When I taught my last class of the spring semester I walked out to my car and felt deflated. I wanted to tell someone, “I’m done!” But colleagues might have taken that for woohoo-it’s-summer and not I-accomplished-something-I-was-terrified-to-do-we-survived-etc. There was no one to tell. And I was kind of sad to be done, too. Teaching did a lot for me. It provided a regular schedule, it made me focus on the task at hand, I know how to do it so I felt pretty capable and those few hours in the classroom each week were my favorite hours where I left my cares behind. So finishing up the semester was complicated. And there I was, walking to the car, to an empty house, a tragic life.
My Pandora music stations weren’t offering what I needed to mark this occasion. So I pulled up Julio Iglesias’ La Mer, the song playing in the climax of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. (Note: The video shows the end of the movie, and there’s a violent scene.) Given its use in the movie, it’s triumphant. As each round of the song increased in energy, I grew more and more chuffed. I recalled Gary Oldham and Benedict Cumberpath’s exchange of suppressed smiles. That’s the moment of triumph among repressed folks, and I count it as one of the most moving movie endings. And then Oldham assumes his place at the head of the table in the control room and there’s applause from the song. The applause hit moments before I reached my car.
“This is ridiculous,” I thought. But, really, I loved it. This is all so ridiculous. Why not have a soundtrack to mark my small triumph?
I have a mixed cd that a friend made to remind me I am cared for. I’ve got sensitive indie fellas who I like to listen to on the windy country roads. I turn to Leonard Cohen when I’m feeling feisty but world-weary. And I pull out the smart, strong women with a sense of humor for those rare times when I am feeling strong and capable. But every once in a while, when I am quietly proud and feel like I could use some applause, I fire up La Mer. I pulled it up this morning as I walked after my jog, which was short and probably slow but I was very pleased to be out there and I ran more today than I did a week ago. My triumphant soundtrack makes me laugh every time. It’s so ridiculous. Yup, it is, it all is. *Applause*