Wow! What a nice title. I bet you think this is going to be a beautiful post filled with puppy dogs, ice cream, rainbows, unicorns, doughnuts... and sunsets.
Actually it's going to be about what a grumpy jackass I have always been.
But since I tricked you with the title, here is a beautiful sunset from Oia in Santorini, Greece.
I did not take this photo. This type of photography requires skill... of which I have none.
This is a "free to share and use commercially" photo from Yahoo!
However, I am pretty sure I saw the exact same sunset nearly 20 years ago.
I have a very nice friend (it's a freaking miracle, I know). She is the type of person who enters a party not knowing a soul, yet when she leaves, the party immediately ends. Over the course of the night, she makes everyone feel witty, interesting and important (no her name is not "alcohol"). She is a real live person who just goes out of her way to talk to people and make them feel special. More importantly she listens to people.
One of her tricks is to come up with a universal question that will get people talking. Recently, she chose "What's the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen?" After using it to make some new friends, she asked me.
Most people would get lost in their memories, stare off into space, and smile as they answer.
I clenched my fist, shook it at the sky and began to give a ridiculously over complicated answer to a very simple question.
For some reason, I wanted to share that answer with all of you (sorry). Because I have a terrible memory for names, I needed to ask my wife the name of the location of the famous sunset. I entered the living room and asked, "Hey Helen, what was the name of that place in Greece where we watched the sunset?" She stared at me coldly and responded, "Why would I help you remember that?" Having heard this story before, my daughter who was seated next to my wife added, "You're soulless dad. You have no soul." (This is 100% true. There is absolutely no exaggeration here.)
Eventually she told me.
The most beautiful sunset I have ever seen was similar to the one pictured above at Oia in Santorini, Greece. I saw it almost 20 years ago while I was enjoying my honeymoon in Santorini with my beautiful wife. According to her, the sunset at Oia is one of the most famous in the world. People come from all corners of the globe to experience it. As a result, we simply had to see it.
One night, we grabbed a bottle of cheap wine (actually it was before the Euro so everything was cheap) and headed to the best vantage point on the island. As we approached, I was struck by the sheer number of tourist stores lining the street on the way to plateau from which we would watch the sunset. Every few feet there was another shop (exactly like the previous six) selling T-shirts, postcards, film, batteries and disposable cameras. With every step we took, the prices increased exponentially. By the time we reached the end of the street, a single roll of film was being sold for an amount equivalent to our entire dinner tab. The best way I can describe the street is that it was incredibly "cheesy".
When we arrived at the best viewing location according to Fodros Travel Guide's, it was packed with people. Apparently we weren't the only ones who had heard of this book.
I didn't take this picture either.
There was actually a line to see a sunset. Although that seemed very odd to me, I was drunk on Greek wine and love so I waited patiently to make our way into the crowded viewing area. After making our way to the larger space, we had to jockey for position so my vertically challenged wife could see. It was very crowded. I don't do very well in crowds. I get very anxious and annoyed. Unless I'm slam dancing, I really don't like to be stuck in wall to wall people. But I powered through.
Although I was a little tense due to the crowd, I made the best of it and enjoyed the remarkably beautiful sunset with my new wife. It truly was stunning.
I know this is beautiful (because I didn't take the picture), but it is a little less so when you are piled on top of strangers and some dude's sweaty armpit is right in your face.
Then it happened.
At first, a couple of people began to applaud. Then others joined them. Soon the very large crowd was engaged in a humongous standing ovation... for the freaking sun!
I have always believed that applause are meant to show a person or group of people appreciation for their performance. Heck, I will even applaud for an animal if it does something really cool. But the sun?
The sun can't freaking hear applause. It's the sun!
In addition, what did it do?
It just sat there as the Earth turned on its axis and rotated away from it.
And it does it every damn day!
Furthermore, it has done it every damn day for about 4.5 billion years.
Yes the sun is amazing... but I don't think it is like some spoiled brat who needs to get a blue ribbon just for showing up.
As I stood in utter shock scanning the solar fanatics surrounding me, all of the built up tension immediately exploded from my body in the form of loud, boisterous, hysterical laughter. I buried my face in my hands and couldn't stop laughing. Luckily for me, my wife is tremendously cool and knows me very well. She knew what she was getting into when she agreed to marry me. She just smirked, shook her head at me , and quietly lead me away (she does that alot).
Although it might not be the memory we had intended to make, my wife and I will never forget that sunset. I still laugh about it which causes her to laugh at me.
To this day (because I am a huge jackass), when the moment is right and we encounter some impressive inanimate object, I will lean over to my wife and whisper, "Do you think we should give it a standing ovation?" Then she smacks me on the arm and we laugh.
My favorite sunset has provided my wife and I with nearly 20 years of laughter. I’d say that counts as beautiful.
Now it's your turn. What's the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen? If you happen to be a more talented photographer than I (nearly every one is) feel free to include a photo in the comments below. If this inspired you to describe it in words, that's cool too.
And for the record, if the beauty of nature causes you to spontaneously burst into applause, that is completely cool with me. There is something beautiful about being so moved by the wonders of nature that you need to express it physically... but it's still going to make me laugh. I promise to do it quietly so I won't ruin your moment.