Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 83

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

A kid at the Chinese take-out squirmed around in his mother’s arms enough to look at me and said: “What did you order?”

I told him what I got – two spring rolls and tofu. He was puzzled, then I asked him about his order and he lit up: “Shrimp fried rice!” All the while, his mom’s got that look that says ‘isn’t my kid everything?’ but ‘I’m watching your every move’ at the same time.

While they were leaving, she says: ‘Say goodbye.’

And he says: ‘Goodbye!’

And I say: ‘Fried rice is classic.’

That was the most interesting thing that happened at the Chinese take-out.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, it’s effectively illegal to get an abortion. The only cases where the doctor’s not liable for a life sentence are where the mother’s immediate health would be compromised. I say immediate, because there’s many physical and emotional impacts of birth and pregnancy that don’t quite tally to death but are still significant and severe. Anyway…

There’s lots of good arguments going around for why this new anti-abortion law is bullshit. A lot better than anything I can say, I’m not a woman and no-one’s got a gun to my bodily sanctity. But here’s a thing I thought about that I think gets brushed over: what does it say to parents to tell them having a child is not really their choice? Accidents happen. People get tossed up in each other and then there’s this new bit of DNA. Maybe you want what it’ll turn into. Maybe you don’t. But Alabama says you’re not allowed to make that choice. Even if you want to be a parent, the kid’s not there because of your intention. She/he’s there because some privileged men knew how to slap a legislative stamp. She/he’s born independent of want or love.

I don’t know about you, but that sickens me.

While he was still on her lap, the mom was rocking the kid with her knee and nonchalantly running one hand’s worth of fingers through his hair. She was checking Twitter with the other. Normal, calm, simple, but wrapped up in her was someone that wanted to be a part of this vibrant, questioning person bouncing on her knee. If I had to guess – accident or otherwise – when push came to shove, she made the choice to offer up nine months of blood and eighteen or more years to give life to her son. Can you feel the weight of that?

But no, Alabama says to hell with that kind of love. You might be screaming ‘state’s rights’ and ‘small government,’ but you’re eager to slip the government’s fingers into other peoples’ pants, or put your long, bureaucratic proboscis into their hearts. You rob them of both their bodily autonomy and the freedom to love. You spoil not only a woman that says ‘no’ but the one that says ‘yes.’ In a grand act of irony, you have devalued both the individual woman and the concept of a family. In fact, the only thing you haven’t touched are greedy, self-obsessed men.

Oh, I get it now.

You are the closest I will ever come to magic.

Suzanne Finnamore, The Zygote Chronicles

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 40

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Two weeks from now, I’ll be reading selections from the Coffee Log at Fig Raleigh in Raleigh, NC at the Third Wednesday Open Mic as the night’s featured author. The reading starts at 6:30 and there will be an open mic afterward. It’ll be a fun time. I’ll be slightly nervous. If you’re in the area, come out and make me slightly more nervous. I promise I don’t bite.

It’s been a strange week. The weather’s been up and down, rainy and cold or hot and sunny, and I’ve been up and down with it. A see-saw with four or five raccoons on the other end, periodically getting on or off.

I’ve been waking up late. 7:30, almost time to go to work. I’ve tried setting an earlier alarm but my body doesn’t listen. It’s like my muscles are that stringy stuff you find inside a pumpkin, not tough enough to do anything, and I spend at least an hour each morning carving it out. I’d gotten on a good schedule of reading and writing in the mornings but that’s been thrown off. Maybe this is just me getting older.

‘Alabama’ was on the news today. The Justice Department is suing the state for keeping unsafe conditions in it’s prisons. I didn’t catch the details, but the lawsuit seems like good progress. All day I’ve been thinking about the word ‘Alabama.’ It sounds like old trees hanging over dirt roads.

I met this kid today at the bank. He was five, his father was opening an account. The kid wouldn’t stop talking while we were going over the opening. He found a hole in my office desk that cords come through and I told him that’s where we keep all the bank secrets. He spent the next half hour peeking inside the hole and describing the shapes of strange objects. By the end of it, I figured he must have found something even I don’t know about.

And that was my day.

Novel Count: 36,238

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.

George Orwell, 1984