(Real quick side note: One of these days I’m going to figure out how to blog about Chris’s research. It’s the whole reason we’re here, of course. A few weeks ago she wrote a revised proposal for her dissertation, one that took into account some of what she’s learned this year. Now, it’s true that I’m biased because she is my esposa, but I am also have the perspective of one who has read many of these proposals on this topic over the last few years, offering what little feedback I can. And I can tell you, this latest one – WOW. It’s REALLY good. Sadly, she is refusing to post it online, for various reasons – it’s still in process, she doesn’t want to publish her ideas without copyright just yet, and so on – but I hope that soon we can figure out a way to share something. Because seriously: It’s REALLY good. And getting better.)
Anyway, Chris gets back and suddenly she’s like a good luck charm. She pulls out English-language books she picked up for me in GDL: Pedro Paramo, a 1950s surrealist novel by Jalisco author Juan Rulfo, and The Underdogs, a 1915 novel of the Mexican revolution written by fellow Jalisco author Mariano Azuela. She knows this is one of my favorite things ever: Reading books – fiction or nonfiction – that are about or from the place where I am. It helps me warm up to that place, to enter deeper into it, to begin to feel more rooted. As we sit down for a dinner of bread, wine, and cheese (hey, there’s not much we can cook yet!), I notice some more good news: Running water is back.
In the morning she calls our landlord, and he comes over to exchange our old horrible mattress for two slightly wider but more importantly much thicker ones, which we’ve stacked on top of each other to create something resembling a real bed. Then I bought two extra pillows, and I think I might actually be able to sleep for more than an hour at a time tonight. (I know, I know: spoiled gringo…but what can I do?)
Our landlord dude also brings equipment to connect the gas tank we bought to (a) the shower) and (b) our parilla, a little two-burner range that sits on a tabletop. We haven’t tried either yet, but just having it sitting there, all plugged in, a real kitchen, humble though it may be, creates a feeling that very nearly amounts to bliss.
While he did the installing, Chris set to work on decorating the walls, whose barrenness was driving her nuts. First she cut up our 2008 Lonely Planet calendar to make a colorful global collage across our largest wall. Then she put up a whole bunch of 8 x 10 family photos Erica brought to us in January on one wall in the bedroom. Trying to be support the arts, I gave her a couple of old Rolling Stone magazines I’ve collected over the course of the year. She spent the afternoon cutting them up, and now she’s in the midst of using that collection to obliterate the boringness of our final empty wall. She says: “I don’t know, this one might be a bit riotous…” Rioutous, with RS portraits of Bruce and Kanye mixed in all over the place? This makes me unreasonably happy.
A final note: This post’s title comes from a mix CD I made for Chris something like 8 years ago. The mix takes off from the U2 song “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” and from there sets out to get the listener “unstuck,” through rhythm, lyrics, laughter. Some favorites from this playlist include:
Stuck in a Moment (acoustic version) – U2
Ooh Child – The Five Stairsteps
Lean on Me – dc Talk
You’ve Got a Friend – Randy Newman
Every Day is a Winding Road – Sheryl Crow
Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers
I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen
Elevation – U2
So those are some of the songs we listened to in 2001 and return to, every now and then, to get us unstuck when we need it. How about you? What are your most reliable feel-better songs?