We’re coming up on our two week anniversary; I think it’s cotton. Possibly macaroni and cheese. We spent our two day honeymoon in a cabin in Mt. Ida eating the food packed by wedding guests and watching Chopped on the Food Network. Best honeymoon ever.
We moved into a guest house that was converted from a large garage. It’s a wonderful space where our clothes dresser and Holly’s make up mirror are right beside the breakfast table in the living room. Each wall is stacked with furniture and art pieces except for the three foot wide thermostat wall, which refuses to work with any accent.
I went back to work this week; though it was the end of December it felt like I was in a biodome. Most of the staff took the week after Christmas off so I knew I could listen to music and punch dance without Rob the Carpenter seeing me.
While I was cleaning gutters with a leaf blower I started thinking about Turkey. Once at a staff dinner the Turks were taking turns singing traditional Turkish songs and they asked me and Mark, the other American teacher at the university, to sing a traditional American song. We balked and withered and eventually, under pressure, sang Mary Had a Little Lamb.
However, as Mark kept saying, “We don’t have songs in America,” I was halfway towards singing Wagon Wheel, a folk song about hitch hiking and smoking dope. When I was in high school listening to it in the car, my mom had to explain what a toke was. I thought it was a colloquial version of ‘talk’. However, to my everlasting shame I joined Mark in denying the Turks the joys of American backwoodsmen.
On a twelve foot ladder operating a leaf blower, the song came on Holly’s iPod. Trying to recapture a lost moment of American expression, I belted it out, even the parts where the words blended together in a solid hum. I tried to imagine myself playing a banjo with a straw hat in front of a room full of Hassans and Murats.
When I went back to the maintenance building for break, Rob the Carpenter was reading a tractor parts catalog and drinking unsweetened tea because he’s from Kansas. As I opened a bag a pretzels Rob asked, “Having fun down there?” Sure, I said. Gutters are better than insulation, and the bits of decomposed leaf on my face don’t feel like an angry cat clawing my cheeks. “Doing a little performing?”
As I looked at him with terrified confusion, Daniel the Mechanic came in and said that occasionally I hit the continuous transmission button on my radio and happened to do it during one of the three choruses of Wagon Wheel. He couldn’t make out the words but he got the melody.
I had to admit that I didn’t know all the words.