Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 249

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Two Greeks walked into my office. Old, retired, they used to live in Thessaloniki. They needed some help setting up ownership, planning for probate, one was the daughter, one was her father, her mother had died. She sounded like peanut butter when she said it, ‘Mom’s gone.’ On their way out, I dug up an old travel memory and said ‘thank you,’ efharisto.

An older woman sat down across from me and raised her hands. “I’m bringing you trouble,” she said, drawing out the ‘t.’ Jewish. She was having issues operating her online banking. I talked to the woman for half an hour and thought we had the problem solved then she came back. We called the hotline and tried different things. She said she’s bad with technology. She said she’s bad with computers. She said she doesn’t understand why something so simple gets complicated, and I remembered all the times I ever said ‘this is easy,’ and felt bad. Later, when the day was done, packing up, she calls, I answer, and she says its working, and that she was so excited she had to tell me. She said I must be happy to be through with her and I tell her I’d be happy helping anytime. I meant it.

I talked to an Indian doctor who tells dry jokes. I ask him how he’s doing, he says awful, as always. He tells me about all the relatives coming down. Then we get to business and I help him send a wire. It’s international. It goes out, It comes back. Our bank needs clarification on the address. So I call him, the doctor, and try to get the address. He talks so soft and fast it’s hard to understand. I have to ask him to repeat it and by the end we’re both laughing. I don’t know why I’m laughing, I don’t know if he knows. Everything works out in the end.

America sounds best in many accents.

I have never lived anywhere but New York or New England, but there are times when I’m talking to you and I hit a Southern vowel, or a word gets caught in a Southern truncation, and I know it’s because I’m swimming in your cadences, that you permeate my very language.

David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

Coffee Log, Day 156

Hi.

Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema

The back-up camera on my car caught a nice glare. It was so pretty I took a picture. I was driving to pick up dinner at the Chinese joint I used to go to after work at the bookstore. I took the same summer roads I’d taken a year ago. It’s been one year (almost exactly) since I moved to Cary.

And you’re already splattered with buckets of experiences, tails intact, fins flapping, with the heads cut off and left on the calendar squares…

Today was the first day I felt proficient at the bank. It was busy, complicated, I worked the line with a colleague who started a month before me. Our manager was tied up so it was just us. We encountered problems: equipment broke; customers cussed; it was a messy day but I kept a smile. More than that, I flipped the manual and made a day-long string of calls to this and that department sorting out customer concerns. When my colleague needed it, I helped him. It’s a big, free feeling to answer a question confidently.

I was confident at the bookstore. I didn’t like the job, but I’d held it so long I was in control. Because of that, it hit me even harder when they laid me off. Today, I drove past the driveway to the old employee lot on the way to the Chinese joint. My knuckles always go white or red or both, my eyes are heavy, I feel like I’m passing something important but unapproachable, a high school yearbook. Cary’s already got a few things I’ve lost dirtying up its fingernails.

So no matter how confident I get at the bank, I’ll try to remember that life is mostly driving in a car on a series of semi-familiar roads, listening to music, thinking about winter, licking for dinner, remembering the people you wish would love you; the place you leave and the place you end up are less important.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Check surroundings for your safety.” – the back-up camera in my Hyundai Accent

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