FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Ceiling Fans


by Dave Markwell

I spoke with a buddy tonight who needs to remember this night. Once in a while, we all need to remember the great moments. They soften the hardness of life’s challenges. They remind us that life has been good and will be again. Remembering is reliving and we all have plenty of places we would like to return. Some days, this can only happen in our minds. And some days this is enough…

As I stepped out the front door this morning, I suffered many mixed emotions, none of them good. The half-frozen, sleety rain whipped through my several layers and I felt nothing but despair.(no poetic intent here…it just happened) I don’t like the cold and rain separately, but I especially don’t like them in combination. The unfortunate fact that the rear window of my truck was busted out last week did not comfort me physically or emotionally. The day was dark and so was I.

In circumstances such as these, when the depths of my S.A.D-ness slices deep, as it did this morning, I have, out of a sense of necessity and desperation, developed several techniques for softening the blows. These coping mechanisms include: listening to island music and visualizing warm places. I try to remind myself that the pain is only temporary as I count the calendar days until spring.

This morning a fond memory arrived as an old friend in my mind as a savior from this somewhat depressing morning: Many years ago, in one of several lifetimes I have lived, a couple of buddies, Scott and Jason, and I took a road trip to Costa Rica. It was filled with adventure and fun and lots of stories. It was also hot. Real hot. A lot hot. And one night was especially smokin’. So much so, in fact, that I wrote about it then. This thought is what saved me this morning. Here is the story of a night many years ago written in a molten motel room in Merida, Mexico:

“I lie here in the soft bed of our cheap motel room. My back sticks, moistly, to the tainted yellow sheets. The ceiling fan above ticks noisily along as its breeze seeks to tame this brutal night. I see the lightly tanned skin of my stomach keep time with the beat of my heart. The sickly sweet humidity sweats hungrily through my dim awareness as I try to sleep. My roommates shift restlessly in the damp tropical heat, savoring each delicious draft the over-worked fan delivers. We lie, each alone in our thoughts to explore the possibilities of our lives. Each one is presented certain circumstances, through fate or folly, and must decide on a path. We all have, more or less, decided on this sauna to attempt to sleep in, for better or for worse.

I’m sure in the grand scope of life poorer decisions have been made by all, but it makes one think about how we came to this decision and whether possibly this decision is representative of other decisions and the fact that no matter how fast and noisily the fan sings, sometimes it’s just going to be hot.”

I was and am warmed by this memory. It is nice to know that memories like this exist. They are good and necessary. They remind and bring peace and perspective. Many more chilly days await and I think it’s worthwhile to keep my little jewel a little closer to the surface. Even the most miserable of days don’t stand a chance against a dank and steamy Mexican motel room with a screaming ceiling fan.

To quote from “Three Day Blow”, the best final line of any Hemingway story: “It was a good thing to have in reserve.” Damn right.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


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