Upicnic | Keeping It Real: a New Yorker's Crusade Against Perfect Picnics

Keeping It Real: a New Yorker's Crusade Against Perfect Picnics

BY MARTA
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7/10/2016

I have been told I am a perfectionist – and I would gladly agree with that evaluation if I didn’t hate that word so much. You can be more detail-oriented. You can have high standards. You can also be a plain old pain in the neck to deal with. But I take issue with the word perfectionist, because, well, nothing in life is perfect, nor will it ever be.

Yet we are obsessed with achieving perfection: the perfect apartment, the perfect job, the perfect guy. It’s like we are programmed to seek out a higher, ideal version of whatever we need – and why? Are we afraid we would be cast aside if we don’t chase the utopia? Is our self-worth based on how close we get to perfection?

Take food for example: 90% of the recipes have the word “perfect” in them (btw, that percentage is totally based on actual data and not at all an exaggeration to prove my point). The perfect deviled eggs. The perfect apple pie. The perfect potato salad. Why on earth would you need a freaking perfect potato salad? I wonder if this is the type of thing some people put on the achievements section of their resume: having engineered the perfect potato salad, I achieved a 100% increase in picnic satisfaction among friends and family.

So no, I am not a perfectionist. Though I am quite enthusiastic about picnics – so much so that I co-founded this glorious picnic experience company of ours, Upicnic. And here’s what I figured: picnics cannot be perfect, nor should you strive for them to be.

So if you need to eat perfect picnic food served on porcelain plates, clinking crystal glasses of Dom Perignon, I am really sorry for you, because you’ve never had a proper picnic in your life. You can do all of the above sitting at a restaurant table with a great view of Central Park, but please don’t go picnic to do that. You will not be happy. You won’t have a/c, your perfect hair will absorb humidity and move with the wind, you might even spill something on your perfect dress.

On the other hand, if you do want to have a proper picnic, you should try Upicnic and you’ll discover what a real picnic is actually about. Aaand, you won’t have to do anything other than order the picnic experience because we cook the food, bring you the games, charge the speakers, and deliver everything to you wherever you want. Yes, I’m about to go on a long tirade explaining what picnics are all about – bear with me.

First and foremost, the people: because there’s no point in having a picnic by yourself, that’s just sitting on a blanket playing solitary and/or destroying your phone’s battery life. You can take one person, or a whole bunch, but you need to share the experience with people. Preferable those you love or are generally nice to you.

Second, the gear: yes, you need blankets and baskets and speakers for music (and battery packs so the music can keep on going). I won’t try to oversell you pillows or umbrellas, though the occasional cello player can come in handy if you’re having a romantic tête-à-tête.

Third, the games: ask yourself, what type of stuff do you do to bond with people and have fun? No, alcohol is not the answer. (Mostly, because it’s illegal to drink in most NYC parks, but also because your mom wouldn’t approve). You play games together, go to cool places, and share experiences – and that’s exactly why you should have outdoorsy games at your picnic.

Fourth, the food: because you will get hungry. And thirsty. And unless you want to succumb to cannibalism (or worse, an overpriced, reheated Whole Foods entrée), you will need to plan for something to eat. Plus, having conversations around good food is almost the entire recipe to be happy in, like, life.

Now…imagine having to take care of all of the above and make it “perfect”. Before you know it you’ll be wearing high heels and a 50’s polka dot tea dress while hauling around 50lbs coolers on subway stairs. Not exactly what a relaxing Sunday should look like, amIright?

Our picnic experiences deliver everything you want right to you in the park. But no, they are not perfect experiences – some days the lawn will have soaked in some extra dew; some days it will be windy and mess up your frisbee game; some days your picnic neighbors will be extra loud; and on some other days the ever present acrobat chicks in Sheep Meadow will steal all of your boyfriend’s attention. Nothing in life is perfect. But at least with Upicnic you can make your picnics memorable, adorable, and overall full of epic fun. With absolutely no effort required.

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