Mankind’s attempt to bestow a sense of order on the universe has, throughout history, been a fairly quixotic affair – no matter how much we’d like to believe otherwise.
In the world of mathematics – a completely synthetic world, it should be noted – we have notions like “properties.” The reflexive property, for example, states that 1=1. In this ivory tower of thought, where “1” is a formless notion floating in space, that works just fine. We can imagine that one disembodied concept equals another of the same name.
But that all falls apart when we attempt to apply these lofty principles to the real world, where a definition of what, exactly, constitutes “1” of anything is a matter of approximation.
We live in a world where an acceptable margin or error – a measure of “tolerance,” comes with the territory. Need nine square inches of wrapping paper to effectively cover a small holiday gift? Even the most exact, squinting measurements are doomed to a degree of inaccuracy.
This vagueness holds true even in applications where you might think that it would not: The pistons in your car’s engine have been machined to the closest thousandth of an inch, and an inconsistency of one ten-thousandth of an inch, this way or that, has been accounted for. Or perhaps resigned to.
We can only get so close.
Making the calendar line up with the position of the sun relative to the Earth is no different: We can proclaim that one year equals 365 days, but the solar system refuses to play along. So humanity, more than a little irked, invented Leap Year: our clunky way of making the universe fit into our neat, orderly – and therefore inaccurate – constructs.
But it’s this rift between what we want to be true and what’s actually the case that makes humanity a little magical. We’ve got an urge to fill in the gaps. And to reach for the impossible.
So, in the spirit of our species’ knack for creative self delusion, our aspirations to be something greater (or at least more tidy) than nature, and our considerable imagination, let’s suspend our disbelief and pretend for a moment that Leap Day exists wholly apart from the other, more mundane days of the year. A “freebie” where rules and responsibilities are, ironically, strictly off limits.
What would you do with such a day?
We’ve certainly got some ideas. Well, three true winners, anyhow.
Take a long walk
For the whole day. Yes. Just looking at the world around you as it passes by. It’ll be pure magic. Thankfully, animals, not able to understand our clear instructions that they’ve been set free to follow their bliss, will continue to go about the business of their day. Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of them.
Read a whole book in one sitting
Unless you’re retired or independently wealthy (You are? Good for you! However did you manage?), spending more than five minutes concentrating on any one thing is an absolute, proven impossibility. Kids. Dishes. Employers. Pets. Social media. They all conspire against extended focus. You no doubt have a long list of books – probably classics – that you’ve always felt you should be more acquainted with. Today is your day. Besides, chances are quite slim that any of your fellow humans would choose to spend this special day running an internet server or a TV broadcasting office, so choosing non-technical means of entertainment is going to be a solid bet.
Cook a gourmet meal
The service industry, too, takes a major hit on Leap Day, so you’ll want to do your shopping beforehand. Slowly cook a pot roast until it melts upon eye contact. Prepare a baked Alaska. Savor that bottle of wine that’s just about to pass its prime. Then wonder how, after nine hours of prep, you’ve become stuffed full in just 15 minutes.
Partake in one of these activities in a new city
The problem with attempting to give yourself over completely to diversions such as these in your own city, is, of course, that all of the small tasks that you know you “should” do live there with you.
So get out of town, where there’s virtually zero chance that you’ll remember that you’ve been meaning to clean out the basement or organize your receipts for the accountant.
We can help you with that.
Stay Alfred offers upscale apartments in 32 cities nationwide, and, if you can manage to get yourself to one of them before all of the world’s airline pilots play Leap Day hooky, you’ll find yourself enjoying spacious digs in a great, downtown neighborhood. The perfect home base for exploring. Or reading. Or cooking the meal of your dreams.
Of course, Leap Day is really no different than any other day. But that means any day is a perfect day to leave the rest of the world behind and goof off in a new city.
And we’re ready when you are.