This morning I woke up (I was awakened?) at 7 am. As far as I am concerned, it is the perfect time to wake up on days like this, December tenths, because it coincides with the sun just coming up. It is neither the disorienting feeling of waking up when it is still dark (which means it could be, really, any time in the night) or the regretful feeling of waking up at 9 when you have already missed two hours of scarce winter sunlight.

I woke up mid-dream: I was in a boardroom, with Donald Trump, holding my newborn, debating which types of fruits were appropriate as decorations on children’s lunchboxes. (He thought cherries were too scandalous; I argued otherwise).

I have vivid dreams, suffice it to say. Reality says: I haven’t held a baby in ages, I am never in boardrooms, I avoid considering Trump too much, and I don’t design lunchboxes. Poor Freud would have a heyday with this.

When I woke up, I still felt like I was in the dream. I schlepped over to the coffee machine, trying to help get the day started for the sleepier 50% of the household residents, and I put on gym shorts. After walking or biking daily in Barthelona, I realized this week that I may have to find some more creative ways to get in a little daily movement since apartment complexes in the middle of what is  [for all intents and purposes] nowhere is almost impossible, especially when we don’t even have to climb stairs. Monday I solved this exercise dilemma by going for a walk with L. and her spirited dog (I think spirited is the new euphemism for very active?) Today, I would begin to solve my movement needs with 25 minutes of ellipticizing, the sort-of-workout popular with those of us who just can’t handle the commitment of the treadmill.

And so I laced up some hot purple tennies, half-size too big hand-me-downs. As part of my “make a minimal effort not to lose what I learned” initiative, I listened to Catalan radio as I stood and pedaled on the slightly-too-hard interval setting. The wide steps under my feet whoosh-whooshed on the two-bar level as “Mil i una nits” with Maria de la Pau Janer opened to her round-table participants. The wide steps slowed to a swimming-in-sap speed as the interval crept up to eight-bars as M., in her Mallorcan Catalan, continued to distract me with discussions of adolescents, coming-of-age, and “setsualitat,” as some Balearic islanders pronounce it, the x being substituted with a -ts sound. (The name Max with their tongue, for instance, becomes Mats, like floor mats or door mats).

Once the requisite 15 drops of sweat had been sweat, my already-slow pedaling crept to a stop, and I walked home through a cold-warm, humid December air, the sun now just a little higher in the sky. Since working at home means I’m stuck at the black, plastic and cardboard card table (which bows under more than 1 book of pressure) and means that I am subjected to my own bad taste in Pandora stations for hours on end, I decided to head out. Guiltily dumping the watery coffee that I myself had made and Sleepy Half had poured for me, the sink belched back its stinky stale air as receipt of my offering. I slipped into my clodhoppers (which, Google has just confirmed, is a real word) and stole off, in my golden Toyolla, to C-boro, to my favorite coffee shop, the one with sturdy–if narrow–tables and dense, foamy cortados. A few undergrads, who don’t make it this far west save for exam time, are here, along with the normal crowd of just-graying professors [in the making]. I wonder if they know I’m writing about them. I wonder if they’re writing about me too. (Unlikely).


Just needed a little break. Reading about cultural studies, which studies…culture and stuff, was doing my head in and I needed an exhale. The good news is that the next book on my list is by an author who is dependably excellent. PHEW.




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