Aesthetic Experience Definition: I define a positive aesthetic experience as an out-of-the-ordinary episode which gives life worth and/or meaning, an event that makes you think “Wow, sometimes life really is great.” The aesthetic experience should be a pleasurable event that triggers the “warm fuzzies” and just puts you in a good mood.
The experience that I endured over the weekend wasn’t planned; not something that I came up with an idea for and set out with a clear intention to “do”. In fact, it happened in the one place where I never would have expected to come across any sort of beauty- my workplace, McDonald’s. There I was, sitting in the cash window (the place where you pay for your meal) in the McD’s drive-thru. I had been having a really rough shift, having to deal with a super-slow, semi-broken till, customers paying in literally all nickels, and one exceedingly creepy 60-year old man who kept telling me how much he liked my lips. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the brightest mood or the best mindset to deal with the 6pm “dinner rush”.
There was only an hour left of my shift when this one car pulled up to the window. It was a very average-looking, smiling middle-aged woman in a small blue vehicle. I went through the standard procedures of greeting her and announcing her total, and after she had paid, she hesitated and asked what the total of the car directly behind her was. That struck me as a very strange and slightly nosy question, but the obedient little employee in me informed her that their total came to $8.42, nonetheless. She pondered this for a second, and then said “I’ll pay for their order, too.” I thought that was super sweet, and smiled profusely as she paid and drove away. When the next car pulled up, I explained the situation, and the new customers were taken aback by the woman’s kindness. They decided to pass on the goodwill to the next car and pay for their order! At this point I was just surprised that McDonald’s had a clientele that actually possessed souls. It wasn’t anything I had seen before. I was further amazed when the third car that pulled up to the window thought it would be wrong to break the good vibe chain and paid for the car behind them, too! By then, my faith in humanity had been fully restored, and I was full of warm, fuzzy feelings. The fourth car was the one that did break the chain, but it was ok. My mood had done a complete 180 due to the customers’ graciousness and generosity. It was truly a beautiful experience.