Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 103

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

A dog got out downstairs and ran havoc on the other dogs at the park. It did what it was born to do – run, struggle, pick apart stiff muscle with whale-white teeth. In the end, no other pup was hurt enough for anything serious, like talk of vet violence, putting it down. But the dog was caught and brought back home. It sits on beige carpet. I know the color because all the apartments have beige carpet. At best, it can fit its front paws on the window, it’s eyes through the glass, it’s breath wet, fogging. Summer day.

I listened to a podcast about masculinity. It said ‘you don’t have to be isolated to be strong,’ and that ‘you don’t have to be tough to be a man.’ It talked about emotion and how everybody has it, a full range, every color. One of the guys says: “men in my father’s generation proved they were men by selling themselves to hard labor, something you can express only with a strong body,” and then “now those jobs are gone.”

Later today, I caught a bit of a radio show about Latina soccer players in the early 1900’s. They were considered crude and rebellious for showing strength with their bodies. Women were supposed to play games and exercise in ways that made them docile, motherly, easy to protect. Accentuate the feminine body – no muscle, all curves. Soccer was too rough for that.

Sitting at a table for a garden party together, we’re all mixed up: socialized men needing places to put their emotions out of view, tuck them under the arms of their women; socialized women, given so few outlets for their strength or independence, are coerced to oblige. Tangled. No-one notices the fisherman’s knot, catching us all, reeling in.

Right now, the dog’s probably sleeping off his busy day. He’s dreaming of damp grass and matted fur. Meanwhile, we gather ourselves around him, staring, like he’s the only animal we’ve ever seen.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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The water is a dark flower and a fisherman is a bee in the heart of her.

Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

Coffee Log, Day 219

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; I took a Saturday shift and got coffee on the way to work. It was a half-day, four hours, the coffee lasted two.

I served drinks at a friend’s wedding reception. I was behind the bar the whole night. I knew three people. I recommended wines for cake and vegan finger foods. I was mostly making it up, but people seemed to like it. Half of any front-facing job is knowing how to seem like you know it. Tonight reminded me of my years working as a barista.

One guy ordered Michelob Ultra and asked if I knew any jokes. I said I didn’t, but I’d trade him the beer for one of his own. He went long with the punchline, got cut off two times, but laughed a lot so I laughed with him. He was related to the groom through who-knows-what and I liked him. We talked a few more times. As the night went on, I drank a few beers. I told better jokes after.

A couple of aunts and uncles ripped it up on the dance floor. In between dances, they told stories about their kids. We talked about University politics and getting old. Her order was a Riesling, his a Michelob Ultra.

I spent a long time talking with two friends about anything. It was nice to give them drinks, nice to serve them. You don’t know somebody until you’ve got your arms and legs tied to their convenience. A person’s true colors are painted on the people who work for them.

At the end of the night, I talked History with a Daughter of the Confederacy. She was older, once a teacher, I told her my grandmother’s mother had been a member too. The first thing she said when those words came out of her mouth was: “Not for the race, of course, but for history.” Later, she told me about a time her ankle was torn and one of her students administered the physical therapy. She oozed a good soul. We hugged. ‘History’ and ‘race’ are inseparable to a Southerner. Sin is subtle. But for every sin there’s a proud woman who’s put good thoughts into generations of kids’ heads. Life is complicated. I poured her half a bottle of Moscato by the end of the night.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“A kind of joyous hysteria moved into the room, everything flying before the wind, vehicles outside getting dented to hell, the crowd sweaty and the smells of aftershave, manure, clothes dried on the line, your money’s worth of perfume, smoke, booze; the music subdued by the shout and babble through the bass hammer could be felt through the soles of the feet, shooting up the channels of legs to the body fork, center of everything. It is the kind of Saturday night that torches your life for a few hours, makes it seem like something is happening.” –
Annie Proulx, Close Range

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