I think we all have an idea of what constitutes perfection, whether it be found in Art, Nature or Science. We hanker after the perfect summer’s day; or we wish for the perfect partner; or pray for the perfect child to grace our lives; or fantasize about the perfect meal.
Occasionally our wishes are granted and we witness the perfect sunset over the ocean, a symphony of clouds, colours and light, and we recognise perfection. Perhaps we’re watching a figure-skater glide over the ice in a series of exquisite patterns, each more complex than the last, to finally achieve a dazzling pinnacle of movement. The perfect moment.
Maybe we’re presented with the perfect gift, that embodies thoughtfulness and generosity on the part of the donor and delighted satisfaction that at last, we now own the desired object; and it is indeed perfect. Everybody’s version of perfection will be different. We are, after all, a wildly varied species. What embodies perfection for one, will baffle others.
The common denominator in the case of perfection is: rarity. That’s why perfection is so highly valued. We rarely encounter it and when we do, we treasure it. Perfection however, is not confined to the sublime, to the artistic, to vast expenditure. It can and does occur in mundane settings. For instance, the episode that prompted me to write this post, took place yesterday in a shopping mall, at lunch-time.
I had a yen for fish & chips. So I ordered a small portion of grilled hake, with chips and paid R29-00 for my lunch. Pretty soon the waitron arrived with my plate of fish ‘n chips. Nothing fancy, no garnish. Condiments in sealed plastic sachets; white paper napkin wrapped around the cutlery. A bare formica table, a plastic chair. What could be more ordinary ?
The fish was moist, tender, grilled to perfection with exactly the right amount of melted butter and a teeny sprinkle of herbs floating atop the golden juice. The chips were light, crisp on the outside, floury on the inside, and hot, hot, hot. Clearly just out of the fryer. And not a drop of oil or sogginess to mar the hot, savoury crunch.
In short: the perfect plate of fish and chips. And this from a humble Fish-away franchise in a foodcourt, at Bayside Mall, Tableview. Perfection in the mundane.