posted by casarkos at 11:44 AM on November 6, 2004

I just experienced it. Reading bedtime books to someone who, for all you know, has been asleep since the first word.

thank you jeremias, great topic.

AskMefi: no longer have to physically restrain yourself from committing horrid acts of mass murder.
posted by m@ at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2004

Lingering in front of the heater, turned up full-blast, on a frosty morning.

Exchanging funny faces with a toddler while waiting on line at the store.


Getting on a swingset and making yourself go so high that you'd swear you were flying.

Discovering that the item you've been coveting for ages has gone on sale at the very moment that you've saved up enough to buy it.

Having a really good conversation.

An out-of-the-blue call from an old friend.

Young 'uns (kids, kittens, puppies) of all descriptions, when they snuggle up together to sleep.

Baked goods while they're still warm from the oven.

A walk in the woods.

A walk on the beach.

A walk through your old stomping grounds.

Coming home to a house that's cleaner than when you left.

The first bloom opening on a new, or formerly sickly, plant in the garden.

The smell of wet leaves in the fall.

Breakfast in bed.

When you're idly recalling some favorite old song and suddenly there it is playing on the radio as if the DJ had read your mind.

That chiruppy sound a cat makes when it wants to be cuddled.

A hug, or a squeeze of the hand, from the right person.

Making someone laugh.

After a long trip, arriving Right. On. Time.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:55 PM on November 6, 2004

just about anything your toddler sized spawn does. when they get older, it's all aggravation ;)

how about the first time you realize you're conversing with your kid, not just telling them something or having them reply to a query?

hearing your kid say a word you didn't know they knew. my kid says "awesome", "fantastic", "interesting" and "stupendous".

swimming on thanksgiving
swimming on new years.
suntanning on valentines day.
watching the sun go down over the water with 500 of your closest friends.


watching people get pied in the face.

friggin apple cider. i LOVE apple cider.
posted by taumeson at 1:20 PM on November 6, 2004

Streaks of moonlight in bed.

Cestrum blooms at night.

Writing/drawing on my Moleskine.

A friend's " >:D< " just before signing off for the night.
posted by azul at 2:05 PM on November 6, 2004

Finishing something you've been working hard on, and thinking, "Hey, I did a good job on this."

The feel of nice fabrics: velvet, satin, silk, suede, or even thinks like soft cotton and corduroy.

Everyone finding a joke you made to be hilarious.
posted by orange swan at 3:42 PM on November 6, 2004

Looking out my kitchen window to the sea of purple-blue flowers that I have cultivated. A show-stopping display of lavender and ageratum and irises and salvia mixed with lots of blue-green cedars and boxwoods and arborvitae.

Watching (and smelling) the sea.

Snow. I spent the first 42 years of my life without it--it still thrills me.

Taco day. Friday afternoons we put on a vast spread of tacos and fillings and toppings and we watch Survivor. And sometimes I have a margarita.

Taking the dog for a walk in the forest.

Watching the birds at the bird feeder.

Going to the library. Always thrills me, always will.

And every Monday, when we take a shower together we ask each other "What was your best moment of the weekend?" Since using particular sexual acts is considered cheating, inevitably it ends up being a moment spent lying in bed listening to music and talking, or sitting on the porch and talking, or playing a game and talking, or giggling through a movie.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:05 PM on November 6, 2004

My favourite simple pleasures are
  • Reading a good book with nothing else that needs my attention.
  • A manhattan made with a good whiskey and extra bitters.
  • That point in pre-sleep drowsiness when everything just feels euphoric.
  • Playing with my nephew and niece (or any little kids/babies really)
  • The oven like dry heat of the desert. I love aggressive hiking in deserts.
  • Driving fast.
  • The mental click that happens when I go from not understanding something to understanding something.
  • Fireflies. I grew up without them and where I am now has them in droves on hot summer nights.
  • Windmill cookies (I think speculas is their real name). Especially the real friggin' deal not the cheap ones in the grocery store.
  • The thrashed feeling after intense exercise whether it's weights, swimming, biking or hiking.

posted by substrate at 5:13 PM on November 6, 2004

Ahh, one thing I almost forgot because I missed them this year. I wake up at 5am, go to work after I shave and shower. I love seeing the sunrise when the time of year conspires to grace me with one.
posted by substrate at 5:16 PM on November 6, 2004

Drinking a huge tall glass of cold water when you've been really goddamn thirsty for a long time.
posted by ac at 5:31 PM on November 6, 2004

"Getting up before everyone else does and just watching the sunrise. "

I'm just the opposite. I prefer being the sole person awake in the house late, late at night.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:00 PM on November 6, 2004

Hearing a pager go off and then realizing you don't have a pager any more.
posted by smackfu at 8:53 PM on November 6, 2004

Reading this thread.
posted by euphorb at 9:42 PM on November 6, 2004

Reading a "whodunnit" mystery halfway through, and then leaving the best part for the next night

Falling asleep to the sound of rain

Watching my dog sleep

Seeing my parents act like an old married couple

Drinking a cup of hot chamomile tea late at night, while reading MeFi:-)
posted by invisible ink at 12:14 AM on November 7, 2004

Walking around a city in the early morning while there is still hardly anyone else about.

Being inside somewhere warm and looking out - preferably over a lake - on a really drab and overcast day.

The moment a stroked cat starts to purr.
posted by biffa at 7:10 AM on November 7, 2004

The clunk and hiss of radiators.
People who don't worry about going prematurely gray.
The little bursts of speed-typing, where you somehow type faster and with less mistakes that usual.
Recognizing, at some deep level, a song on a CD you just bought.
Changing lanes in a traffic jam at just the right time so you get *ahead*, not farther behind.
posted by notsnot at 7:50 AM on November 7, 2004

Making babies laugh. Old faded signs on New York buildings. Oldies stations. Twinkies. Long hot showers. A good hot dog.
posted by jonmc at 8:02 AM on November 7, 2004

A good joke. Girl watching. Old mens bars.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2004

The smell of a brown paper bag with something warm inside it. The first night of the year you climb into bed to find the sheets are flannel. 'Fudge'-brand vanilla-scented shampoo. Untwisting paperclips. Running your hand over old polished wood. Writing on expensive paper. The year's first mango. Donning a towel straight from the dryer. A well-tied tie. Listening to, and dipping your hand into, water running over rocks. Homemade ginger beer. Unfolding a pocket knife. Vegemite. A kiss on the back of your neck. Watching cockatoos and listening to magpies.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:17 PM on November 7, 2004

Having one of my cats sleep on top of me whilst I'm lying in bed. Getting up early on a crisp morning at the start of a road trip. Falling asleep to rain. Walking in a light snowfall. Sitting in the sand at the edge of the ocean with no-one but seagulls about. Perusing a bookstore with no intention to buy anything. The smell of books, new and old. Colouring in a colouring book. Having a toddler play peek-a-boo with you in a check-out line. Watching dogs play together. Seeing my cats curled up together whilst napping. Driving through the desert at dawn or sunset. An unexpected compliment (either given or received). Home grown tomatoes. My husband's kiss on the back of my neck.

Thanks, Jeremias. What a wonderful thread.
posted by deborah at 2:23 PM on November 7, 2004

rain battering the windows with a teapot on the stove
cold but sunny mornings, usually after a night's rain, where you can see your breath.
seeing the huge walls of books in my house and realizing i have yet to read half of them.
that sense of timelessness when you look at the clock in the morning, sleep for what feels like an hour, but look up again and only five minutes have passed
Unexpected kindness from a stranger
Those moments when you feel less alone because you realize that what you are doing, your joys, your pains, are not all unique to you but are all about being human.
posted by vacapinta at 2:46 PM on November 7, 2004

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