Happy Moments Everyone Gets (But Doesn't See Coming)

Proof surprises don't have to be scary: These delightful slices of life are served up when you least expect them.

By Amy Shearn

1. It Turns Out "Jo-Jo's Famus Restaurant" Does Have The World's Best Key Lime Pie
It may have a misspelled sign, and it may look like any old ramshackle, roadside diner, and you may have only stopped because you needed to gas up the car and get a break from staring at the highway. But it may also have the best darn pie you've ever had in your life.

2. You Make Meaningful Eye Contact With A Stranger
Whether it's a gleeful baby looking over its mother's shoulder, someone else's loping greyhound or the beautiful driver of a passing car, there is something in that instant, that only the two of you will ever know.

3. An Annoying Traffic Jam Turns Out To Be Totally Charming
We've all done it -- made that disgust-showing throat sound and rolled our eyes when we were trying to get from Point A to Point B and found ourselves trapped waiting for a huge, endless parade to pass. But it's a moment that can become magical, when you stop to look, to really see, and to marvel at the revelry, whether it's a rowdy West Indian Day festival churning with huge sparkling costumes or a homespun 4th of July parade of which every single person in this small town seems to be a part.

4. A Life-Smudge Gets Wiped Away
For the bespectacled of the world, there is nothing like that day when you go into the glasses shop and have a professional clean your glasses in that superintense way only a professional can, then put them back on and go outside and realize that you aren't actually feeling foggy and unfocused about life, it's just that your lenses were really smudged.

5. The Dress Fits You Perfectly
On the first try, without any alterations. Bonus points if it's a one-of-a-kind vintage dress. Double bonus points if it's a wedding dress.

6. Your Salmon Mousse Rocks The Potluck
Even though this was your first time making it.

7. You Realize You've Developed A Relationship With A Painting
Or the red panda at the zoo. Or any great, nourishing public institution.

8. The Baby Doesn't Know You're Not A Baby Person
Here's to the friend's infant who stops crying whenever you hold her, even though you totally don't remember how to hold a baby.

9. You Pick Up A Huge Bunch of Balloons for the Party
Now try walking down the street holding them without smiling. Just try it.

10. That Woman With Your Same Bag Holding The Same Book You're Reading Sits Next to You On The Bus
What can you do when you meet your doppelganger? You smile, maybe wordlessly acknowledge your matching tote bags, and then you never see each other again. But you always know she's out there.

11. You Get To Go Backstage
Anywhere: the ballet, a concert, a fashion show, a local high school's production of West Side Story.

12. You Open A Library Book And Find Someone Else's Love Note
See also: pressed autumn leaves, completed to-do lists, flower petals or receipts that tell their own stories.

13. Monday Turns Out To Be A Snow Day

14. Everyone's Trying To Think Of The Name Of The Explorer Who Discovered The North Pole
And you're the one who comes up with it.

15. The Distant Friend You Miss Calls You Just As You Were Thinking About Her

16. Your Vacation Snapshot Is Photobombed
Spectacularly so.

17. Every Popcorn Kernel Pops

18. She Says Yes
Whether you witness it from a nearby park bench or on the Jumbotron at the ball game, watching someone propose allows you to vicariously experience, in a completely uncomplicated way, the pure, simple pleasures of love.

19. You Learn That You Like The Taste Of Lychees
And that the world is full of fruits you have yet to try.

20. The Mechanic Says What You Were Hoping He Would
When the car starts leaking mysterious fluids the day before the road trip you think your luck couldn't possibly get any worse. And yet, every once in a while, you take the car in ready for bad news, and the mechanic tells you that it's just water from the air conditioner, and he doesn't even charge you for looking at it, and all day long life feels easy.

21. You Witness An Everyday Act Of Minor Heroism
Like this motorcyclist, rescuing a coffee cup.

22. Weather Reports Are Wonderfully Wrong
They swore there would be a dreadful thunderstorm, but you went out to the beach anyway, and then -- voila -- the dark clouds cleared, the sun shone and you had the whole shore to yourself.

23. A Real, Actual Paper Letter Comes For You
With a special stamp.

24. You Accidentally See History Being Made
You're watching some channel you would never really watch, just because it's on at the bar or someone's house, and you catch a historic or special moment -- Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, the end of Wendy Davis' filibuster, the splashy landing of the SpaceX Dragon capsule -- and for a few minutes you are a part of the story.

25. Of All The People In The Park, The Butterfly Lands On You

26. The Kitschy Commemorative Las Vegas Platter Is Returned
Yes, your neighbor borrowed it two years ago, and yes, you'd completely forgotten it existed, but then she gives it back exactly two days before you're hosting a casino-themed party for which it will be perfect.

27. You Get Caught Reading Over A Stranger's Shoulder
But then he turns the page more slowly so you have a chance to finish.

28. Someone Tags You In A (Very, Very Flattering) Photo

29. You're Home, But You Linger In The Car
Whether it's your favorite song on the radio, a fascinating news story or a really great conversation that keeps you in the driver's seat for a few extra minutes, those driveway moments can be the extraordinary part of an ordinary day.

30. People Are Gossiping About You
You turn the corner in the office and realize your co-workers were talking about you -- about how completely, totally great they think you are.

31. You Find The Daydreamer On Your Shelf
Someone gave you the book last year and you read a page and put it down. But today when you pick it up again, it is the exact right perfect book for the exact moment.

32. You Feel A Sudden Attraction To A Man At A Crowded Party
… Right as you realize he's the one with whom you came.

Amy Shearn is the author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn: A Novel.

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