It stormed over like a bluebird molting above your kitchen window, rain streak-feathered, cold, blue-dashed out of the clouds, a torn up sky, and then at the end of the day when we were just trying to make it home there’s a frozen, bloodied Ruby Red up there, skylined citrus so perfect it’s ominous, begging me to stay, to just sit down, freeze, shiver, crack my teeth on asphalt, goodbye to the ordinary, never going home again.
It was in that bruised and bloodied second that I wanted to be somewhere quiet with you.
Coffee: Diet Dr. Pepper, Gas Station Supply; I bought the Dr. Pepper around 11pm on the way down to Atlanta last Friday; it was a long, late drive and I wasn’t sure I would make it without a kick; I didn’t need the kick so the Dr. Pepper stayed fresh in the car that I’d parked below an oak tree all weekend; this morning, rushing out to help M get to work and to get myself on the road, the cold bottle was welcome, no time for coffee; it tasted like every other Diet Dr. Pepper, like every other too-perfect thing
My PC’s power supply died. I went to Best Buy to buy another. The guy at the counter kept talking about the last one he bought, how it gave out during a game. After six hours driving, and a morning wrapped in Atlanta colors, I didn’t feel like talking, but I still tried to be polite. Eventually, he sold me the box and sent me off. Outside, cold, cuddling a black-box chunk of technology, I drove home.
There were so many times this weekend I thought about taking pictures. I watched all the birds of joy circling your yard. But I didn’t take any pictures.
A long time ago I saw a sunset on Santorini. It was pretty, but not as miraculous as they’d make you think. Anyway, the people I was with were snapping it up, and when they saw I was just watching they asked me why I didn’t have my phone out. I’ll admit I felt superior when I told them that it dampened it for me, fitting something precious into a keepsake. It doesn’t make me feel superior anymore, but I still can’t find the desire to photograph the things I most want to remember. I don’t want to take the time away for fiddling with an aperature, I don’t want to miss it.
I was listening to cars at night. Isolated, like wherever they’re going is too important for anyone to tag along. Forward motion – the only real thing in the world.
I helped out at Second Sunday at the High Museum. I was handing out fliers. Families came and the kids were making collages. The parents were elsewhere, in mind if not in body, watching people who were better dressed walk the galleries alone.
I had a drink at a taco fusion spot. They were playing a Packers game on the television. It was snowing, and the white went to water when it hit the field. I finished my drink and thought about winter, where to go from here.
Coffee: House Coffee, Longleaf Restaurant; the coffee came in a porcelain carafe that matched the precariousness of yellow and red leaves in the Atlanta Botanical Garden outside; it was semi-sweet like old newspaper, remembering things that didn’t happen to you
I missed writing the Coffee Log yesterday. I was working, then driving, I got in to Atlanta at 1am. The city opened up under elaborate spidered overpasses. In midtown, lines wrapped around the Friday clubs.
This morning, under covers, the city was still cold. It looked different without the summer, all crowded in the bits of sunlight instead of running from it, there were families, and a sense of ‘get-together while we still can.’ Every brunch spot was full and the tables had mimosas.
Leaving the gardens, a four-year-old started walking backwards and said to her parents ‘Look! I’m walking this way now!’ It was the simplest thing and perfect and M thought so too.
I was standing outside the Chinese shop while I talked on the phone. Crisp night, autumn-darker, a few different engines running at low volume. A couple doors down is the ABC store so people were parking while their partners picked out liquor. I don’t know why people do this – hang like fish in the open ocean, suspended, ready to bolt with the tide – but they do, especially when alcohol’s involved. For the people purchasing, it must be nice to know there’s so much anticipation buzzing for them outside.
I was talking about work. My work, her work. We’d both had busy weeks, and the weeks weren’t always easy. She told me about a coworker who was having a rough time, how he was being tossed around by institutional pressures. And she wanted to help him if she could, or let him know that someone had an engine running for him outside, but she wasn’t sure where the line was between a person’s public and private life, what was okay to ask, and I wasn’t sure either. Along the boardwalk, as we talked, people went back and forth with brown bags, an old man in a green polo was shutting down a store advertising vacuum cleaners.
At home, after dinner, I was thinking about all the people I’ve worked with. Here, there, and elsewhere, some who seemed happy and some who didn’t. A friend from an old office is struggling with her identity and she talks about it online. I had a manager at a clothing store who chain-smoked outside the stockroom door. There’s a woman who moved to Iowa for her family and another who collects old metal keys to hang on her office door. I never asked any of them to elaborate. I never asked if their happy days were really happy, or what was rooted in the days that weren’t.
And I end up feeling thankful for the people who keep the gas running for me.
I’m watching the stop along the top of my closet door because it’s something I can see without moving and I don’t want to move right now. I did think about it, moving. I wanted the cold, something outdoors, a flushed moon. A picture to fit the things I’m feeling, a bridge from out there to in here. Paper-light. Blowing away.
But I kept my feet under the covers and I’m looking at the stop. It’s present. And that says something. It’s vibrant. There are colors, metal, paint. I don’t know every nook and cranny. That’s frightening, a bit, because here it is and I can only see so much. Unlike the moon, I didn’t make it – I didn’t dream it up. I’ve got no words but what it gives me. Like: daytime; invites; eggshell; the Marianas Trench.
There’s more to the world in front of me than I always give it credit for. And the things I do give credit to are more in front of me than my dreams sometimes admit.
Time is a toddler – uncooperative and full of surprises.
I’ve been having a hard time budgeting. Not my money (it’s my job to be good at that) but my time. The more you pour into one thing the less there is to go around. It’s an easy idea, everyone gets it, but there’s a feeling you don’t know until it cuts you up. This piece, that piece, weigh them, leave one behind. There might be room in your heart for everything you love but there’s not enough room in life.
I read an article about how people are unrecognizable as they grow older. It was a study, it followed a few individuals from grade school into their 70’s. Their personalities changed. Wants, priorities. Compare the recordings from when they were younger and you often couldn’t see them in themselves.
I was a cellist. In sixth grade, that’s all I was. Ask me what I’d be in ten years and I’d say professional: playing in an orchestra on a big stage, Manhattan, or Barcelona, somewhere sufficiently fancy and important, one of those places that always smell like it’s about to rain. But I didn’t make it ten years. I quit playing after high school, haven’t touched the cello since.
I felt good today. I’m settling into a recent promotion and we just hired someone to take my old position. I’ve been showing her the ropes. There’s a kind of confidence that only comes from knowing something well enough to show someone else how to do it. I’m a social animal. I might not care about all the sorts of status that society does, but I can’t avoid caring about feeling comfortable and accomplished in the roles I place myself in. And all that really scares me because how much blood will be left to move my fingers when I get home? How much space in my brain will there be for anything else?
The worst thing you can do is have the cake without tasting it. You baked it, might as well dig in. Like it or not, you’ve written off your time before you realize it’s gone. The best hope for any of is to set ourselves in motions we can live with.
Tell me, he said, “What is this thing about time? Why is it better to be late than early? People are always saying, we must wait, we must wait. what are they waiting for?” “Well […] I guess people wait in order to make sure of what they feel.” “And when you have waited—-has it made you sure?”