Some mornings you wake up and it’s cold and windy and dry out there and the day pretty much conforms to whatever sadistic shit the weather is doing. You learn that it’s snowing EVERYWHERE in the state except where you are. You shrug, look at your big white dog and try to make the best of it but the best of a day like that isn’t great. You try to take things as they come, gracefully, gratefully, but as U2 sang so profoundly in the 90s, “Some Days are Better than Others.” So obvious. So easily forgotten. Other mornings you get up and it’s 11 degrees, the sun is shining, the wind has died down and, when you turn on Mohammed’s Radio, preparing to write your daily blog post, a song evokes a memory.
You’re sitting outside the homely, friendly little grill, with it’s faded pink and blue plastic seats, teetering tables and wind-shredded umbrellas (since replaced with something fancy and chi-chi) at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista, California, south of San Diego, sometime in the 90s. You’re grading papers and listening to your CD player. To drown out distractions it’s cranked up pretty loud. A kid comes, a kid from your class, and he asks if he can sit down. You say sure. He puts his books down and goes and gets some lunch. It’s a pretty good Mexican street grill in there, with a few gestures toward the numerous white people who buy their lunch and breakfast there, gestures toward “bilingualism,” such as “Cheese Quesadillas.” The dominant language is Spanish.
“Professor?” the kid mouths at you. You push the stop button on the CD player.
“You listening to Cypress Hill?”
“You trying to understand us young people by listening to our music?”
In case you, too, want to listen to Cypress Hill randomly in the morning, the radio station is 96.5 “The Buzz” in Kansas City and it plays 90’s music at 9 am. IMO 90s music is/was the best.