Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 271

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

There was a fire smoldering in the pit this morning, lit last night for Thanksgiving, still putting coal smoke in the air. If not for the fire, it would have been crisp. Getting up at 7am to head to work, blue waves of sky beating trees like sea grass. But you could smell the smoke as soon as you opened the door, like nothing’s letting go of last night. Can’t feel fresh and clear while the fire burns.

I took my time at work. A mostly vacant day, people caught up in recovery from last night’s celebrating. I met a man who was starting his own business and a lawyer who’d inherited her client’s trust. Purposeful people, who’d gone through the whole nine yards to put powerful titles beside their names. Professionals. No one talked about turkeys, and when I asked, they each said Thanksgiving had been ‘just fine.’

I got a text from M saying she could see the stars. She’s camping right now so they’re clearer. I thought about blankness, and space, the cold, and how lovely it all seemed, and I thought about the smoldering fire. Grey smoke’s still going. Lighting out the route for tomorrow.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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I feel like a campfire, like I could burn for days.

Becky Albertalli, Leah on the Offbeat

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 259

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

It was a bitter cold. The wind blowed like Ikea. All bluster, taupes and blues, thinner when you’re in it than looking on from the outside. I watched a small yellow dog run laps around her owner. I thought: we’re stuck together, little dog, the same home, same ground, you and me, like it or not.

I worked today. It’s a Saturday. That always throws me off. So instead here’s a story: I used to work at a coffee shop tucked up one level in a Barnes and Noble. It had its own podium, tables, chairs, but you could see the whole store so you felt both a part and apart. When it was busy, I smoked lattes off the steamer. When it wasn’t, I’d watch bits of rain come down the windows.

There was one customer who always ordered a hot cider. He came alone, mostly, once with his daughter. He had a bald head and black eyes and wore button-ups, was important, or looked that way, and his vice was the hot juice, that sugar. Unlike the other regulars he wouldn’t talk to you and if you asked his name he wouldn’t repeat it. He wasn’t sour, just stoic, looking past us, self-absorbed, but in an endearing way, like school teachers, or marble statues. Late nights, closing the cafe on a Saturday, he’d show, and we’d talk (about the order), and then he’d leave, and I’d forget about him, pass him out, pass the gallstone, until I saw him again. But now that he’s so far gone from me, I catch stories going over in my mind of his face and features, because it bugs me, wondering who he is, this person I used to see so regularly, and what he’s doing now.

That was it, the whole story. Was it alright?

Sicker winds in the evening. The kind you want to hold, wrap in blankets, inhale, a sense of camaraderie.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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

On the way down the hill we walked three abreast in the cobblestone street, drunk and laughing and talking like men who knew they would separate at dawn and travel to the far corners of the earth.

Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 253

Hi.

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.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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

An autumn garden has a sadness when the sun is not shining…

Francis Brett Young, Cold Harbour

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 247

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s; coffee dark as squid ink; did you know that when a squid sprays it’s got to keep moving or it’ll suffocate? the most dangerous things were inside us all along; the coffee was good, burnt bread

I walked to a smoothie shop. E came with me. I wore my favorite sweater, it was only just cold enough. At the strip-mall, everyone was out and about. I looked in the windows of the supplement store. It used to be a candy store but there weren’t enough kids around.

At Juice Vibes, we ran into a neighbor. E went off to the farmer’s market with him so I walked home alone. It was sunny. The smoothie went straight to my brain. I used to drink smoothies every day between college classes. A place in the student center. I don’t know what’s there now, but they don’t serve smoothies.

There was this forest, a small one, behind Duke Chapel. It had two paths, both going to the science center. I took a few classes at the science center and would walk along the trails sipping all that fruit juice crushed and iced up. It was best in the winter when you were already cold because it gave you a good excuse – ‘this is fashionable, it’s hip, it’s in.’ You wanted your innards to match the outside. I got banana mango back then but today I went with pineapple.

These have been my days: tired out, up early, waiting for the season to change. Now it’s changing and I guess I’ve got to start working. New Years, flashing cameras, one more walk off the broad, dark pier. It’ll be better in 2020. Or maybe it won’t. But I have to believe it or I’ll be stuck drowning; squid ink.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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

Ink, a Drug.

Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 224

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

It was the Old Chem building that had the best windows. The classrooms looked right at the quad. Duke University. You could see the library and all the people walking in and out of it.

When I think about Autumn, sometimes I’m in the Old Chem building. I had a couple classes there. The one I remember the most was Philosophy 102. The professor was young, he had strange shoulders – they were like bird wings, but half formed, so his shirts hung on for fear of flying off. And we learned some interesting things, I guess, but mostly I was watching the bird shoulders, and the quad, the changing leaves, I liked it when it rained. I have a thing for umbrellas. I like how people under them are always walking fast.

It rained today, we needed it. The Triangle’s been in a drought. Our apartment creek is barren. The trees had gone brown, but not in an attractive way. Dead rust, parched throat, but all that’s better because it rained. A drizzle. The clouds came over like a circus. I watched them – 30mph, balloon animals. Puddles formed in backed-up gutters. A couple kids got mud on their shoes.

October – this is how you’re supposed to be; quiet, dreary, watched through a window.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 208

Hi.

Coffee: Lady Grey Tea

I woke up early and walked outside. It smelled like autumn but looked like summer – all the trees soaked in sangria sunlight, kids outside, cracked egg. I wanted to walk. My body needed moving. So I walked for thirty minutes to the strip mall nearby.

When I got there, the parking lot was already crowded. Lines out the door of the grocery story. Saturday or not, people had their lives to lead, and they were leading them through the weekend motions. The store had their pumpkins out in three-tiered towers. There were red ones and white ones, but mostly orange.

I didn’t stop at the grocery. I walked past the Staples. There’s a local store selling beets and wheatgrass ground up into drinks and powders, I bought a fruit smoothie from them and it tasted like a pina colada. It was good.

Walking home, I talking on the phone with a friend. It felt bright to be alive without any walls around me, and nice to share that feeling with someone else.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

He stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts and bought me an OJ and a bagel. Bribery wasn’t going to make me forgive him, but I couldn’t say no to carbs and juice.

Shaun David Hutchinson, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 206

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

A few years ago, on a night like this, I was outside a small bar in Greensboro. There was a game of darts going. Three people were outside with us, fall had come on early, we were freezing. A friend lit a cigarette. We passed it around. More than anything, it was warm.

Autumn in the American South is a time for burning. Drive a few miles to the country and you’ll smell smoke and see lit leaves. It’s the one time of the year you can’t help but be reminded that you live in a lush place – so many leaves fall, they try to bury you, and the only answer is to throw a little fire on the foliage to clear the ground.

At work, some folks were talking about burgers. They were lavishing the smell of burnt meat. A Shake Shack opened up recently and it’s been booming. Long lines, people can’t keep away from it. If you stand at the right window and stretch a bit, you can see the shop from our office. It’s a summery sort of place, pinned in a parking lot, puffing out cooked goodies like you’d see at a fair. Now that it’s getting cold, I wonder how they’ll do? Not good weather for the line to snake outside. And no-one wants to be reminded of summer when it’s dead and gone.

I flicked a lighter tonight just to see it. Something to stand by, wet hot and wild, enough to get you through another season.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum