Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 269


Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I’m in the last two weeks of my 20’s. Whether I like it or not, here 30 comes.

I measured myself in role-playing games as a kid. The kind on the PC where you click little characters around, swing their swords, give them names. Those were my summers – fantasy. I played Neverwinter Nights a dozen times.

My favorite moment was at the start. The screen’s still black and your polygonal person is rotating. You pick the face, nose, eyes, a class and stats, what weapons they’ll be good with, a general idea of who they’ll be. It was powerful; scared; visions of fifty real hours of my time tracking this miniature me. Bringing out the best in someone, getting to a fixed ending, a place you’re supposed to be.

Some games let you pick an age for your character. This was cosmetic, it didn’t change anything, but I’d still spend time thinking about the number. The oldest I would go was 18, then 21, then 26 on the high end. These seemed like places I could imagine – far-off, enticing, a little more powerful than my 13-yr-old pajama pants planted in a computer chair. It was impossible to think of anything past the mid-twenties because I had no point of reference. My parents had always been older and I had no close relatives in their 30’s. Those were dead years, somewhere you were lost or found in, but that were inaccessible until you got there.

For the past year, I’ve tried to imagine 30, but it’s no good. After all this time, the next decade is still a blank box. Some days that scares me, other days it’s exciting. The closer I get, the more exciting it becomes.

I got to the boss and beat it, this weird-dark doppleganger of my early life. I’m starting over. It’s a black screen, a rotating model, empty slots for new stats. The only thing fixed is that single cosmetic: ’30.’ Time to take the journey all over again.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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My name’s Pavel. I’m one of the new recruits. I just arrived here at the Academy this morning. You’re….

Pavel, Neverwinter Nights

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 258


Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I wrote a story about a witch, liked it, let a few people read, and nothing’s come out of me since then, some fits and starts, first chapters, I’ve been traveling, there was the promotion, and I’m training D at work, like a winter squirrel, dumping and digging and everywhere searching for that acorn, but there’s no acorn, and instead next Spring are unintended trees. One month out from thirty I’ve got a beautiful life, but can’t find that spark to sink my teeth.

This isn’t a sob story. I’m bleeding proud. I’m being honest. There’s beauty in the accidents. There’s meaning in this too.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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

some moments are nice, some are
nicer, some are even worth

Charles Bukowski, War All The Time

Coffee Log, Day 333


Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

It was a long day with a bit of travel. I’m beat.

A friend from LA was in town for a wedding. I don’t know the people getting married, but he told me he was coming, and we made plans to get together in Burlington, our home town. So I drove sixty some miles with R in the car and spent the afternoon wading in old spaces I used to visit daily. Around six, we drove to La Fiesta for dinner. A funny thing happened then:

I forgot how to get to the restaurant.

This is a place fixed in my memories. I more or less grew up eating out at La Fiesta and I think I’ve even blogged about it a couple times. From the highway, I could get there with my eyes closed, but M’ was staying on a different corner of town out by Elon.

I missed my first turn then couldn’t figure out the next one. It was dark, cold, R was in the car and he helped me navigate. Houses sprung out of the ground where they didn’t used to be and the streetlights seemed to blink like the beads on an airplane, far away. It was a strange feeling. Spend twenty years of childhood in one place consecutively and then one day you don’t even know how to get around.

I’ll be turning thirty this year. I’m neither stressed nor looking forward to it. But tonight that number felt a little more real to me, like I’m about to close the cover on a long, dusty book.

Novel Count: 16,427

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

I still feel at home in Baltimore in a way I will never feel anywhere else – part of the definition of home being a place you don’t belong anymore.

Tim Kreider