Methods to Living Quasi-Happy

by Jorge Santana

Imagine a murderer chasing me, I’m running away from the “migra” or I’m escaping the sharp teeth of a possessed clown: that’s how I’m motivated to run. I like to go at night, but very late at night, when there is no humanity around the old school that I use as a track. Among the danger of loneliness is the best place to run, to think, to open the strainer, and let the whirlpool wash away the stress of the day. In my ears, the eclectic shuffle, from the cumbia to a Charleston, from Sinatra to Queen, from Chavela Vargas to María Callas, from Lara to Rachmaninoff. This is how I forget the world for a while. Occasionally, I’ll run into other kamikaze runners also throwing themselves into the night, but we do not even cross sights. We respect that search for the purest solitude and we pretend that we did not see each other. The only witness of that running between the beautiful risk of the night, is the police officer of the school that from time to time, leaves the doughnuts and the coffee to make their rounds while he talks on the cell phone with the second girlfriend who loves him despite him being overweight. But there are more witnesses, the desert fauna, a bony coyote from time to time, a snake, the fat frog, the jumping squirrel, or the little group of stray dogs that go to cool under the automatic sprinklers and smell the good news. The exercise is the least prioritized. I go to de-stress, to climb a bit to the moon and take a bite, to deeply breathe in the aroma of freshly cut grass, as deep as the miraculous girdle I wear allows me. It is not so miraculous, but sometimes only the promise is enough. You dear reader, what do you do for de-stressing? The occasional cigarette and coffee were never for me. The wine helps from time to time. I do not know how to play any instrument either. I like to see the pianos yes, and sometimes I sit in front of the piano just watching it, as if waiting for me to answer a question that I still have not asked. It is as if I wait for magic to exist so it will start playing alone. I do not know, maybe it has something to do with Nostalgia or my screws are loosening. Another effective method is to clean the house. I’m not afraid of Ajax and the metal scouring pad, but what great de-stress it is scouring floors and spraying Windex on the window. Both heavy chemicals, but either way, we must all die of something, and at least when they come to pick up the body, they’ll find the house clean.

Now, if we talked about what stresses me, “uff,” we would never finish. Opening the mailbox (bills); going to a public bathroom and knowing that in the flush lever alone there are 4 trillion germs ready to kiss my skin; having to explain to the hairdresser the same cut as always every time I see them; that to ask someone a favor, they give 34 runarounds to the subject until finally you ask the question and you’ve already lost not only access to the favor, but time; the weeping babies watching drama movies at the movies; and the list goes on. However, stress can be nice as it gives us that moment of release, each of us achieving it in our own way: each madman in his world, each shoemaker with his boot. We all have that moment, where we smile with eyes closed, and we know we have arrived at that perfect place. Even if it’s for a while, at least until the next bill arrives, until your ex sends you a message, until another baby cries at the cinema or they tell you “We ran out” when you ask for that which you like the most.

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