Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 144

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I like the way TV’s and computer screens look when you take them in photos. The colors get wavy, and geometric, like weaving, a loom. It’s got something to do with refresh rates and the speed a camera captures, I think, but I’m no expert. If anyone knows better than me please let me know.

(I could look this up – I’ve got google open in another tab – but where’s the fun in solving all your mysteries?)

Anyway, I took a picture of chat on a lo-fi stream that I like to put on while I’m working. I’ve talked about lo-fi before and chances are you’ve heard about it apart from me. It’s hip. An article called it ‘easy-listening for millennials’ and I think that fits. I never used to get in on the zeitgeists and still find myself falling off of them like dead leaves on a heat-burnt tree, but the fad around lo-fi streams has me by the hip. I like the sounds. The samples are nostalgic – quotes from Cowboy Bebop, a few lines of early aught’s hip-hop. It’s the closest I get to feeling empowered by my past.

And I like the community. The streams pop up with internet chats. Sometimes, like all things on the internet, they’re dressed in dim colors, people at their worse, but more often than not it’s just people talking.

I took a picture of a run from chat that speaks for itself. It’s my quote and photo for this Coffee Log. It made me glad to be living in 2019, and it made me wish it were raining, hot, humid, a full bowl of soup.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

See Below….

Taken from the chat on Nourish.’s Lo-fi stream.

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 143

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I took a first attempt at making a garbanzo bean daal tonight. I had a recipe but only half-followed it. When I went out to buy the groceries, I didn’t read the part that called for a food processor. You’re supposed to blend the onions. I don’t have a food processor so I couldn’t blend the onions.

Anyway, it turned out well. My fingers still smell like garlic, always a good sign.

Cooking can be a way to come to terms with yourself. This is the shit and piss that will leave your body, but in a more perfect form. It’s the best you can be, green cucumbers, ripe tomatoes. Every ingredient has that sheen of just-washed and it’s waiting there for you to work with it. In the same way, every day starts you fresh and ready to be worked on.

Geez, I’m sounding sappy tonight.

In the end, I added too much cayenne and not enough turmeric. The daal tasted like a long car ride in the desert, beautiful if excruciating, soaked in heat, but with the next great oasis visible on the horizon.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way.

Truman Capote, Summer Crossing

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 142

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I’m constantly having to tighten the screws on my table legs. Maybe that’s because I’m always pressing down on it. I type and eat and drink and read at this table. Like I said – weights of every day, always pressing down.

Sometimes, the table gets so wobbly I think I’m on a boat. Greece – a complicated Aegean, with her pink sunsets and ferocious storms. She rocks you one morning then drives you headlong into Scylla the next. It was nine years ago, I was studying abroad, living on a yacht.

When I tighten the washers, I do it without looking. I reach under and anything could be there. So far, the worst I’ve gotten is an old cobweb asking to marry me, forcing itself on my finger, wedding ring. But the point is, anything could be under, like the time I was three years old and found a black spider in my parents’ kitchen, followed it on all fours as it danced as well as four ballerinas, then, when I got bored of watching, fitted the whole black body in my hand and transferred it to my mouth. What I’m saying is, I ate it. So now, when I’m tightening screws, I get a little nervous, and start thinking about the next meal.

My table’s been adjusted – success! It’ll stay fixed and upright at least this evening, though there’s no telling what wonky wobbles I’ll find tomorrow.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.

A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 141

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

I sat all day in a stupor like a brown cat curled up, or a cooked shrimp, head and legs missing, a pink glaze, dreamy.

I know why I’m tired:

Last night, L was over, and he’d been having a rough week at work so we stayed out until midnight, eyes pried off the covers, pretending to be real people doing real things, but other people than the ones we usually are. By the time he’d gone and I’d gotten my head fitted to the pillow, it was closing on 1 am. I’m almost 30 – my body doesn’t do well with late nights anymore.

But there’s also the Lexapro – I’ve been taking it in the evenings because it makes me drowsy, but the drowsy hangs over in the morning. I wear it. The drug doesn’t have me in hot sweats like the bupropion but I can’t tell yet if the fatigue is worth it. Everyday becomes a Monday, sludgy, a heavy backpack, the ominous dinging of a new work-week. Maybe I’ll get used to it. Always optimistic.

Right now, the sky’s chicken-vein blue. There’s a full moon, or close to it. A good time to go to sleep.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.

Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 140

Hi.

Coffee: House Drip, Fiesta Ole Mexican Restaurant; the coffee came in a cup with three creams on the side; I’m always thrown off when restaurants give you those tiny plastic cups without you asking – like you expected this, you were owed; dreams of deep reefs gone white from sun bleach, starved fish nibbling the thin plastic sand; comfort is predicated on waste; oh, and the coffee tasted good, but not as good as I was expecting

I took my father out for a belated birthday lunch at Fiesta Ole. It’s a Mexican restaurant halfway between Durham and Chapel Hill and it used to belong to a family of restaurants called ‘Torerros’. The name changed but the menu didn’t, same big bright plates and large portions, and we all enjoyed our food.

The building was bright on the outside and dim in the middle, two stories, though the second was gutted so you could see the rafters. The booths were small but spacious and the place smelled like a fresh coat of wax. It was busy. Lots of people eating, a good sign. The way the light slipped out of the kitchen made me feel like I was being transported, a big black barge, high waters, the kind of cabin that takes you somewhere, drops you off, and leaves without looking back.

It was good to see my family. We talked like we used to. They told stories about different uncles. When the food came, we ate together and the boisterous dining hall got quieter, like the steam was a blanket, and we were making a fort from it, and this space was only for us.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

The tone of the repartee was familiar, as was the subject matter, a strangely comfortable background music to most of my waking hours over the last two decades or so – and I realised that, my God… I’ve been listening to the same conversation for twenty-five years!

Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 139

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

There was this kid in elementary school that I looked up to. We’ll call him T. He was smart. He was funny. He was my first (school) friend. We had our classes together because our last names were close. In kindergarten, I remember how we’d have recess on the front lawn and chase each other to the far tree. It was the one by the road. It was the boundary of our existence. Getting there meant you couldn’t go any further.

A few years later, in third grade, I started getting pulled to AIG courses. T was in AIG too. We started on he same track but they separated us. I was moving faster, I was a good tester. T’s parents didn’t like that, which he told me. My parents didn’t like that T’s parents didn’t like that, which they told me. But most importantly, it seemed like he and I didn’t have anything to talk about anymore.

I was writing poetry. I was pulled from class for two hours each day to learn typing in the computer lab, and I learned typing by writing stories. My parents helped me put the poetry into contests and I won. These were regional contests, my words were read by people I’d never met, people I’d never see. Meanwhile, T didn’t talk to me anymore.

I’ve gotten a few comments from you all on recent posts and I appreciate them. I haven’t responded, though, because I forgot a long time ago how to respond.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

great writers are indecent people

they live unfairly

saving the best part for paper.

good human beings save the world

so that bastards like me can keep creating art,

become immortal.

if you read this after I am dead

it means I made it.

Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 138

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; most days I’m the one to make the coffee but that didn’t happen; my partner across the hall had set the machine; it came out tasting similar to all those other times I’ve had this cheap, industrial, toddler-pulling-her-pigtails exasperated blend, but it had the added spice of someone else’s work; the coffee tasted like wet sand

There’s a picture of me at 17 wearing someone else’s hat. I’m in a Barnes & Noble. The record section. Before or after the picture, I’ll pick up a record by Battles and fall in love with math rock. And speaking of love, I’ll go back to a dorm room at Governor’s School and play that record so loud I make lifelong friends with a suite-mate, a guy named A. The music only goes off when there’s this girl I like. She comes into our common room and puts on the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge. In the peat-stench of summer evening, she coats my fingers in nail-polish remover then strikes a match and tries to ignite my hand.

Life happens less vividly the more you’re in control over it. That’s why getting older drains you. You have money, a car, a job, autonomy, or at least ten fingers to scrape and claw, you know exactly where the food is and how to find it. You trade out your mysteries. No, it’s not the world that will hurt and surprise you – it’s yourself.

I’ve been building plastic models like a fire might go out. At this point, I’m up to four. I find it relaxing to file down small pieces with my naked hands, and satisfying to hear the snap when pre-ordained parts fit together. Start at nothing, work your way to a familiar image. I’m not the lifelong actor but an architect. If life can’t surprise me, then the least I can do is find the best ways to make it fit.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

She put on her lace collar. She put on her new hat and he never noticed; and he was happy without her.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway